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Suffolk: Time for a new direction at the county council

PUBLISHED: 10:24 11 April 2011 | UPDATED: 12:04 11 April 2011

Should the county council scrap their New Strategic Direction?

Should the county council scrap their New Strategic Direction?


TODAY The Evening Star makes an unprecedented call for change at Suffolk County Council.

We are calling for a New Suffolk Direction for our wonderful county.

And we would like the new, incoming, leadership at county hall to ditch the painful experiment called The New Strategic Direction as its bold and imaginative first move.

Just a week from today Suffolk’s 54 Conservative county councillors will have elected a new leader – and our ‘ditch it’ clarion call is to whoever takes the helm at Endeavour House as leader.

The election comes at a time when borough and district opponents are gearing up for elections – county council seats will not be contested for another two years

There is a small electorate in the leadership race – yet the result is of massive importance to everyone who lives and works in one of Britain’s most treasured counties.

For the tentacles of change under New Strategic Direction proposals reach far and wide – and affect people from Beccles to Bury, Newmarket to Needham Market, Lowestoft to Lavenham and Ipswich to Ixworth.

The New Strategic Direction has lost one of its key architects, with the departure of former council leader Jeremy Pembroke.

It is to be seen this week who of the three main contenders so far will nail their colour to the NSD mast.

It is to be seen this week who will boldly look to bring about change but in a measured, cohesive, inclusive way, away from NSD.

We believe the current council policy isn’t right for Suffolk – a county prepared for change and difficult decisions. But not at all costs.

Dismantling Suffolk’s £220,000 a year school lollipop service – yes, just £220,000 for a full year for ALL of Suffolk – is one example of policy steamroller overtaking pragmatism and common sense.

And that’s before we get to libraries, or other vital services.

We believe it shouldn’t be a case of a NSD at all costs, with communities troubled and disturbed without time to think things through properly.

Suffolk people – part of the backbone of our great nation – might want to think a little about the options open to them and not be rushed along by only one-way policy.

They want to be guided by elected officials driving through crafted and well-thought-out and brilliantly communicated ideas.

We’ll throw in one right here and now.

In times of changes, when time is needed for clear thinking and collaboration, let’s use up some of SCC’s rainy weather money.

The council sits on tens of millions of pounds of our money in its reserves – as an example just £1 million of it could keep the lollipop service open for the five years it might take to come up with a new funding model.

Suffolk County Council is - and will continue to be - an authority that is respected in local authority circles and in Whitehall.

It is a council with some great employees and some great councillors who give unstinting service without thought for the extra work and dedication involved.

But a strength – even for the best of councils, is to admit a mistake.

New Strategic Direction is a
little understood sprint that has many people in an unnecessary tailspin.

The council should speedily admit it needs to think again – hence our call today for a New Suffolk Direction.


  • Two things really. Firstly - have you asked Andrea's permission for this? Paul Geater was right in his curent blog that this policy seems to be driven by an ideaology led by an officer. For all the talk of leadership courses there appears to have been a distinct lack of political leadership. It appears that a very small number of senior officers are driving this policy and woe betide if you disagree (Mr Dixon and Mr Whitfield - how much did those gagging clauses cost us all? What about an FOI request Paul?) Secondly, don't hold your breath waiting for a change of direction, the last two petitions calling for this on the "democracy" section of the SCC website were removed, so much for listening to the people. T Doff is right, consultation is a smokescreen and the decisions have been made, at least Norfolk saying up front that they were ignoring the vote rejecting the incinerator was honest!

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    Monday, April 11, 2011

  • Why don't the County and Borough councils merge. Ipswich is big enough to keep it's identity. Why not Suffolk and Ipswich Council.

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    Monday, April 11, 2011


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    pablo gonzalas

    Monday, April 11, 2011

  • This is a politically charged article leading up to local elections... Well, we now know which side of the political fence this newspaper is on. Does it not know that in a democratic society, such as ours, the elected council is the one that governs and that so called independant newspaper editors should report news and not try to sway electorate into voting their way.

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    Monday, April 11, 2011

  • To get it right they need to change their attitudes towards people. We are not numbers or the general public as a herd, we are all individuals with different needs that are not being met by the service providers. They put saving money first before saving lives! They infact have destroyed all my family over 3 decades with their methods of delivering their Topsy Turvey Services. Maybe they should all sit and read the laws and have a bit more human humanity for families. And for the future tell the truth as it is, not as it seems to them. Because they are not only ruining generations of adults lives but also the children who will be the future of our country. They can't admit it because that is not in their performance seminar teachings to go back and repair, it only seems to reconmend perform and leave the mess behind them. So for the future of SSC lets hear a cheer for the truth to shine through and a gateway to tomorrow with the citazin's of suffolk's interests at heart.Putting the familes needs first before cost. Could you manage that? I wonder. The art is to enhance people's lives not destroy them as you are and have done while messing around with policy making and sitting back on high paid wages. Its time to think of the people not protecting your selves.

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    local lass

    Monday, April 11, 2011

  • What exactly are people paying taxes for when the SCC strips the very citazins that fund them! Which in turn penalises their children and as the Service providers you answer to us not to yourselves. Be accountable for your actions and begin by telling the truth in all area's of your service.

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    local lass

    Monday, April 11, 2011

  • How about change to the evening star no more boring editorials, go back to how the paper was a year or so ago Wednesday job night, Thursday housing, Friday motoring. Waste of time Sat- Thur you only need to buy on a Friday, and even then its boring.

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    Gazzer 1999

    Monday, April 11, 2011

  • The reality for SCC is that it is broke and broken. There is no need for a county authority in the local democracy of the future. It is a model of centralising bureaucracy based on outmoded economic and local government theory that has proved aloof, expensive, and unrepresentative. No more duplication, no more vanity projects, no more big teams, big managers and big chief executives. We want more than a New Direction, the people should be given a new hope for a bright future that includes the types of services, support, and schools they wish to pay for in their area. Support the closure of the county council and put the spend of the 80% of the council tax you pay back in your hands.

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    Peter Wyburn

    Monday, April 11, 2011

  • New Direction - I thought that was the name of Simon Cowels new pre-teen boy band ummmmmmm Nice

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    El Vigilante

    Friday, April 15, 2011

  • The clearing of the decks at Endeavour House is a wonderful opportunity to put some new, untainted, faces in place for the two-year run-up to the next election. By the time the ballot comes around, the electorate will have all but forgotten anything that happened more than six months before, and some new faces will help that process along. I'm just as cynical, or wearily aware, as T. Doff and Citizen: the decisions have already been made, it's just a matter now of applying the rest of the planned cuts after the deeper cuts are applied first. In two year's time SCC will look positively munificent compared to the old Pembroken version that did away with lollipop ladies and the libraries. And with a little bit of window dressing, such as a strategic re-branding of the New Strange Direction to give it a different name for a different leader, SCC can tell us all how well it is serving the people of Suffolk as it continues to lead the country in local authority shenanigans!

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    martha farquhar

    Monday, April 11, 2011

  • TODAY I am making an unprecedented call for change at our local newspapers. Merge the two, they are more alike than identical twin peas in a pod; stop crowing about how good they are; stop showing favouritism to certain people and groups of people (you know who they are!); stop getting people to pose as sad in photos, it is just too obvious; stop censoring reasonable criticism here of your papers (if you can't take it then don't hand it out); stop telling us how much you campaign for us out of "loyalty" (we know you just want to sell newspapers - you are, after all, a business); try to get your articles written accurately (e.g don't say Crystal Palace won 2-0 when it was Ipswich who won 2-0!); don't try to be a national newspaper, we have many of those and they are far better; just be humble - you are not that special or important, just a local few pieces of printed papers which quickly becomes tomorrow's rubbish and is forgotten.

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    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

  • The Star is right, but I think we have as much chance of seeing any sort of sense from these people as we have of pigs flying. The best I think we can expect are some rigged "consultations" with predetermined outcomes using the same methodology as that employed on the middle schools "debate" i.e. pretend to listen, ignore EVERYTHING and EVERYONE who disagrees, blacken their names or deride them, and then pat yourself on the back for being so democratic. Not everyone in Suffolk is a straw-sucking peasant to be gulled in such a way. They used to say "If you want to find a fool in Suffolk, then bring one with you".

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    T Doff

    Monday, April 11, 2011

  • Perhaps part of the problem is many people in suffolk are families, and every thing is hitting families in all directions, axing lollypop ladies, explorer cards, cutting the bus links to main towns, together with higher prices - Perhaps Andrea just has herself to think about daily!

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    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

  • Fat Lady Sings

    Monday, April 11, 2011

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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A Suffolk school has been ranked among the top 20% in the country for attainment and progress made by pupils between key stages of their education.

An East Anglian college is celebrating after scooping top place for the second year in a row in a contest to find the best water-friendly farming idea.

A Mondrian-inspired piece of artwork made of thousands of coloured blocks was snapped up at an Ipswich gallery within 48 hours.

Food editor Charlotte Smith-Jarvis takes her mum for a relaxing all-inclusive lunch at Hintlesham Hall.

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