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Complaint to KCC

Page history last edited by vanda alexander 8 years, 9 months ago Saved with comment

 

I have received the following response from KCC regarding my complaint.  I feel we are being given the run-around.

 

Dear Vanda Alexander  

 

Thank you for your email below.  Please accept my sincere apologies for the delay in acknowledging your communication.  

 

I have passed your concerns to the Education Learning and Skills Directorate to investigate and respond to the points you have raised in accordance with Kent County Council’s complaints procedure:  http://www.kent.gov.uk/your_council/have_your_say/complaints_and_comments/complaints_procedure.aspx. You should expect to receive a reply by  19th March 2012 at the latest.

 

I hope that this will lead to a resolution of your concerns but if you have any further problems please do not hesitate to come back to me.

 

Best regards 

 

Laura CrawfordInformation Access OfficerInformation Resilience & Transparency Team
 

 

I have emailed this to Mr Cockburn.

 

 

14 February 2012

 

Mr David Cockburn

Head of Paid Service

Sessions House

County Hall

Maidstone

ME14 1XQ

 

 

Dear Mr Cockburn

 

RE: COMPLAINTS ABOUT COUNCIL MEMBERS

 

 

 I am a home educator with 18 years’ experience.  I have been given your name as a contact to direct some serious concerns I have regarding Mr Patrick Leeson, Corporate Director and Mr Mike Whiting Cabinet Member, who are members of the Education Learning and Skills Directorate.

 

On 13 January 2012 members of the ELS scrutiny committee had a meeting to review a document “Kent Children and young People Educated at Home”.  The meeting was broadcast on KCC’s webcast.

 

The blatant lack of knowledge demonstrated throughout the meeting by the ELS members was frankly shocking and insulting to my culture and way of life.  I felt the members were disrespectful and showed insensitivity to the ethos and needs of the home educating community. 

 

As Mr Whiting is a Cabinet Member, he is responsible for the strategic thinking and decisions that steer how the Council is run.  Decisions to be taken by the Cabinet and its members that are expected to have a significant impact on the services provided by the Council are, I believe, referred to as Key Decisions.  It is very concerning that he went into this meeting, ill informed, to make key decisions about home education. 

 

As Corporate Director, I would have thought Mr Leeson would have researched fully the law pertaining to home education prior to scrutinising Local Government Policy.

 

 How can members of the Council scrutinise a policy without being in full knowledge of Primary Statute and be permitted to impose their ill informed decisions onto my child’s education?  

 

I am sure you will agree, this is not a very responsible or democratic way forward.  It does not convey public confidence in the Council’s ability to produce a comprehensive document, which complies with the Law.  How is this allowed to happen within the Local Authority?

 

 

 

I have included correspondence between myself and Mr Leeson for your perusal. Mr Leeson’s reply to my letter is a generic response and was dismissive of my issues.   I have not received a personal reply from Mr Whiting and as a cabinet member; this is an unacceptable way to deal with a member of the public. 

 

Mr Jarvis has passed me over to Mr Tim Fox, The Elective Home Education Consultant.  Mr Fox does not have the authority to directly discuss these issues.  It is the responsibility of the ELS to communicate with me.  

 

 Other members who were copied into my letter have yet to respond. This again is a failure on Council members to engage themselves with members of the public. 

 

I and other Kent home educators signed a letter to Mr Leeson but we have to date, yet to receive a response.  Members have a duty and responsibility to be answerable to the people of Kent.   I would like you to look into this.

 

I have put in complaints about individual Councillors separately through the complaints procedure. 

 

I have asked for a consultation between the home educating community and the Council.  Mr Leeson has stated that we will be involved before any changes are finalised.  However, as representatives of the Council have already demonstrated and admitted they have very little or no knowledge of the legal position, I think it is only right that home educators are involved from the outset to assist with the formulation of policy.  This will ensure transparency and willingness for co-operation between the Local Authority and the home educating community.  

 

I would like to draw your attention to Section 138 of the Local Government and Public Involvement Act 2007.  I therefore hope you are able to assist by facilitating a meeting with ELS members to discuss the policy review.  I don’t think my request for this is un-realistic.

 

Perhaps you could also investigate what has prompted this reaction to review an established policy for home education?

 

I am sure you will understand when I say home education is a way of life for me and my family.   I am not willing to embrace the un-democratic way certain members of the Council are forcing through a proposal which will enable it to exercise duties and responsibilities than the law requires and empowers it to do. 

 

I hope Mr Cockburn; you are able to facilitate a meeting between the ELS and members of the Home Educating Community, which we would welcome.  This would be a step towards building positive relationships rather than further alienating the home educating community.

 

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Mrs V Alexander

 

CC. Mr Tim Fox  - Elective Home Education Consultant

Comments (2)

Sarita said

at 10:10 pm on Feb 19, 2012

Great letter, Vanda. Am in the last throws of writing to my MP. Will post it here and I've yet to cut down my response to MWhiting. Frankly I'm getting bored of it now. Graham Stuart seems not to get it as much as the rest of them. If principles weren't at stake I would let them spend the money and energy only to have everyone just say no!!

vanda alexander said

at 11:42 pm on Feb 19, 2012

I will want to give KCC the opportunity of responding to my complaint before going to my MP. I have to finish my individual complaints about each councillor. I am determined to make them understand our position. We need to try and reach other families. I have been giving out this web address to a couple of families I know and told them to pass it on. At least we have all educated them in the error of their ways! They now know that Home Educators are not prepared to sit back and take everything thrown at them by KCC.

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