Policy Development

Community conference: Our Public Services – the future?

by Lisa Trickett

What happens in public services in the coming years will affect us all, whether we use public services or work in the public sector. It is really important to me, as Labour’s candidate for Moseley & Kings Heath, that local people are involved in the decisions that affect their lives.

So on the 17th November, Shadow Housing Minister Jack Dromey will be joining us to discuss how public services can best be protected from Government cuts and also what we want from public services in the future to meet the needs of everyone. Joining him will be Cllr John Cotton who is the Labour Group lead on devolution of public services.

This is an important opportunity for us to explore, with people who will be shaping policy nationally and locally, how we as a local Labour Party branch can make a difference to the public services around us.

The meeting starts at 7pm at the Moseley Exchange building in Moseley.

Please come to the meeting if you can. Also please forward this to friends and colleagues who may be interested or share the event on share/invite friends to the Facebook event.

I look forward to seeing you.


Our learning community – the future? Community conference report.

by Martin Straker-Welds

Education is an issue of fundamental importance to our community. The way we educate our children and young people plays a major part in shaping our society. It is easy to see education merely as an instrument of economic advancement; a way of creating the workers of tomorrow who will drive economic growth and oil the wheels of industry and commerce; and of course this is partly true.

However, Labour believes that education is much more than this, particularly in an urban environment.

Education is also about self-betterment, self discovery, the joy of developing knowledge for its own sake, the learning of mental disciplines that make us better rounded human beings, an immersive encounter with our peers in all their diversity. The coalition government, in its headlong rush to reduce the deficit, is also reducing the ambition of education, emphasising the learning of facts and devaluing subjects which seem less economically valuable.

So it is important for Labour, locally and nationally, to develop a distinctive vision of how education can work, to pursue the principles which are at the heart of Labour thinking. Ed Miliband has spoken recently about the promise of Britain: he said he would judge the next Labour government by the quality of the opportunities it could offer the next generation, and that it would be a key test for Labour. It must also be a test for Labour in Birmingham, a city which has a fine educational heritage with some excellent schools, but also some pockets of underachievement with some of the lowest rates of educational attainment in the country. So what sort of education policy will we need in Moseley and Kings Heath, and in Birmingham, to make our society better, and to offer the next generation the opportunities they deserve?

In this context, Moseley and Kings Heath Labour Party called a public meeting to discuss the future of education in our area and our city. The event attracted a broad audience of educationalists, activists of various political persuasions, community members and parents, with a lively discussion stimulated by keynote speaker Tim Brighouse. This report summarises the discussion, and we would welcome your feedback.

Our learning community, the future

Our Health and Social Care – the future? Conference report

Last week, we invited Lord Phil Hunt, Councillor Steve Bedser and Dr. John Middleton to lead a discussion on the implications arising from the Health & Social Care Bill. You can read Nick Drew’s summary report here – but the conclusions drawn from the speakers and from the floor are summarised below:

National policy level: Labour should continue to oppose the NHS Bill in its entirety, whilst making plans to “make the best of it” if it is eventually implemented, or if reform is stopped half-way, building in a stronger outcome focus and putting trust in professionals.

Regional level: Councils should work together across boundaries, to mitigate against the fragmentation which will be one of the consequences of the reforms as currently structured.

Local level: in the city of Birmingham we should:

  • Pursue overall powers over public health for a single accountable individual, be it the Cabinet Member or Elected Mayor
  • Work to increase collaboration across public sector organisations and between professionals
  • Build on the development of the Health and Well Being Board as a strong co-ordinating body
  • Protect public health resources
  • Build a functional Healthwatch on the Community Health Council model

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