Guest column: Council is ready to get powers back

Sir Kevin Barron MP
Sir Kevin Barron MP

The Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities, Sajid Javid MP, has said that he is minded to return five of the six remaining services back to the control of Rotherham Council.

Community safety, waste management, performance management, assessment management and human resources are the services proposed to be returned.

But decision-making powers for children services will stay with the Government-appointed commissioners.

This is the most significant indication that the council is firmly on the right track and that all involved have worked very hard to get to this position.

The Secretary of State will consider any further representations from the council before making a final decision on whether to return these departments.

I understand that the commissioners have been given until March 2019 to improve and hand back all services.

Now that the schools have broken up for the summer holidays, all 16-to-18-year-olds with a valid travel pass are eligible for concessionary fares on all buses in South Yorkshire throughout August, thanks to a group of intrepid teenagers.

Initially this pass was only available for use during the academic year.

But after a debate by the youth cabinet when they took over the council’s overview and scrutiny board, it was agreed that young people aged 16-to-18 should be able to use the pass all year round.

This allows young people in this age bracket to receive reduced travel rates including 80p single bus and tram fares, half-price rail fare on Northern Rail services and value for money operator tickets across South Yorkshire

Well done the youth cabinet.

Perhaps the scheme could be extended to all students regardless of age in the near future.

Mental health issues have been very much in the news lately.

A new initiative by the The Advocacy Project is running a poetry competition, Healing Words, which celebrates creativity as a means of supporting mental health.

They are inviting people to enter a poem whether they themselves suffer from mental health issues or from family and friends of someone who does.

More information can be found at www.advocacyprofect.org.uk where the entry categories are listed.

The closing date is 5pm on September 11.

I’m sure there a number of budding poets in the Rother Valley and I wish those of you entering the best of luck.

A reminded that I have no surgeries this month.

My next surgery is on September 8 at 5pm at my Dinnington office.