With the government now urging people to return to work, MP’s have already returned to the House of Commons and the Department for Education has produced detailed guidance about children returning to school in September.
Preparation is so important to reduce the risk but also provide confidence for those who are taking the risks. All schools are reviewing their risk assessments as they consider the guidance and prepare for September. The Government has also made it clear that the parents or guardians of children who do not return to school will be fined.
Lancashire County Council will be one of the local authorities that will take the parents or guidance to court in order to enforce the return of the children.
However there is little or no sign of councillors returning to the committee chambers to carry out their duties. In fact the preparations being carried out by the Conservative Administration appears to be entrenching the digital committee platform. Producing a methodical plod rather than a member led dynamic decision making process and scrutiny structure within the council.
Cllr John Fillis, Labour Deputy Leader of Lancashire County Council, said “It will be considered hypocritical by many people for councillors to enforce fines on parents who have deep concerns regarding their children going back to school and at the same time claiming the situation is to dangerous for responsible councillors to return to the committee chambers. This will again be one rule for ordinary people and another for politicians.”
“Allot is going on in council under the cover of Covid without any form of open and honest scrutiny. In the last few weeks we have seen the documents released that have failed to undertake real consultation or consideration by partners and the public, “Redefining Lancashire”, “Maximising Occupancy in Supported Housing” and “Lancashire City of Culture Bid 2025″. This week we will see the merger of two scrutiny committees that will compress Education and Children’s Services together squeezing as much of the democracy out of the decision making process as possible. These are both major committees with the laborious digital process being set to defy democracy.”
“We should all be working towards the return of democracy, scrutiny and accountability to the public. Although council committees may not be as interesting as Coronation Street, open and honest democracy must be seen to be done by the people in order to gain their trust and support. We should be leading by example.”