Day 130 – The Mayoral Elections

The new Mayor of Bedford will be elected on Thursday 15th October but will only hold office until May 2011 (19 months) when they will be up for re-election along with every councillor.

The first major decision immediately they take office will be the School Organisation Review and the new Mayor will have a great deal of influence over the result.

This is why it is essential that opponents of the educationally unsound, financially unviable, and massively disruptive change to two-tier, take time to consider their positions (and votes) carefully.

This is also why it is also essential that candidates of all political hues make their intentions clear to everybody. The new Mayor may not make this decision on their own, but they should be able to show leadership. After all, if they can’t give a straight-forward answer on this (much debated) issue, how can we trust them not to be just another politician, in it for their own egos.

Only one candidate has been declared so far – Cllr Dave Hodgson for the LibDems. The BoS yesterday quoted him as saying, “We face enormous challenges such as the decaying town centre, the regeneration of the bus station area and the need for a quality transport system”…not one word about schools there…so we do hope Dave is intending to make his position clear sometime very soon…along with all the other candidates of course…

By the way, don’t forget that the Conservatives have announced that you can help them select their candidate for Mayor by attending their US-style primary on the evening of Monday 14th September. You don’t need to be a party member, and you don’t even have to be a Conservative supporter, but you do have to register by sending your full name and address to: mayor@bedfordconservatives.com.

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One Response to Day 130 – The Mayoral Elections

  1. Ed Thomas says:

    For those who missed this yesterday! This is copied and pasted from the BBC News website, now headlining in the Education section. Why is it when I read this article I think of Brian Glover? As Bedfordshire as a Cornish Pastie, exactly how many authorities has BSF Brian worked for now? ED

    School consultants ‘earned £170m’

    The Tories say ministers have mismanaged the rebuilding scheme
    Local authorities have spent £170 million on consultants in a government scheme to refurbish and rebuild schools in England, the Conservatives say.

    They say the £50 billion Building Schools for the Future programme has delivered “hardly any improvements”.

    The Schools Secretary Ed Balls defended the scheme and accused the Conservatives of planning to make cuts.

    Officials say 87 schools have been improved, with a further 33 due to open at the start of this term.

    But the Shadow Children’s Secretary Michael Gove questioned whether it was value for money.

    He said that since Building Schools for the Future (BSF) began in 2004 a new school had opened in just 15 local authorities.

    Millions has already been spent on consultants with hardly any improvements actually delivered

    Shadow Schools Secretary Michael Gove
    He said consultants had been paid by local authorities bidding for the construction work and for giving advice about the work itself. The information was obtained via the Freedom of Information Act.

    ‘Mismanagement’

    He said: “In tough economic times it is vital that ministers get good value for taxpayers’ money.

    “But under the government’s bureaucratic school refurbishment scheme, millions has already been spent on consultants with hardly any improvements actually delivered.”

    Mr Gove predicts that consultants could go on to earn a total of £1.5 billion from the scheme.

    He added: “We need a government that is able to get more for less. Ministers have already increased their costing by £10bn due to their failure to deliver the scheme on time.

    “At a time when family budgets are more stretched than ever, we simply cannot afford this level of mismanagement in Ed Balls’s department.”

    ‘History books’

    Mr Balls hit back, accusing the Tories of planning to save money by allowing new schools to open in office blocks.

    He said: “Thanks to this government’s sustained investment in new school buildings, leaking roofs and freezing classrooms are now simply for the history books.

    “As we will show this week, we are ensuring that children have places to learn which are fit for the 21st century with state of the art classrooms, sport and music facilities – not consigning them to an office block as the Tories seem happy to do.”

    The government agency responsible for the building programme, Partnership for Schools, said spending on consultants was widely in line with its recommendations.

    A spokesman said: “We give an indicative steer that councils should expect to spend around 3% of the total value of their BSF scheme to ensure successful delivery locally.

    “Some local authorities spend more than this amount whilst others spend considerably less.

    “As recent independent industry research demonstrates, the average amount that local authorities spend is 3.2% of the value of their overall project.

    “We expect these costs to come down further over time as local authorities and the private sector build on their experience and knowledge to date.”

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