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 Message from County Councillor Nigel Dixon

County Council Governance
Many of you will know NCC changed from a Cabinet to a Committee governance system on 27 May. There are various reasons for the change back to the system which existed prior to 2001 when the government introduced the Cabinet system. Hopefully, you will not be significantly affected but policy and structural decisions could be delayed and frustrated by there being no overall political control and by the Committee processes taking longer. Such decisions will be mostly made by 4 Service Committees covering the wide range of services NCC provides: (Adult Social Services, Children’s Services, Environment, Transport & Development Services and Community Services); other decisions will be made by the 5th Committee: Policy & Resources, or by Full Council if appropriate. None of this offers a panacea to all the problems NCC is struggling with, especially the current budget cuts. You may also know that political leadership of NCC, for a 2nd year, remains with the alliance of the 4 smallest parties: Labour, UKIP, Lib Dem and the Greens; it is Cllrs from those groups who lead and Chair the 5 Committees.

Update on Stalham High School (SHS) & Stalham Academy (Formerly SJS)
My articles earlier this year explained the general situation for both schools; in particular, that SJS would become an Academy on 1 May and that SHS was the subject of intensive efforts by NCC to recover performance and stabilise its future. SJS is 2 months into its transition to Academy status and I am aware of many concerns about how that’s progressing. The Academy is outside the usual control of NCC and is being managed by its sponsor, Right for Success (RfS), and it is under the direct control of the Dept for Education and thus accountable to the DfE for performance. I therefore do not have the same role or ease of access as when it was under NCC control; however, I do have representation responsibilities and I am collecting intelligence and establishing facts behind the concerns. Please keep me advised if you have concerns and any actions you take to resolve them with the acting Head or RfS; this will help me form a fuller picture and support my dealings with RfS. As for SHS, I have been actively involved with the Head and the Interim Executive Board with several meetings to gain an overview of recovery steps and progress and in jointly exploring options to stabilise SHS and secure its longer term future, including Academy status. The priority has been to find the best solution, rather than just the easiest; however, hot off the press, agreement has been reached with North Norfolk Academy Trust to sponsor SHS to become an Academy from Jan 2015. NNAT was recently established by Sheringham HS, it’s rated as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted and it’s expected to sponsor a small number of schools in N Norfolk. In the meantime interim support arrangements will continue with additional input from Sheringham HS, during transition. It’s hoped this will ensure current progress is maintained; it remains work in progress and I expect to maintain my involvement into next term, at least. I understand it will not change its name nor will the uniform change. If you have any concerns please try to resolve them via the Head Teacher and advise me if you are not satisfied.
I welcome your views on these or any other matters which concern you. My contact details are: Tel 783885 or e mail: nigel.dixon@norfolk.gov.uk or NigelNDD@aol.com