Thursday, 18 November 2010

Friendship groups in Gateshead primary schools

This week Gateshead Council have published 'Delivering Vision 2030' that sets out the council's spending plans for 2011-2012. The document is for public consultation until Christmas after which the Council will make its final budget decisions.

We are delighted that the document proposes (page 52) continuing the grant it makes to Children North East for us to provide friendship groups for children in primary schools in the east of the borough. It is proposed that the grant will be reduced by 20% but we had thought it would not continue at all. At the same time the document says the council will discontinue grants to other voluntary organisations. I think this demonstrates the value that those Gateshead primary schools and Gateshead Council itself place on our service. Of course the grant is not guaranteed yet, these are proposals for public consultation but nevertheless it is promising and encouraging.

The document itself is an object lesson in clarity and transparency. It seems to list everything that Gateshead Council spends money on, says how much it spends and suggests what the council should spend next year. It also sets out a timetable when decisions will be made. Other Local Authorities could learn from Gateshead.

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