Services available to people with very poor eyesight "are not evenly
spread throughout West Sussex", the Royal National Institute for the Blind has said.
Responsibility was passed on to local authority following the
Brighton & Hove Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) decision to withdraw
funding for low vision services in 2018.
Christine Glanville, the RNIB’s network manager for south east
England, said at a health and adult social care select committee at West Sussex County Council, there were 5,000 people in Horsham and Mid Sussex living
with sight loss. A number slightly above the national average.
Patients are referred elsewhere for help and have to pay for
services usually provided freely across the rest of the county.
Ms Glanville added: “There is a need to reinstate a low vision
service for those patients who’ve had no low vision service for over a year
Meanwhile, Frances Russell, of Healthwatch West Sussex, said people were not aware of the help already available to them.
“I think there’s a real need to get this service sorted out and
Investigation into cause of Adur bridge damage
Vandals have caused thousands of pounds of damage to a footbridge across the River Adur - or have they?
Police and bridge owners West Sussex County Council are investigating the latest spate of damage to glass panels on the £10m Adur Ferry Bridge, which links Shoreham town centre with the beach.
The council says four panels, which cost about £1,000 each to repair, have been damaged in recent days.
Police are investigating reports of criminal damage by a group of youths, but the council wants to carry out tests to establish whether there was a recurrence of previous defects in the glass, which have been responsible for a number of previous similar incidents.
Investigations into a similar occurrence in 2014 established that impurities in the glass had caused some of the panels to shatter.
And a council spokesman said at least some of eight panels found damaged in January this year were the result of similar imperfections.
But the spokesman said the council would also be studying CCTV footage in case of other causes.
A Sussex Police spokesman said: "Officers attended and an area search was carried out. However, there was no
trace of the suspects and there are currently no further lines of inquiry."
Leader's funding plea to PM candidates
The leader of West Sussex County Council has written to the Tory leadership candidates and asked how much money they would give to local authorities if they became Prime Minister.
Louise Goldsmith, who last week survived calls for a vote of no confidence in her own leadership, described in her letter the "severe financial restrictions" faced by councils across the country and said, by the end of 2021-22, West Sussex would have streamlined its budget by £338m.
Ms Goldsmith also asked when the long-awaited Green Paper on social care would be published and if the government would be looking for cross-party approval of its contents.
The controversial paper which looks at the future of adult social care in England was due to be published in 2017. The government now has it listed to be published "at the earliest opportunity".
Brexit party MEP's comments on homosexuality condemned
Local Democracy Reporter
The leader of West Sussex County Council
has condemned as "outrageous" comments made by Ann Widdecombe
which suggested science could "produce an answer" to being gay.
The Brexit Party MEP hit the headlines
earlier this month for her comments, which led to several theatres cancelling
dates for her Strictly Ann one-woman tour.
The issue was raised at County Hall, in
Chichester, on 7 June when councillors asked for condemnation
of Ms Widdecombe’s "LGBT negative outburst".
I condemn the absolutely awful comments that were made. They were absolutely outrageous.”
Looking at the inclusivity work carried
out by the county, the leader recalled people’s delight when the rainbow
flag was first flown at County Hall – a day Mr Oxlade said was "a big
The council is also working to regain its
place in the Stonewall top 100 – a list of the employers which achieve
acceptance without exception for all LGBT people, with the next Worthing Pride taking place on 13 July.
Leader survives vote of no confidence
Local Democracy Reporter
West Sussex County Council leader Louise Goldsmith has survived a call for a vote of no
confidence in her abilities.
The call was made by
Lib Dem leader Dr James Walsh after a horrific Ofsted report into the county’s children’s services, which were
The call was
supported by a number of Tory councillors.
Calling Ofsted’s findings "a shocking indictment" Dr Walsh said: “There are many
references in the report to leadership failure at all levels."
He said children could be "scarred for life".
There was applause for
Tory councillor Andrew Baldwin, who suggested that he and others had been
removed from scrutiny committees because they were "not
nodding donkeys and not afraid to ask questions".
After listening to the
debate for more than an hour, a tearful Mrs Goldsmith said: “I care very deeply about the children so this hits me more than
you can imagine.”
The call was defeated
by 38 votes to 18, with 5 abstentions.
Today's local news website headlines
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with scrutinising children’s
services in West Sussex have questioned the
level of information provided to them.
The service was rated
inadequate by Ofsted last week and the council will now work with a
commissioner from the Department for Education in an effort to bring things up
Scrutiny came in for
criticism from the inspectors, who described the process as not "sufficiently rigorous".
At a meeting councillors said they were determined
to see children's services improve and made a number of suggestions.
Councillors were told
that seven core themes for improvement had been decided – effective leadership,
work force, planning and development, learning and development, design of
the service, and partnerships, process and compliance.