I am concerned that the main Crown Post Offices in both Crewe and Macclesfield are to close and the service will be moved to a, yet to be named, retailer in the town centres by April 2014.The Crown Post offices in the two biggest town centres in Cheshire East are well used and there must be a doubt that a town centre retailer can cope with the additional demand and customers that will result from the transfer. Queues are already a problem at peak times and this can only get worse if post officer users have to compete with shop's existing clientele to get served. Also if the retailer closes down, what happens to the post office? For example, the post office in the Shopping City in Runcorn in Cheshire was moved to W H Smith two years ago and now that W H Smith has closed down and the post office with it. People will have to travel over two miles for an alternative post office. I would not want that to happen in Crewe or Macclesfield.
The post office say that existing staff will be protected but it is obviously a matter of great concern because their workplace is being closed down and the terms and conditions of any new role offered are uncertain. The danger is that skilled and experienced staff will be lost and replaced by inexperienced staff on the minimum wage. That can only result in a reduction in service to customers and that would not be acceptable.
Cllr Brian Silvester
Willaston and Rope Ward UKIP Councillor
Cheshire East Council
Tel/fax 01270 567757
Cheshire East Council (CE) must take urgent action to ensure that more of their vulnerable children are cared for in the Borough and not in some far flung place.
Maps compiled by the Department of Education show that over half (54%) of cared for children are sent to far flung care homes by CE This percentage is twice as high as CheshireWest,Warrington,Wirral and Lancashire. In Shropshire it is 33%.
There are a variety of reasons why it is not a good idea to house vulnerable children a long distance from their family home. A series of reports ordered in the wake of the Rochdale sexual exploitation scandal highlighted how children sent far from their familiar support networks of family and friends could be more vulnerable to grooming rings. The families of the cared for children find it difficult to visit the children when they are housed in a faraway place. It is more difficult for social workers to observe and assess the progress of the children they have responsibility for. Also it is more expensive to have children in these far flung homes.
This latest criticism comes only months after a damning OFSTED report on the Child Protection arrangements in CE. The report stated that, 'Not even minimum standards were being met in this crucial area of child protection'. It further stated that 'children, young people and families experience poor recognition of risk, delays and inconsistent management decision making. This increases the children and young people's potential risk of harm.
It is obvious that considerable improvement is required in the way that vulnerable children are housed and protected in CE.