Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Telford penguins: I am not alone

A comment on my latest New Statesman website column sends readers to Telford & Wrekin Council Watch.

It has taken up the case of the Telford penguins.

3 comments:

John Franklyn said...

Telford Council Watch have locked horns with T&W Council on a variety of issues.

This about the Penguins was completely miss handled. the Town Park has just played host to he Culture fest and i can guarentee that people handing out leaflets, talking to children, taking photo's etc never had a CRB check.

This is about stopping peoples freedom of speech as they want to build on the town park.

I can assure you this, no one will everstop me from speaking out and when my campaign needs to go into the Town Park, it will and i for one am prepared to stand up and be counted and make a right royal song and dance about things, so people get to know the truth.

Jonathan said...

Good man! Keep us informed.

John Franklyn said...

Hidden Policy – Selective safe guards

This in response to the articles and letters about the councils restrictions for people wishing to distribute leaflets in the Town Park.

I believe wholeheartedly in freedom of speech and to me the councils actions appeared to be heavy handed.

I have therefore investigated as best I could but have not completed the investigations.

As far as I can find out there is no law requiring leaflet distributors to have CRB checks. I am, however, slightly puzzled as to why leaflet dstributors want to operate in childrens play grounds.

The council drew up comprehensive child protection procedures based on guidance produced by the Government in 1999.

The laudable aim of this is

"To offer a safe, secure, happy and exciting environment and how a duty of care in which children learn through play and discovery"

The town Park is obviously a place where children gather and "this duty of care applies"

It was therefore decided that anyone wanting to distribute leaflets should be required to,

1.Provie a copy of the leaflet to the Town Park Manager

2.Complete a Risk Assessment

3.Sign an agreement to maintain certain standards of behaviour(including having a CRB check)

All members of the Town Park Staff are instructed to approach anyone distributing leaflets in the Town Park in order to check they have carried out this procedure.

However, the existence of these requirements is NOT common knowledge and people tended to become upset on being approached on the matter.

Denis Allen
Wellington
Cabinet Member T&W Council


Response to The Response


Whilst it is good to see a Cabinet Member speak out, it is clear that even this letter is somewhat restricted but maintains the usual bias towards Telford and Wrekin Council.

If No Law exists to make Leaflet distributors have a CRB check, their policy is somewhat flawed, not only by the fact that it is hidden.

It is also flawed in the fact that it only covers the Town Park and not EVERY play area throughout the Borough of Telford and Wrekin.

Why?

It is an attempt to restrict residents freedom of speech as Telford and Wrekin Council want to build on it and around the confines of what they describe as “the Jewel in the Crown”, which it is, because it is the most valuable and sought after green space in the Borough.

What he fails to mention, and maybe its because he’s not completed his investigation, is the fact that Town Park Staff are required to approach ANY ADULT who walk in the Town Park without a child.

It is statements like this that can cause moral panic and their actions could’ve have mud thrown at an innocent person, that no matter what, will stick.

The Council fail to act on those that openly film and photograph around these play areas and evidence of films a splashed all over the internet.

Are photographers, filmers now required to complete a CRB check, Risk Assessment and have their images vetted before they leave the Town Park.

Telford and Wrekin Councils Policy has so many holes in it, they are the only things holding it together and you could easily drive a truck through them.

This issue was raised in mid 2007 after the Council ejected a senior citizen from the Park, yet failed to act then and continue to operate flawed policy, practice and procedure now.

John Franklyn
Telford and Wrekin Council Watch