Getting it Right for our Children Conference

On Wednesday I attended a conference in Dundee on child protection, the conference was entitled Getting it Right for our Children. As a councillor I think that one of the most important responsibilities I have is a corporate parent. We need to take these responsibilities seriously and make sure that we collectively try our best for children who are in the care of the council. The conference was very interesting and amongst the most interesting was the contribution by Dr Harry Burns. If you have any concerns about any child in Dundee please contact the Child Protection line on 307999 or visit the website.


City Council Committees 22 November 2010

I was at the meeting of the Education, City Development and Social Work and Health Committees this evening. Prior to the start of the committee meetings tribute was paid to Brian Allison who is retiring this week as the Local Government editor DC Thomson. I have known Brian for a number of years and have always found him to be good to work with, he will be missed from the corridors in the City Chambers and Tayside House. I wish Brian all the very best for his retirement.

The Education Committee had a long debate about the proposals to relocate Eastern Primary adjacent to Grove Academy I was pleased that the Administration eventually gave into the concerns of local Ferry councillors such as my colleague Laurie Bidwell and Bailies Scott and Wallace. Road safety is obviously very important and we should be very concerned about it. I was happy to support progress on Harris Academy's refurbishment.

The City Development Committee agreed to look at design and engineering for a new station concourse at Dundee Railway Station.

The Social Work and Health Committee looked at the important issue of children in residential care. It also looked at reports on the quality of private and voluntary sector care homes. The quality of these is important, we should be giving the best to the elderly and to vulnerable adults.

Welcome for Progress on Harris Academy

Today I have welcomed progress towards the refurbishment of Harris Academy. I've been frustrated at the slow pace of progress on this important project.

I welcome the fact that the
City Council's Education Committee will be discussing the issue of forming a project board for the refurbishment of Harris Academy at its meeting tonight. Progress is required on this important project. It is a shame that it has taken so long for progress to happen. This is largely due to the Scottish Government insisting on using the Scottish Futures Trust as the funding model. This model has yet to lay a single brick. Now the model has been changed into what trade unions describe as 'PFI in all but name' we might see progress. I am disappointed for the staff, pupils and parents associated with Harris Academy that progress has not been made before now, I am also disappointed for those in the construction industry that progress has not been made before now. The Labour Group is prepared to work with the Administration to bring forward these plans sooner than is currently envisaged.


Dundee Evangelical Christian Alliance

On Sunday evening I was happy to accept the invitation from Dundee Evangelical Christian Alliance to attend a service which took place at St Peter's Free Church in the West End. It was a very interesting service and it was good to meet a number of local people at the church. I was pleased to hear that so many of the people present kept local politicians in their thoughts. I was very pleased to receive such a warm welcome from everyone present.

Feast of Christ the King

This morning along with council colleagues from Dundee, Perth & Kinross and Angus, parliamentarians and staff and students of the Abertay and Dundee universities and other representatives of civic and academic life I attended the Mass for the Feast of Christ the King at St Andrew's Cathedral in the Nethergate. This is always a very interesting service. The music was fabulous, well done to everyone involved. I was pleased to see that Bishop Vincent Logan was able to be present this year, he was absent last year, and to preach. The Diocese of Dunkeld thanks everyone involved in civic and academic life at this event and it is much appreciated.

West End Christmas Week Launch

On Saturday morning I attended the launch of the West End Christmas Week. I was pleased to meet Santa at Seabraes, it was a shame that the weather was poor. There was a well-attended community fayre in the downstairs hall of Dundee West Church. I was also pleased to make a brief visit to the coffee morning at Dundee West Church. The Christmas lights switch on in the West End is on Wednesday evening 24th November with the concert at 6pm in Dundee West Church and the lights switch on and fireworks at 7pm at Seabraes.