Tonight there was a meeting of the City Council and also a meeting of the council's service committees. The main item under discussion at the City Council was a proposal to expand the membership of the Education Committee to include two parents, one from secondary schools and one primary schools along with one pupil representative. This proposal was very like a proposal which was included in Dundee Labour's manifesto for the council elections in May. My colleague Laurie Bidwell did propose an amendment which would have allowed these additional members of the Education Committee to have been full members of the committee with full voting rights.
I spoke in favour of the amendment and I highlighted how much the teacher representatives added to our discussions when they were allowed to have a say. I also pointed to the valuable contribution of the religious representatives on the committee. I think that it is good to have the voices of parents and young people heard in this chamber. The Education Committee is a committee of the council not a talking shop and therefore I think that every member of the committee should have a vote. I also think that we should look at how we bring the voice of service users and employees to other committees of the council. I was disappointed when the SNP members joined with the Conservative councillor to vote out the proposal to allow these new members a vote.
At the Environment Committee I was happy to support a report which sought to improve the long-term viability of Dovetail Enterprises in Dundee. I think that we should be supporting people into mainstream workplaces, we also have to recognise that this will not be appropriate for everyone. For those who cannot work in mainstream workplaces we should ensure that there is an assisted workplace for them. In the city of Dundee we have another assisted workplace at Remploy. The future sustainability of Remploy is under threat from the current UK Government. I asked whether the council is seeking to make every effort to secure the future of Remploy. I was reassured that the council was doing what it can and I will be keeping an eye on this in the future.
At the Policy and Resources Committee I spoke on a report Outdoor Learning. This is a very interesting report and I welcomed it. I asked about how council departments were working together to promote this policy. I was told that this was the case and I hope that it is.