A meeting far away

Last Wednesday I travelled into Essex, for a meeting of the East of England Local Government Group Lead member for Health and Adult social services Network, where we come together to discuss all things Public Health, Health Services and Social Care.

The network is where member from across Eastern Region or as I like to call it East Anglia, gather to discuss all things Public Health, Health Services and Social Care so that we learn from each other and try not to “re-invent the wheel”.

I have the singular honour to be its Chairman and reach meeting is hosted by one of the group this quarter’s turn was Essex and so the splendid surroundings of Essex County Council we heard from officers working on the Health Watch agenda both from the Department of Health perspective and the work that Essex CC are doing in establishing theirs.

It’s a great group and I think by sharing our different approaches we can and help each other not waste time and money ‘reinventing the wheel’, or worse doing things by trial and error. We have influence and power and with power comes responsibility; to make sure that we are making the right moves and we do that by making sure that we learn from the best and indeed from what has not worked elsewhere.

I suspect we all think that the changes and the development of the Health and Well Being Boards are a really good development, so good in fact that I suspect most people something that most of us thought it existed already!

Paul Laffin from the East of England European Office presented a paper on why we as a network should become a founding member of a new organisation in Europe called the European Regional and Local Health Authorities or EUREGHA for short.

We all agreed that  we can and should learn from Europe where we know the Lower Austrian Region has been integrating services for years and other places are exemplars as to how go about things such as the Swedish work on dementia Care services, the whole of Europe has the same issues we face with an ageing population and we should be learning from each other.

The first question that sprang to mind is that we are Lead Members and Portfolio holders predominantly for Social Care and often Public Health but that other than the influence in the Health and Well Being Boards we are not ‘Health’. If was discussed that in fact Health at the moment is not organised with Democratic representation and that our network was the closest thing we have to a Regional Democratic health Structure, my mind cast back to my thoughts on Health Commissioners but I digress.

The second question was how much, I was very much aware that our previous membership of the forerunner to this organisation was a key factor in Suffolk leading a successful bid late last year and getting 375,000 euros of funding for our active ageing research and work programme. Our membership would be free, a price I like, in fact better than free because it was proposed that our East of England office would provide the new organisation with office space 1 desk in lieu of the 5,000 euros membership fee and one desk to be rented to the new organisation actually allowing us to reduce the running costs of the East of England office in Brussels.

The it was resolved that we should as a group representing our region become a member of a new organisation and that I am Chairman should attend the opening General Assembly and be a co-signature to its founding.

It seems to me that Europe is a bit like marmite but whether you love or loath it; there is vast amounts of funding available for projects to make improvement in all areas of local government’s delivery of services and we should hunt that down,  just as the rest do; Brussels here I come!

About askcolinnoble
I'm a Conservative politician-lite, I dabble a bit in Party Politics with my main focus of working hard and being a strong voice for my community making sure local government delivers quality services and fellow residents get value for money for their hard earned money they pay in Council tax | Where this Gravatar appears and I am expressing my views or liking something I do so in a personal capacity and does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Suffolk County Council, Forest Heath District Council, the Conservative Party or come to think of it anyone else | But having said the above at an election time and to stay legal anything I write is promoted by Lance Stanbury on behalf of Colin Noble, both at West Suffolk Conservative Association, Unit 8, Swan Lane Business Park, Exning, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7FN

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