I drove down to Ashford Borough Council's offices this afternoon to attend one of the regular Member Briefings organised by Kent Adult Social Services (KASS). Since I became Cabinet member for KASS, I've been really keen to ensure that County Councillors were both kept up to date with social care developments in their area, but also briefed on the issues and pressures facing the Directorate in general. More important than either of these, is that our Councillors need to know that they're being listened to - after all, who better to keep us up to speed with the latest local feeling and the politics behind the scenes?
And crucially as I said this afternoon to County Councillors Elizabeth Tweed, Mike Angell, Derek Smyth and George Koowaree - when KASS does something to affect the delivery of social care in their area, they'll be the first to get calls from local residents, so it's vital that we keep our Members up to speed.
It was a really productive meeting - senior officers from social services were joined by colleagues from the NHS and mental health to update on a range of issues, and we also had a chance to discuss some of the major strategic issues affecting the delivery of health and social care - such as the cost of choice; the effects of the credit crunch; Ashford's future development plans and the excellent work being done by the Ashford District Partnership Group for those with learning disabilities.
What a shame our outcomes so often become embroiled in party politics - working across party divides is so powerful.