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Category Archives: Public services

Byrne warns local NHS hitting breaking point as social care cuts bite – 23 October 2014



***Embargoed until 09:30 23 October 2014***


Dear all,


Byrne warns local NHS hitting breaking point as social care cuts bite


Please find below a press release from Liam Byrne MP including House of Commons statistics on severe increases in waiting times in A&E at Birmingham’s Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust and a statement on Monitor’s report into the Trust this due for release this morning.


 23 October 2014News from Liam Byrne MP


Embargoed until 09:30 on 23 October 2014



Byrne warns local NHS hitting breaking point as social care cuts bite



A&E waiting times at HEFT increase by 240% since this Tory-led coalition took over



This morning Monitor is releasing its report into Birmingham’s Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. The report is deeply concerning – highlighting a severe increase in waiting times for A&E, routine operations and cancer care patients, as well as mortality rates.



In response to the report Liam Byrne MP said:



‘Residents all over Hodge Hill are telling me pressure on our NHS is hitting breaking point. And this reports shows why.  The government’s huge cuts to Birmingham’s social care means it’s harder than ever to get older residents home from hospital. That means it’s getting harder to get people in the front door through A&E.’



Notes to editors:


1) Figures released by the House of Commons Library (below) show an increase in those waiting over 4 hours in A&E at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. Between Q3 of 2009/10 and Q3 of 2014/15 the number has gone from 1,619 to 5,518; an increase of over 240%.


Patients waiting over 4 hours in A&E at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust
As at Quarter 3:

Total attendances

Number waiting over 4 hours

% waiting over 4 hours

























Sources: 2011/12 -2014/15 NHS England Weekly Sit Rep reports, pre 2011/12 DH Total Time Spent in A&E quarterly data series



















2) Monitor is the sector regulator of NHS-funded health care services. Under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 its main duty is to protect and promote the interests of people who use them.


3) Monitor’s press release attached.






Monitor Press Release:


Under strict embargo until: 09.30am Thursday 23rd October 2014

New action taken at Heart of England to improve services and strengthen leadership

Monitor is taking action to improve services and strengthen the leadership of Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT), so that patients receive better care.

The health sector regulator has imposed a further condition on HEFT’s licence enabling it to take further action if the trust’s leadership does not perform better.

Monitor is acting after HEFT failed to reduce long waiting times for A&E, routine operations and cancer care patients, together with additional concerns regarding mortality rates. The regulator has decided that the range and seriousness of these issues demonstrate a clear failure in leadership and the trust’s organisational systems.

The trust and Monitor have also agreed new legally binding enforcement undertakings aimed at improving these care services on a sustainable basis.

HEFT provides services across the West Midlands at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital, Solihull Hospital and Community Services at the Birmingham Chest Clinic.

Monitor first found HEFT in suspected breach of its licence to provide healthcare in December 2013, after it failed to meet national targets at two of its hospitals, for treating patients in A&E within four hours.

Adam Cayley, Regional Director at Monitor, said:

“We want all patients of this trust to receive quality and timely care, which means all parts of the organisation must operate effectively.

“This action should ensure that the trust’s leadership takes appropriate and swift action to address our concerns around how it is led and run.

“We will continue to monitor the trust rigorously and take further regulatory action if we consider it necessary.”


Notes to editors

  • For further information please contact, Nick Burke Media Relations Manager, on or 020 3747 0800.
  • Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT) was authorised as an foundation trust on 1 April 2005.
  • Details on Monitor’s previous regulatory action at HEFT can be found here.
  • Monitor is the sector regulator of NHS-funded health care services. Under the Health and Social Care Act 2012 its main duty is to protect and promote the interests of people who use them.
  • Information about Monitor’s role can be found here.
  • Follow Monitor on twitter @MonitorUpdate



Statement on Birmingham City Council announcement on the financial situation facing the City – 17 September 2014


Dear friends,


A number of people have been in touch seeking my views in response to the City Council’s announcement yesterday on the dire consequences of the financial situation which the City Council is facing.


My statement is below:


“This government is trying to destroy our city, the safety of our parents’ social care and the strength of our children’s’ services. While leafy Surrey gets more help, we get smashed. We will never forget or forgive the Tories and their Lib Dem friends for what they’ve done to us, our city and our families.”


You can read the City Council announcement here:



My letter to Nicky Morgan and statement on today’s reports into Birmingham Schools – 18 July 2014


18 July 2014

News from Liam Byrne MP

Statement on today’s reports into Birmingham Schools


‘Today’s report confirms the challenge is not violent extremism, its delivering excellent education.


‘We cannot and will not settle for second best for our children. We must strive for excellence.’


‘I’m glad Sir Albert Bore has apologised to my constituents for let-downs by the Council. The new Education secretary, Nicky Morgan must now do the same. Half the schools where Ian Kershaw found serious problems were academies – and Peter Clarke has revealed a culture of ‘benign neglect’.


In other words, Michael Gove was asleep at the wheel while standards slipped.


‘Crucially, the DfE must now back up Birmingham in a bold plan to boost school standards, with a full time, independent Director of School Standards, a helpline for whistle-blowers and a new scorecard for parents so they can see better what’s going on at their children’s’ school.






Letter from Liam Byrne MP to Nick Morgan MP dated 18 July 2014



Dear Nicky,


Congratulations on your new role.


As you will know, I have been working hard with your department to rebuild a new team and new trust around Park View School, which became an academy in 2012.


Today, Birmingham City Council published the independent Kershaw Review and in today’s Guardian I see your predecessor has leaked a copy of the Clarke review, despite assurances to the Commons that Parliament would see the report first.


I was deeply disturbed to read Peter Clarke’s conclusion that the DfE’s ‘benign neglect’ of its responsibilities towards academies like Park View, contributed to a serious deterioration of standards.


Today, Sir Albert Bore has apologised to the citizens of our city for the council’s role in failing to confront earlier the problems set out in the Kershaw report.


As the Member of Parliament who asked Ofsted to investigate Park View when problems were first reported to me in February, can I ask you to now extend the same apology to my constituents for DfE’s failure to provide adequate oversight of our academies?


Second, will you now commit to a five point action plan to put things right, including;


1. The creation of an independent director of school standards to take responsibility across the school system in Birmingham


2. The creation of an independent hotline for whistle-blowers, parents, teachers and governors, to report problems backed by a team of professionals skilled in investigating such complaints


3. New ways of keeping parents informed about school standards AND the quality of school leadership, governance and financial probity


4. Support for a new annual conference to bring together education leaders from across the school system, colleges, universities, faith groups and business, to discuss education ambitions and priorities


5. Introduce compulsory sex and relationship education in all schools and consider reviewing the guidance for schools on religious education.


The key to safeguarding against extremism is an excellent education.


We are a beautiful and diverse city; but we want to be an integrated city. Together we have failed to head off a threat to that integration in our education system. Birmingham and the DfE must now come together to change this for the years to come.


Today, Birmingham City Council has accepted its responsibilities. Today, I would urge the DfE to do the same, so we can move on, make up the lost ground and ensure world class schools are open and ready for our children in September.


Yours ever


Liam Byrne MP

Member of Parliament for Birmingham Hodge Hill




Out and about in Shard End – 20 June 2014


Dear friends,

I have had a brilliant day today visiting Brownmead School and the Orchards Care Home with my colleague Cllr John Cotton. I wanted to share some photographs with you.

Minnie Ratheram and Liam at The Orchards Care home in Shard End

Certainly one of today’s highlights was meeting Minnie Ratheram at The Orchards Care Home in Shard End. 101 years of age but she doesn’t look a day over 80!

LB and Cllr John Cotton at The Orchards care home after meeting residents

Cllr John Cotton and myself outside The Orchards Care Home after meeting with the residents.

LB met with headteacher Ashley Winters Brownmead School in Shard End. June 20th

A pleasure to meet with an outstanding public servant – Head Teacher Ashley Winters at Brownmead School, Shard End. After meeting with Mr Winters it was great to greet pupils and parents in the sunshine at the school gate!





Meeting Michael Gove on behalf of Park View parents – 16 June 2014


Dear friends,


Yesterday Cllr Ansar Ali Khan and I met with hundreds of parents who have children at Park View. From that meeting emerged a five-point action plan to see this situation move forward, giving power back to parents.


This morning I met with the Secretary of State Michael Gove at the Department for Education and presented him with a copy of the five-point action plan. The text of the plan is below the photo.


5 point action plan to Michael Gove - 16 June 2014





16 June 2014


Dear Michael,


Please find below a five-point action plan agreed this weekend with hundreds of parents with children at Park View Academy in my constituency.


Park View Parents’ Action Plan:


1. Parents stand united in their demand for excellent education for their children, and will not tolerate second best in anything. This shambolic process of recent weeks has damaged their children’s education, especially the media pestering children and parents for comment. The clear message is: give us the space to do our exams!


2. Parents want the chance to take up Sir Michael Wilshaw’s offer to meet them, so that they can cross-examine him on the facts.


3. Although a small minority suspended judgement, the large majority of parents want the governors to resign now so a fresh team of parents can be elected to draw up an action plan to respond in full the findings.


4. The parents want the chance to put together the team that takes the school forward – and not have a new trust brought in from outside.


5. The parents would like back-up from the best in the business – but also from outstanding school leaders who know and serve our community. We know we are blessed with outstanding local education leaders, for instance at Washwood Heath, Waverley, Ninestiles and Small Heath.


Yours sincerely,


Birmingham Hodge Hill




Don’t Lose Faith – a message from Liam Byrne MP and Shabana Mahmood MP


Dear friends,


See below for a message from myself and Shabana Mahmood MP:


Don’t Lose Faith

Liam Byrne MP and Shabana Mahmood MP


The allegations made about some Birmingham schools are incredibly serious. From the word ‘go’, we demanded that nothing be swept under the carpet, that parents have the facts – and fast.


We want specifics; has gender segregation taken place in mixed schools, yes or no? Have extremist preachers been invited to give assemblies, yes or no?


Why is this necessary? Because Michael Gove’s education policy has left our city with a fragmented school system over which no one has control. Michael Gove and the DfE are theoretically responsible for the numerous academies in our city but how on earth can they do that from Whitehall?


The fact is they can’t and everyone knows it. This has allowed claim and counter claim to flourish – in this context the truth is hard to find.


As the net has widened, these investigations have left local parents with an anger-making sense that schools have come under suspicion merely because they serve a population that is predominantly Muslim; that state schools which make reasonable accommodations for local needs – like allowing a day off to celebrate a religious festival, or allowing pupils to use a school room to pray during the lunch break – might be fine for some – but not for Muslims.


Schools take these steps because they respect students with strong religious convictions and recognise that faith plays an important role for those students in driving their aspiration and every child we inspire helps make our city a richer and better place.


Yet now thousands of Muslim parents feel that they and their children are automatically under suspicion, and that the education they receive will be viewed through the prism of counter-terrorism.


We simply do not accept this.


For many people faith is an integral part of their daily lives. It is a strength to be harnessed which is why today we call on the city’s faith leaders to come together to show the city just how excellence in standards and strength of faith can be coupled better in our state schools.


At the same time we hope that the lessons will be learnt. Ofsted must ask some searching questions about how it so misjudged standards in the past. Michael Gove has to tell us how he let things get out of hand. Of the five schools allegedly bound for special measures, four are academies for which he and no-one else is accountable.


Faith has inspired greatness in our country – and has done for centuries. Let’s build an education system in which it can flourish.


Not just for some.  But for all.



Statement on DfE’s announcement today – 15 April 2014


Dear Friends,


The Department for Education have now announced there next steps with regards to Birmingham schools. You can read the Department’s press release and statement below as well my statement in response and the statement released by Chief Constable Sims of West Midlands Police.


Department for Education Press Release – 15 April 2014:


Government appoints Commissioner to investigate Birmingham schools

The Department for Education today, 15 April, appointed Peter Clarke to review evidence in relation to serious allegations that schools in Birmingham are being targeted by individuals wishing to push an Islamist agenda.
In his role as Education Commissioner, Peter Clarke will be accountable to the Secretary of State for Education. He will investigate the allegations to understand fully what has happened in the schools of concern and work closely with Birmingham City Council to analyse evidence of extremist infiltration in both academies and council-run schools. He will report back to the department this summer.
Mr Clarke’s appointment means allegations which have been the subject of intense speculation can be examined in a professional and dispassionate manner, based on established facts. He has substantial and much-respected experience in leading investigations at a high level.

Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove said:
“I am extremely concerned by the allegations made in connection to a number of schools in Birmingham. 

“I have already asked Ofsted to inspect a number of schools of concern and these investigations are ongoing. But wider, more comprehensive action is needed. These allegations need either to be substantiated and firm action taken, or to be shown to be baseless. We cannot allow uncertainty for parents or pupils to persist.

“That is why I am appointing a Commissioner to oversee this work. Peter Clarke brings a wealth of relevant skills and experience, and is very well placed to lead a fair and thorough assessment of the evidence, and report back to me. We expect he will work closely with Birmingham City Council.

“No pupils should be exposed to extremist views or radicalisation while at school. I have tasked Peter Clarke with getting to the bottom of these allegations, so schools in Birmingham can continue the excellent progress that so many have been making.”


The Department for Education has maintained close contact with a number of parties since the allegations were first received, including the police and Birmingham City Council.

All schools are subject to a tough inspection regime and the government has been clear that it will not hesitate to take firm and swift action if pupils are being let down or placed at risk.


1. The Commissioner’s remit will cover both maintained schools and academies (including free schools, university technical colleges and Studio Schools). He will be supported by a small team of Department for Education officials, and will be able to seek expert opinion and advice as necessary, including from Ofsted. He is likely to be in place initially for three to four months before reporting back to the Secretary of State for Education.

2. This appointment, which is made under statutory powers, is separate to the Department for Education’s intervention in Birmingham’s children’s services. The department has already indicated its intention to appoint a statutory Commissioner to oversee these services, which successive Ofsted inspections have found to be inadequate.

3. Peter Clarke was an officer in the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) for 31 years and has held a number of executive and non-executive positions in the public and private sectors, including as a non-executive board member for the Serious Organised Crime Agency from 2009-2013. He rose to the rank of Deputy Assistant Commissioner at the MPS, heading up the Counter Terrorism Command. He received the OBE in 2006 for his work on the 7/7 bombings the previous year. He is currently a board member at the Charity Commission.

4. For more information call Rhiannon Spellman in the press office on 020 7340 8239 or the newsdesk on 020 7783 8300



In response Liam Byrne MP said:


“I’m sorry Mr Gove has ignored the advice of all ten of the city’s MP’s and the West Midlands Police and decided very, very late in the day to go it alone.


“We’ve been demanding action for weeks to get to the truth of what’s gone on in Mr Gove’s academies as well as local schools. Frankly we needed something far faster and a real team-effort between Mr Gove’s department and Birmingham City Council.


‘Some of the schools in question like Park View are delivering simply outstanding results – and nothing must be allowed to get in the way of outstanding teachers delivering outstanding teaching.


‘So I genuinely hope that like us, Mr Gove is pursuing the truth and not an agenda and frankly, this mustn’t be an attempt to duck the lessons Mr Gove needs to learn about toughening up the rules around academies and free schools.


“Despite the Secretary of State’s prevarication we just need to get on with it, end the uncertainty and get in place any changes if changes are needed”.


“There are now more and more questions that demand answers, like what Ofsted and Mr Gove knew and when and whether there are similar allegations being made elsewhere in Britain. Quite simply we need to know whether Mr Gove is able to run such a large school system from his desk in Whitehall.”





Chief Constable Sims of West Midlands Police said:

“This is a desperately unfortunate appointment. Peter Clarke has many qualities but people will inevitably draw unwarranted conclusions from his former role as National Coordinator for Counter-terrorism.

“I am a strong supporter of open and inclusive education for all children in Birmingham and across the West Midlands and am committed to the process adopted by Birmingham City Council with educational and social inclusion at its heart.”





‘Whistle-blowers receive employment protection when they come to their MP’


Dear friends,


Changes to regulations surrounding protections for whistle-blowers now mean that Members of Parliament are recognised as prescribed persons for the purpose of the Public Disclosure Act. This will dramatically increase the protection for any whistle-blowers who contact me and I hope that it means many more will be willing to speak to me about misdemeanour’s that they have observed in their workplaces.


I am here to help the residents of Hodge Hill and so please do get in touch with me – using the contact tab above – if you have any concerns over misdemeanour’s in your workplace.


The House of Commons have provided an explanatory note to accompany this change in the law and for your convenience I provide a copy here below:





(This note is not part of the Order)


This Order amends the Schedule to the Public Interest Disclosure (Prescribed Persons) Order 1999 (“the 1999 Schedule”).


The Employment Rights Act 1996 (“1996 Act”) provides protection for workers who suffer a detriment or are dismissed as a result of blowing the whistle by making a qualifying disclosure in accordance with any of sections 43C to 43H of the 1996 Act. (‘Qualifying disclosure’ has the meaning given in section 43B of the 1996 Act.) Section 43F of the 1996 Act provides that a qualifying disclosure will be protected if it is made to a prescribed person and relates to matters in respect of which that person is prescribed. The 1999 Schedule lists the prescribed persons and the matters in respect of which they are prescribed for the purposes of section 43F.


This Order amends the 1999 Schedule to make members of the House of Commons prescribed persons in respect of any matter listed in the Schedule.


A full impact assessment has not been produced for this instrument as no significant impact on the private, voluntary or public sectors is foreseen.


Support our local Hodge Hill St John Ambulance


Dear friends,


I just wanted to let you know about a very worthy cause that could do with your support.


Below is a message from our local Hodge Hill St John Ambulance team (based in Bucklands End) who are fundraising to support their vital work in our community – they hope to use the money raised to purchase life-saving equipment such as Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) which will be based in local supermarkets.


See below for a message about their exciting fundraising challenge – for more details on how to donate please visit their team JustGiving page:






St John Ambulance March 2014


St John Ambulance believe that it’s absolutely unacceptable that  – due to the lack of trained 1st aiders. Everyone who needs it should receive first aid from those around them.

A local St John Ambulance unit based in Hodge Hill, Birmingham, are currently seeking support for this excellent charity. A team of 8 volunteer members and a supportive member of the public will be climbing to the summit of Ben Nevis, Scotland. Six of who will have a resuscitation Annie doll strapped to their back, whilst the remaining 3 will be carrying the food, liquid, clothing, emergency equipment and further equipment. This climb will be taking place on the 3rd May 2014.

They are aiming to raise in excess of £5000 for St John Ambulance, with all money raised purchasing valuable equipment for our local community. The money will go towards purchasing AED’s  which will be based in local our local supermarkets and wider if more money is raised. 

They have  raised almost £3300 towards their conservative target but would like to exceed their original target. This will enable the team to look at placing further AED’s in the community.



Consultation opens for changes to Starbank Primary School


I have recently received the following message from Birmingham City Council on their proposed changes to Starbank Primary School.


“On 23rd January 2014, Birmingham City Council published proposals to Expand by Enlargement and Alteration to the upper Age Limit of Starbank Primary School from 1st September 2014.


Please find attached the statutory proposal  that we have published. The representation will run for a 6 week period.


Details of how to make comments are included in the notice. The closing date for comments is Wednesday 5th February 2014.”


Please see below for a link to the notice:


Starbank Pub Notice Expansion Alter Age Range

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