Tim Loughton's Parliamentary Newsletter
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Newsletter - April 2016

Dear Constituent
Welcome to my April newsletter 2016 and hopefully to Spring though the weather seems to be showing little sign of that at the moment. Thank you to all those of you who have been to my ‘Talk to Tim’ public meetings so far where there has certainly been a lot of interest about the forthcoming EU Referendum. There are still 55 days to go and I will be holding further meetings to try to engage as many people as possible in this vitally important constitutional issue. I have been approached by a number of local organisations who are looking to arrange hustings with speakers from both sides of the debate and will hold off organising my own further meetings until those dates have been finalised.
I was delighted also with the response to our biggest ever pensioners’ fair held at the Guildbourne Centre in Worthing last Friday. This has become a regular feature now and I am grateful for all those who put in such a lot of hard work to make it a success. I will continue to update the special sections on my website as news comes in on things such as the local rail service and upgrades to the A27.

Meanwhile, the proposed closure of ticket offices by Southern has rather hit the buffers at the moment as both the trade unions and Passenger Focus have lodged their objections and it is now being considered by the Minister who I have spoken to. I have posted a letter from GTR from April 14th on my website which answers some of the upstanding issues raised at the public meeting I held in Shoreham too. Adding to passenger woes there was of course a strike earlier this week which caused major disruption. This is over the proposal to bring in driver-only operated trains. For the sake of balance I have published below the letters from both the GTR management and the RMT union with their respective positions on the action.
As regards the A27 we remain in a ‘limbo period’ until the Highways Agency produce their latest proposals which are still expected in November. I am aware that a number of residents’ groups held a meeting earlier this week and expressed concerns about the likely proposals involving duelling the A27 through Worthing and there was support for a bypass option running north of Worthing. This had already been ruled out in the earlier scoping work as representatives of the residents’ groups know who sit on the A27 Working Party chaired by Councillor Tom Wye, and who are specifically there to feedback to residents and represent their views. I know no more than them about the likely plans at the moment and will post everything I have on my website but again we are unlikely to have much more detail until November after which there will inevitably be an extensive public consultation exercise.
I hope you have noticed the video podcasts that I have been posting on my website ( and Facebook page ( recently which is proving very effective way of updating constituents with my position on various topical issues. Do let me know what you think.
Best wishes
Tim Loughton MP
Member of Parliament for East Worthing & Shoreham

Advice Surgeries

Constituency Advice Surgeries

I hold regular constituency advice surgeries for my constituents to come by appointment and talk to me about issues and problems. They are usually held fortnightly on a Friday evening at one of four different locations around the constituency which rotate. If you think you need to see me confidentially face-to-face then you should contact the constituency office at 88a High Street, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex, BN43 5DB on 01273 757182 or email to book an appointment. 

Upcoming Constituency Advice Surgery dates:

Friday 6 May 2016 - Shoreham

Friday 20 May 2016 - Lancing

For an appointment, please call 01273 757 182.

Street Surgeries

To make it easier for constituents to meet me I also hold street surgeries with local councillors on most Saturday mornings, whatever the weather. You can find me at the following locations with my A-board and anyone is welcome to come along for an informal chat without appointment. If it is a more complicated and private matter involving a lot of paperwork then booking an appointment at a Friday evening surgery is probably better than seeing your documents blow down the road!

Upcoming Street Surgeries: 

I also hold more informal street stalls, where you can just turn up discuss whatever you would like with me.

Saturday 7 May 2016 - Southwick Square 
10am - 12pm

Saturday 14 May 2016 - Shoreham Farmers' Market
10am - 12pm

Saturday 21 May 2016 - Lancing Queen's Parade
10am - 12pm

Saturday 21 May 2016 - Worthing Town Centre (outisde Laura Ashley)
12:15pm - 2pm
HM Queen's 90th Birthday
I wished Her Majesty the Queen a very Happy Birthday. She has carried out an extraordinary lifetime of dedication and service that makes us all very proud.
In Westminster
Thank you to all those who emailed me regarding proposals in the Government White Paper about extending the academy conversion programme. On Wednesday 13 March, Parliament debated the issue of education reforms on a motion put down by the Labour Opposition. I attended part of the debate and had the opportunity to raise my concerns directly with the Secretary of State for Education, the Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP, about why the Government felt it necessary to convert all schools into academies on a compulsory and arbitrary timetable rather than let them migrate ‘organically’ across to that status if there was the local demand for it. Whilst I support the academy programme, which was of course initiated and strongly supported by the last Labour Government, I also believe in choice in education and engaging the local community in probably the most important activity to take place in our communities; the education of our children.
You can watch the full debate from yesterday here:, alternatively you can watch a podcast of my particular intervention here:, which is also on my Facebook page. The measures we discussed are part of White Paper draft proposals that are yet to be instituted into legislation and obviously have the capacity to be changed considerably before the final version, which given the strength of feeling amongst a number of Government MPs in particular I think that is possible.
Another area where I have concerns is the proposals that future academes will no longer routinely involve elected parent governors on the governing board and whilst it is important to include as many relevant skills sets as possible I do think there remains a strong role for clearly identified and motivated parent governors, directly accountable to the parent body.
Not surprisingly, the academy issue instigated many emails and I recognise the strength of feeling with or without being prompted by lobby groups with their own agendas such as 38 Degrees. Whilst I think the academy programme in my constituency has generally been a success, with all but two secondary schools now academies, it has not been without problems and in some cases controversy. What is disappointing from the correspondence is the lack of detail and concerns taken from a local perspective. Very few people identified themselves as teachers, governors or parents giving examples of why they think a compulsory conversion to academy status for their school would be detrimental to local education. Some people talked in terms of Government centralising the education system for example yet one feature of academies is that they do not blindly have to follow a nationally prescribed curriculum and can adapt it for their particular students. Some people referred to big corporations ‘muscling in to make a profit from schools’ yet academies are trust’s with charitable status and are not allowed to make a profit.
In order to strengthen my hand when scrutinising these proposals as they move from consultation to legislation I have asked constituents if they could write further with specific examples of why they think these academy measures would have a specific detrimental effect on a local school, how and why. The most powerful tool in Parliament for an MP is to be able to quote directly from the experiences of constituents rather than just echo objections in rough general terms, so I would be very grateful if constituents could give this some thought and respond in their own words.
EU Referendum: Reaction to Government propaganda and scaremongering

I have had a lot of angry constituents, who have received the Government’s £9.3 million propaganda leaflet, contact me and last week the HM Treasury produced a 200 page document, including lengthy algebraic equations, saying why there would be a plague of frogs and Martians would invade if we vote to come of the EU. I think they are wrong and I think this a misuse of public funds, the claims are government propaganda dressed up as facts.

We know that if we vote leave there is going to be a period of uncertainty, as with any ending of a relationship, but in the Treaty of Lisbon (Article 50) there is a two year period set out during which we renegotiate our relationship with the EU. We think that we can use that negotiation to secure a much better deal for the UK, looking to trade with the rest of the world, freed from EU regulations.

HM Treasury’s document claims that by 2030 there will be a cost of £4,300 per household. Trying to forecast what is going to happen 14 years out is impossible – HM Treasury struggles to forecast what is going to have 14 weeks out – so this is entirely speculation.

The report ignores the fact the ‪EU‬ is a shrinking trade bloc; the EU’s share of World GDP is just 60% of what it was in 1990 and we are continuing to contract in the EU, whilst the rest of the World moves ahead.

The report does not take any notice of what the risks and uncertainty of what would happen when the 18 Eurozone countries decide the legislation of the EU, which might not be in the interest of non-euro countries, like the UK.

The report does not take account of increased uncertainty of new Eastern European nations, who have much poorer economies, entering the EU, or the prospect of Turkey joining the EU. It says nothing about the uncertainty of the immigration crisis – 1.8 million people came into the EU last year, most of them from the Middle East and North Africa. The Treasury’s report actually forecasts that there will at least another 3 million people coming from the EU to the UK alone by 2030 at a time when the Government is trying to lower immigration to the 10,000s. We know in the South East of England the pressures immigration brings to our schools, hospitals, infrastructure and public services.

All that uncertainty does not feature in the Government’s propaganda. These are dodgy forecasts and dodgy numbers.

The Government’s ‪propaganda‬ also takes absolutely no account of the new trade deals we could negotiate with other countries outside the EU that we can do at the moment because we are part of the EU. A prime example is India; the EU has tried for the last nine years to negotiate a trade deal with India and it has just collapsed, conversely the tiny principality of Liechtenstein just negotiated a trade deal with India and took only six months.

India is an important trading partner and it could be a much bigger trading partner for us. Outside the EU we can get out there and negotiate trade deals with India, China, Russia, Brazil, Singapore and other growing economies of the world. That would produce more wealth, more jobs and greater stability and prosperity for the UK and our families. You will not find that in the Treasury’s document.

When you look at the trade deals that the EU has negotiated with other countries, the aggregate GDP, i.e. the value of the economies the EU has struck trade deals with, amounts to $7.3 trillion. 

Meanwhile, the aggregate GDP of the countries Chile alone has negotiated is $58 trillion – hugely more than what the EU has achieved.

So do not believe the scare stories. The opportunities for Britain to be free to trade with the rest of the world in our interest is enormous.

As well as all this, the Treasury’s document does not take account of the reduce costs of having no longer to comply with EU regulations on business. We have something like 3,000 regulations every year which impose extra burdens on our business. Some of them are useful and we will continue to sign up to them, but many of them are not and produce extra bureaucracy and cost to our companies, which are then passed onto the consumer. The 100 most burdensome business regulations costs UK businesses £33bn alone.

We would not have to comply with most of that.
Just think how much better off our business and out families could be.

So this figure of £4,300 is completely nonsense and should be treated with the contempt it deserves.

I have had a lot of complaints that the referendum campaign so far has been too much based on negative scare stories and ‘‪Project Fear‬’. I am afraid the two pretty pitiful documents from the Government and the Treasury just confirm that.

So let’s ‪vote leave‬ on the 23 June for a fresh start and brighter future in the rest of the world, where 6.9 billion people live.

(Health-warning: Other views on the EU are available, but I have nailed my colours to the Vote Leave mast.)

You can watch my podcast here:
Why the Government is right to take 3000 child refugees from unsafe countries over safe EU countries
Why the Government is right to take 3000 child refugees from unsafe countries over safe EU countries 
On Monday 25 April 2016, the House of Commons debate amendments to the Immigration Bill, in particular the so called Lord Dubs Amendment – agreed in the House of Lords – which proposed to allow 3,000 refugee children in Europe into the UK.

This is a very difficult subject and one which people have very passionate feelings.

Nobody can be unmoved by the scenes we see on a regular basis of the plight of Syrian refugees.

I supported the Government and voted against this particular amendment. I did so having taken a very close look at this issue, as you would expect as the former children’s minister. I visited the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan – the biggest refugee camp in the world (holding 86,000 Syrian refugees at the time) – and have seen first-hand how families can be horrifically affected by the war.

What worried me from listening to supporters of the amendment is that they seemed to think that the UK is not doing anything, and is the only country that can make a difference. I think it’s worth looking at what the UK government and the UK taxpayer have been doing in this arena, in which I think we have done a very impressive job. It is very controversial in many people’s eyes exactly how much of the UK taxpayer’s money goes into international development, however I think it is the right thing to do in this case.

We will be spending £2.3 billion on displaced Syrian refugees, supporting them in and around Syria, in the camps, giving them educational and medical aid – all practical measures designed to bring them some degree of comfort under difficult circumstances. I have spoken to many refugees, who all want to return to Syria when it is safe to do so.

Therefore the best thing to do is being able to maintain them in safer countries, close to Syria (and in some cases in Syria itself), which are Arabic speaking, where they can be looked after properly, both in refugee camps or in rented accommodation. This is why virtually all of the government’s spending has been concentrated in the area. The £2.3 billion we have spent is more than the whole of the EU countries' contributions combined. 

We hosted the London conference in February this year where countries came together to offer financial assistance. Together we pledged to create 1.1 million jobs in the area around Syria so there can be employment and sustainability for those families who are not able to return to their homes in Syria, and importantly, 1.7 million education places so that every Syrian child of school age is able to keep up with that education. Our taxpayers’ money, our programs, our support framework organisations are absolutely integral to that.

We have spent £46 million for refugees in Europe on lifesaving aid and food, on infant packs, on hygiene kits and bedding. We are seconding resources to European asylum support office operations in Italy and Greece, who have been at the forefront of supporting the children, aiming to speed up the process of identifying the children who will qualify for asylum status, and particularly those who can be reunited with their families. We have seconded some senior asylum experts in the French Interior Ministry to improve family reunions and we have so far taken 24 Syrian children to reunite them with their families who are already safe in the United Kingdom.

We have dealt with over 3,000 asylum applications from unaccompanied children from other parts of the world, and last week we made an agreement with the UNHCR for a new resettlement scheme to take 3,000 children-who are at risk in the Middle East area and in North Africa, on the recommendation of the UNHCR so that we will be extending the scheme to all children at risk. This is the largest resettlement effort to focus on children at risk from the Middle East and North African area.

The government has made a value judgement; we could take 3,000 child refugees from European countries, which are safe countries, or we could take 3,000 of the most vulnerable children from unsafe countries, in and around the Middle East, Syria and North Africa. These are the most vulnerable children, and hopefully we can give them help before they get trapped by people traffickers and begin dangerous journeys in overcrowded boats.

We have also offered 75 expert personnel to help with processing and the administration of migrants in Greek reception centres, who can act as interpreters and provide medical support. This is in addition to the three Border Force vessels which are assisting the Hellenic Coastguard in conducting search and rescue missions, and a Royal Navy vessel as part of the NATO mission in the Aegean. This will not only save lives, but also tackle people trafficking.

Ultimately, it’s not a question of whether we are taking refugees or not. We are taking refugees, but we are taking them from the places where they are most in need and from the source of danger.  

Moreover, there is the case that if you keep taking in refugees from Europe, there will be another lot of 3,000 refugees, and another lot after that- all being exploited by people traffickers. This does not help the problem at its source.

Finally, we have seen a lot of coverage of the Jungle at Calais and other impromptu refugee camps, which is a humanitarian disgrace. If the UK had a camp full of thousands of refugees at Dover, including many children, our social services would have done the right thing and taken these children into care. We would have found them homes, and given them a place of safety whilst their long term future is assessed. This should be happening in France and in other parts of the continent.

We have a large number of children in care in the country, and a shortage of approximately 10,000 foster care placements that we need to look after. We need to be working more with the asylum seekers already in our country, who have a longer term future as well with us.

These are the reasons I voted with government, to resist these well intentioned calls to take a further 3,000 refugee children from Europe. However, we have pledged to take a further 3,000 refugee children, but the most vulnerable, from the most unsafe areas and I think that is the right thing to do. I am sure in the future we will do more, but at the moment we are doing much more than our European counterparts and other countries. We are the largest bilateral contributor to humanitarian response for the crisis in Europe and the Balkans.

You can watch my podcast on this topic here:

Official Palmyra Arch Unveiling

It was great to be at the unveiling of the digitally reproduced Palmyra arch in Trafalgar Square as Boris Johnson sticks up 2 digits to DAESH! It was part of the World Heritage Week celebrations. 

Full story here:

Home Affairs Select Committee (HASC) Conference
The HASC (of which I am a member) hosted a high-level conference on countering extremism at Homerton College, Cambridge.

The conference brings together a diverse range of international experts addressing the Government's counter-extremism strategy, policing extremism, tackling radicalisation and developing the counter-narrative. 

During the course of the day, I chaired a panel on tackling radicalisation. Topics included early intervention and the Prevent Strategy 'brand'. You can read more about the Committee's investigation into countering extremism here:
WASPI Update
A cross-party group of MPs have met and we have agreed to form an All-Party Parliamentary Group for WASPI (Women Against State Pension Inequality).

Next week I will be meeting the new Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, the Rt Hon Stephen Crabb MP to see how we can take forward this campaign. This issue is not going away.

See the WASPI section on my website for more details:
Daesh: Genocide of Minorities

I recently voted in favour of the Government recognising genocide by Daesh against Yazidis, Christians and other ethnic and religious minorities. I also supported calls for the Government to make an immediate referral to the UN Security Council with a view to conferring jurisdiction upon the International Criminal Court so that perpetrators can be brought to justice.

The UK is playing a crucial role in the region in defeating Daesh and protecting innocent civilians fleeing the terrible civil war in Syria. RAF pilots have been carrying out sorties over key Daesh targets, forcing them into an ever smaller areas, whilst disrupting their supply lines. Meanwhile the UK taxpayers has provided over £2bn in aid to the region - the UK's largest ever aid project - which is being used to educate Syrian children, reunite families, provide clean water and many other important humanitarian aid projects. 

However, once the crisis has been resolved, history must remember the heinous crimes committed by Daesh. Governments around the world need to recognise - in order that future generations understand - the horrendous events that have taken place in Syria and Iraq in the last few years. 
TUC's 'Dying to Work' Campaign
On Monday 18th April, I attended a cross-party event in Parliament to support the TUC’s ‘Dying to Work’ campaign which is seeking to change the law to provide additional employment protection for terminally ill workers.

‘Dying to Work’ was set up following the case of Jacci Woodcook, a 58-year-old sales manager from Derbyshire, who was forced out of her job after being diagnosed with terminal breast cancer.

I think people battling a terminal illness deserve choice and shouldn't be forced to undergo stressful HR procedures with the risk of losing the positive stimulation and distraction of work.

Furthermore, it is shocking to think that if people with terminal illnesses are dismissed or forced out of their jobs that their loved ones will lose the death in service payments that the employee has planned for and earned through a life-time of hard work.

In addition to support from across the political spectrum, the campaign has also been endorsed by a number of trade unions and charities, including Breast Cancer Care and Second Hope.

The company, E.On were the first company to sign the ‘Dying to Work’ voluntary charter to provide support to their employees and the campaign in a ceremony in College Green.

I am proud to back the TUC’s ‘Dying to Work’ campaign and why I will be encouraging businesses in my constituency to sign up to the TUC’s voluntary charter to help ensure that the current law is changed.
In East Worthing and Shoreham
Pensioners' Fair 2016
I hosted my annual Pensioners’ Fair on Friday 22 April 2016 at the Guildbourne Centre in Worthing.
The fair was supported by a number of charities, businesses and civil societies, such as Age UK, Guildcare, Southern Water and Freedom Powerchairs, who set up stalls to provide information on what help is available to both pensioners and those approaching retirement age.

The stalls provided information and advice on a wide range of topics, including utility bills, medical issues and even on how to knit fun animal draft excluders.

There was a great turnout from the residents in Worthing, who appreciated the advice and support that was on offer.

There was a great buzz at the Fair and many of the organisations were appreciative of the opportunity to promote their services to the public and other groups there.

The pension and benefit adviser from Department for Work and Pensions was particularly busy with individual cases. There was also lots of good advice on offer from Adur’s healthy living department, including help for coeliacs.

I am very grateful for all the organisations who came along and it was clear to see that there is a lot of support out there for our older citizens in Worthing. This event was an important way of pointing that out and signalling where to go.

This is the fourth time we have run the Pensioners’ Fair and it has become a firm fixture in the local calendar.
Visit to Elmcroft Care Home
I was delighted to visit Elmcroft Care Home in Shoreham, which provides residential care for elderly people and for those living with dementia. I spent time talking to some of the residents and touring the home. 

Elmcroft is a good quality and popular local service, providing quality care to some of our older citizens. 

You can find out more about the service here:
Rayner Innovation Centre Opening

It was great to be able to attend the opening of Rayner's impressive Ridley Innovation Centre, a new £20million R&D, training and production facility in Worthing, West Sussex. This state of the art, dedicated intraocular lens (IOL) production facility has the capability of manufacturing 3 million intraocular lenses each year.

In addition, Rayner's new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) quality system enables them to trace every lens from source materials to a patient’s eye. Rayner's investment represents commitment to delivering competitive high quality technology from a well-trained UK manufacturing team in Worthing.

I was grateful for being given the chance to perform my own cataract replacement operation, although I think my dummy patient is now permanently blinded...

Ultimately around 200 people will be employed at the site once their move from their former in Hove is complete. This is another great vote of confidence in the business community in Worthing. 

You can read more about the new facility here:

Abbeyfield Worthing celebrates the Abbeyfield Diamond Jubilee by supporting a sponsored walk
The Abbeyfield Worthing Society supported Abbeyfield South Downs which undertook a 60-mile sponsored walk - by 60 volunteers - to mark the movement’s 60th anniversary. I have joined the Mayor and Sir Peter Bottomley in meeting the walkers when they arrived at the Abbeyfield Home in South Road, Worthing. 
Abbeyfield, which provides housing and support for older people, wants to highlight the plight of the lonely with the six-day event from 4 -9 April.
Participants started at Beamsley House in Eastbourne and walked to Abbeyfield Chichester, dropping in at the houses in Alfriston, Hove and Worthing on the way.
Loneliness is devastating – it’s not known how many lonely people are out there, but is clearly a huge problem.

People need company – a kind of ‘family’ around them. If through the Abbeyfield movement’s Diamond Jubilee walk we reach one person who is suffering from isolation, it will have been successful.
At the finishing line, the walkers were greeted by TV star Christopher Timothy – James Herriot in All Creatures Great and Small – whose late mother ‘Timmy’ lived at Abbeyfield South Downs in St Leonards.
To find out more about what we do visit our website at
News from Shoreham Society
A potential housing development near the southern entry road to Shoreham Airport is to be revealed. Residents near the site were invited to view the plans last weekend though I have yet to be shown the details. 

The land north of Brighton Road and west of New Salts Farm Road has previously been judged unsuitable for housing because of flood risks and other factors, but developers have bought it and appear to be optimistic they will be able to go ahead, initially with 49 homes and with further phases of housing development to follow. 

I cannot see how such a development can be sustainable and I am disappointed that this housing association is trying to push ahead with plans without the support of the local council and local people. 

Click here for more website news item on this.

The Shoreham Society:
Talk to Tim Public Meetings
I held a further two ‘Talk to Tim’ public meetings this month, a series of meetings I have organised to encourage constituents to come out and engage with him and local councillors on the important local, national and international issues.

The first of these took place at All Saints Church Hall in Findon Valley and the second in the Barn Theatre in Southwick. The main topic was the upcoming referendum on Britain's membership of the EU, which is likely to be a defining moment in this country's history. 

There was a good turnout and I hope I helped to clarify and clear up the queries and questions residents had about Britain's future in or out of the EU. 
Lizzie Williams (Paralympics) Worthing Pier Event - 20th May 2016
Lizzie Williams, a disabled T54 Wheelchair racer, is only one second off the official qualifying time with a borrowed chair for the 2016 Paralympics. With her own moulded chair this can be achieved. Let's have a local Worthing girl at the Paralympics this year.

Phil Ducket, who runs the Southern Pavilion, on Worthing Pier, has generously offered to host a dinner on 20 May to raise funds for Lizzie's campaign. 

Either come by yourself, a couple or gather a group and take a table. All welcome.

We really need your support to raise the money for this chair.

Part or full tables for companies most welcome
3 course sit down meal , dj etc

Fri 20th May 7.30pm -11.45pm
Worthing Pier Southern Pavilion

Contact Phil on 07860 709751 or email him at to book spaces.
RMT industrial action - Tuesday 26 and Wednesday 27 April

I have included below a letter from GTR and RMT, both explaining their take on the industrial action that took place on 26 and 27 April. 

GTR Explanation

Good Evening, 

Following my email to you earlier this week, I am writing to give you further information on the impact that the RMT industrial action, on Tuesday 26th and Wednesday 27th April 2016, will have on Southern services.

The strike is in relation to changes to the conductor role on Southern trains and is completely unnecessary as no staff will lose their jobs or see a reduction in salary as a result of the changes. We are therefore urging the RMT to return to the negotiating table. If, however, the strike does go ahead it will affect Southern passengers on a number of routes.

For your information, I attach a map which shows what routes will be affected by the strike action. These routes can also be found on our website at:  

Details of our compensation arrangements will also be available on our website as soon as possible.

We are finalising our communications plan to ensure customers are aware of the possible impact the strike may have on their journey. Our website is being updated, station specific information is being rolled out, station staff and customer relations teams are being briefed, and we are also redeploying head office staff to support customers at key locations. 

We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused to you and your constituents and hope that this email has answered any questions you may have.  However, if you would like any further information please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Yours sincerely,

Dyan Crowther 
Chief Operating Officer

RMT Letter

Dear Mr Timothy Loughton MP

GTR intent on getting rid of Guards/Conductors and introduce more Driver Only Operation

I am writing to thank everyone for the support to passengers during the recent campaign against ticket office closures.  

It was a great result but even after being rejected by thousands of passengers and both the passenger watchdogs responsible for the stations, Govia Thameslink Railways (GTR) are still persisting with discussions at the Department for Transport (DFT) and intend to bring back the idea for ticket office closures this summer.

If that was not enough they have now also issued threats and redundancy notices to cut staff essential for the safety of the train. Whilst it is true that some services are already Driver Only Operated (DOO), it is also true that they were introduced at a time before the huge expansion in passenger numbers. We do not believe that with today’s increased numbers, GTR can give any guarantee about the safety of passengers on already overcrowded services, with only a driver on the train.

It is one thing to talk about having some staff playing more of a ‘customer service’ role but without the requirement for a Guard/Conductor on board, any train can in the future depart with only the driver on it.  With constant and increasing overcrowding, disruption, sexual assaults and other incidents happening on trains it is the passenger’s who should be very concerned at the safety implications of a train with only one guaranteed member of staff.

Operationally trained Guards/Conductors as well as already doing commercial and customer care roles have the critical safety training to both assist a driver or to act when he /she is incapacitated. They are also trained to protect the train and its passengers when there is a ‘safety of the line’ or train issue. Who will do this if the role is replaced or not even any longer on the train?

There may be a promise of no compulsory redundancies but GTR want a cut of over a 100 jobs across Guards/Conductors and Revenue Protection Officers on Southern services. How are passengers really going to get a better, more customer focussed and safer service with less staff? 

The truth is that GTR are determined to cut costs, regardless of the price to passengers, in an attempt to make this franchise more profitable. These proposals are all about saving money and not about improving passenger experience at all.

The implications of the extension of DOO will be considerable and demands a full risk assessment and public debate. Not just operational safety but one which assesses all the accessibility issues covered by a complex array of legal, safety, contractual and regulatory obligations which are meant to protect all passengers but especially the elderly, the disabled and the vulnerable. The DfT claims accessibility and inclusion is no longer a fringe concern so they need to make it clear to GTR and ensure that staff that exist to protect the young, the vulnerable , the elderly and those with mobility issues persists into the future.

We should all agree that not every passenger wants a ticket from a machine and a railway without high levels of trained staff presence. It is GTR’s refusal to accept this that drives their cuts proposals and ignores the passenger and staff opinions, forcing our members into no other choice but to ballot for industrial action. RMT members have voted by 306 to 14 for strike action, with one spoilt vote. The turnout in the ballot was 81%.

We are always willing to talk to GTR but they have already made up their minds to force these changes through regardless.

We hope you will support us in condemning their plans and contact GTR to protest at the way they are going about them, whilst supporting our campaign to protect passengers and for a properly staffed railway.

Please e-mail Charles Horton at:

Thanking you

Yours sincerely

Mick Cash
RMT General Secretary

Visit to Worthing Fire Station
Visit to Worthing Fire Station

I was able to visit the newly refurbished Worthing Fire Station on 22 April with cabinet members for fire services, county councillor, David Barling, and was shown around by senior fire officer, Roy Barraclough.

The fire station has been upgraded with far better training facilities as well as better accommodation for the fire fighters physio and fitness facilities on site.

As the Shoreham Airshow tragedy showed we rely greatly on our emergency fire services and it is good to see the county council's investment in fire service. 
Being shown around by county councillor, David Barling, and senior fire officer, Roy Barraclough.
Western Sussex hospitals NHS trust rated outstanding
I am delighted to report the fantastic news that Western Sussex Hospitals Trust has been rated 'Outstanding' in the Care Quality Commission's (CQC) latest report. 

This is a tremendous achievement and one that anyone who knows our local hospitals will agree is richly deserved. It is all the more remarkable given that only 3 hospital trusts across England have been awarded this top accolade and I have sent congratulations and a huge thank you to all the staff on behalf of constituents.

Looking at the detail in the report it is particularly gratifying to see the very strong recognition from the inspectors of the strong team working and leadership with ‘respectful and warm relationships amongst staff’ and this has always been evident in my many visits to Worthing Hospital. It speaks for itself that so many staff and patients wrote in to the CQC on their own initiatives to praise the working environment and quality of care.

In contrast to some other hospital trusts it is particularly pleasing to see how WSHT has ‘an embedded culture of learning from incidents’ and has led the way in innovation and piloting new approaches. It is invidious to single out one area but the ground-breaking work on the ‘Emergency floor’ is a good example of how your new approaches have helped to produce a much more robust patient focussed service that has undoubtedly avoided the consequences of some of the pressures suffered by many other hospitals. Given the additional challenges provided by the age profile of the local population this is no mean achievement.

It is entirely fitting that the success story that is the Western Sussex Hospitals Trust that we have all known about locally for some time, can now be appreciated on a national level. Above all it is a huge vindication for all of the staff and members of the local community who came together not many years ago as part of the KWASH campaign to save Worthing and St Richard’s as major hospitals. Thank goodness we succeeded!

You can read the full report here:
Healthwatch West Sussex: Patient Transport Service Briefing
I have received a number of complaints about the new patients transport services, which was taken over by Coperforma at the beginning of April. I also held a meeting with the new management of the South East Coast Ambulance Services, which is currently under investigation after a damning report into changes to the way they operate their emergency response. Healthwatch, which represents the interest of local patients, is on the case. 

Healthwatch West Sussex has been proactively involved in ensuring consumer experience is considered throughout the procurement and implementation of the current non-emergency patient transport service within Sussex. Since the start of the new service this month, the Healthwatch team has been monitoring patient feedback and collecting evidence.

  • PTS Programme lead provided update last year that their engagement with Healthwatch West Sussex helped shape the service specification and had led to much greater understanding of the requirements for a patient transport service
  • Healthwatch held pre-implementation discussions about changes to the eligibility for renal patients and received evidence there had been communication with appropriate patients
  • Healthwatch quickly picked up issues in the new service and sought patient stories. With these concerns the team put a callout, via social media, for more patient feedback
  • Provided patient feedback to commissioners and covered apology and plea to public on 14th April
  • Healthwatch took evidence to regional Healthwatch network and recommended a learning event follows the serious incident to inform future commissioning/service implementation
  • Called for transparency around the serious incident findings.
  • Raised aware of the lack of a visible complaint policy/process with provider and commissioners.
  • Have had follow-up conversations with patients to ask for future feedback on service to see if improvements are being realised. Follow up meeting set with provider as a learning opportunity.
Procurement Engagement

Healthwatch representatives participated and witnessed the stakeholder engagement process that went with the procurement of the new service, following the incumbent provider (South East Coastal Ambulance Service) serving notice on the contract.

The feedback from this process had been very positive and it was clear from the commissioning update, given to the Commissioning Patient Reference Groups, that this engagement had informed and shaped the specification for a new service.

Implementation Period

Through our influencing network we became aware of a potential issue relating to renal patients. This was raised with Coastal CCG in March. We were initially told the eligibility criteria had not changed. We were subsequently told that renal patients would no longer be automatically eligible for patient transport and we challenged how this was being communicated to patients.

The following week we received evidence of the communication sent to renal patients, which included how people could access staff through renal clinics to raise concerns/questions.

New Service Feedback

Healthwatch quickly became aware of issues in the delivery of the new services (which started on the 1st April 2016) and began to seek detailed patient experiences. Healthwatch Social Media communications created some very lively twitter chatter and revealed a patient was still waiting in hospital for transport at 10pm.

Evidence was provided to coastal CCG. This led to us being supplied with a briefing, which has since been circulated widely, include to the commissioning patient reference groups.

Healthwatch West Sussex shared the apology from commissioners and the new service provider, detailed in the briefing and a separate letter to Healthwatch.

Healthwatch also tweeted the plea for people to only call the service if their transport needs were within the next 48 hours.
Knowing the commissioners had raised a serious incident relating to the first days of the new service, we took evidence to the regional Healthwatch network on 14th April.

Healthwatch West Sussex suggested a need to hold a learning event to support the system to understand what had happen – so this can be used to inform future service implementation. Healthwatch East Sussex agreed to take this recommendation to the lead CCG (as the CCG is in their area).

We shared with local CCGs the recommendation for a learning event, which has been well received. We are also calling for transparency around the serious incident findings.
At a meeting with Western Sussex Hospital Foundation Trust, on 18th April we heard the new provider responded very quickly. We were told both hospitals received dedicated support from the second day so that discharged patients could return home. The Trust also spoke positively about the improvement their patients are now experiencing.

Healthwatch have heard from a programme lead for northern CCGs an update on the situation at the joint Commissioning Patient Reference Groups meeting this week. This update started with an example from the 1st April (when the service started). The CCG had taken a call from a person who told them they had been called the evening before, e.g. 31st March (exiting provider period) at 8.30pm to say their transport for the following day had been cancelled and the person had been told to call the new service provider the following day.

We recently raised concern with the new provider, Coperforma, that there is not a visible complaints process and are clarifying with the CCGs if this is a contractual requirement. The new provider has agreed to forward their complaints process and the CCG is following this up.

Follow up

We are talking to patients who have been affected by the implementation issues and are confident people will update us if, and when, they use the patient transport service again.

Healthwatch West Sussex will be meeting with the CEO of Coperforma at the beginning of May to discuss patient experience and learning.
Greater say for local people as Sussex Community NHS Trust becomes a foundation trust
Over a million people living in and around West Sussex and Brighton & Hove will have a greater say over how their health services are run after a local community trust was awarded foundation trust status.
Sussex Community NHS Trust – which provides medical, nursing and therapeutic care to over 8,000 adults, children and families a day - has been authorised by Monitor as a foundation trust, effective from 1 April 2016.
After undergoing a rigorous assessment process, the trust will now be able to give patients, staff and the public the chance to become members or governors with a formal say over how the trust is run. This will be important for the trust, as over 90 per cent of the trust’s services are provided in the community - including rehabilitation services, community care, health promotion and family services. The trust will also have more freedom to shape services that match the needs of local people.
Today, Monitor also announced that Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust has been authorised as a foundation trust, effective from 1 April 2016.
These decisions mean there are now 155 NHS foundation trusts in total, over 60% of all trusts in England’s NHS.
Miranda Carter, Executive Director of Provider Appraisal at Monitor said:
“I’m delighted to announce the creation of these two new foundation trusts. It is a true testament to the hard work and dedication of every member of their staff.

“The opportunity that both trusts now have to offer their patients and communities a greater say in the future of their own healthcare is one that cannot be understated.

“As foundation trusts, these two organisations trusts now have the freedom to develop services more tailored to the needs of the populations they serve.”

To achieve foundation trust status, the trust had to prove it is well-led. The independent Care Quality Commission also used its comprehensive inspection approach to judge that the quality of care provided by the trust met the standard expected.
As a foundation trust it will be:
  • free from central government control and able to decide how to improve services for patients in West Sussex, Brighton & Hove and High Weald Lewes Havens;
  • able to retain any surpluses it generates to invest in new services, and borrow money to support these investments; and
  • accountable to its local community, with local people able to become members and governors.
East Worthing/Broadwater Parking Review
At long last, West Sussex County Council have confirmed that the East Worthing Residents' Parking Scheme is due to start on 20 June 2016.

This is a complex and extensive scheme comprising approximately 6km of lines and 250 signs in East Worthing and Broadwater. Local councillors and I have been involved in this for some time. 

The scheme is designed to prevent or manage all day on-street parking by non-residents, make it easier for residents, shoppers and visitors to park, enhance road safety, and remove obstructions to private accesses by eliminating indiscriminate parking. 

All businesses and residents directly affected by the scheme will be notified.

The size and complexity of the project means there is a lot of preparation involved e.g. it can take a considerable time to get the signs made and delivered by the manufacturer. 

Seven Residents’ Parking Schemes (RPSs), alternatively known as Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs), have been introduced across West Sussex to date. These are designed to:

  • manage on-street parking
  • improve safety and access
  • raise the commercial viability of town and city centres
  • protect the amenities of residents in the adjacent areas
  • encourage motorists to review their journeys and consider alternative modes of travel, such as public transport, cycling, walking and car sharing.
Findon Valley AGM

I recently attend the Findon Valley Residents' Association AGM along with councillors from Worthing Borough Council and West Sussex County Council. It was a good meeting with many questions from residents on a variety issues.

You can find out more about Findon Valley Residents' Association here:
Worthing College Ofsted: GOOD
I was delighted to hear that Worthing College was rated ‘Good’ by OFSTED having settled well into their now not so new Hill Barn Lane site.

This is a fantastic result for the college, the staff, students and governors and the whole of the Worthing community, who can be proud to have such a highly rated place of learning at our heart.

The college has been on an ambitious journey and all that hard work, dedication and belief has clearly been vindicated in this report and is richly deserved.

It is an exceptional achievement that the college has been rated ‘GOOD’ across every single criteria and clearly this achievement is based on a strong team effort and ethos which underlies the whole approach to learning.

It is particularly encouraging to see the very strong recognition of the leadership of management team and the attractiveness of the learning environment for students undoubtedly encouraging a substantial proportion of them to realise their ambitions to going on to higher education.

Worthing College is clearly playing an important art in the regeneration of Worthing as an important powerhouse of learning, business and innovation, and I warmly congratulate all involved in this excellent achievement.

You can read the full story here:
Latest update on the Adur Outdoor Activity Centre
Progress has been made over recent months to agree ways forward and progress marketing and there has been a lot of activity to date viz liquidator, groups onsite, site security and Adur DC.
A West Sussex County Council officer attended a recent meeting with Adur DC who have agreed and are willing to lead on the marketing for a new occupier/operator. WSCC position is that they have to hold the property and will be allowed to surrender their interest once an operator is procured.
The only recent delay has been in delivery of an energy performance certificate for the site which is a pre-requisite to any marketing and this was due to be delivered by the consultants recently appointed.
The agreement reached is that WSCC will surrender once a new operator is in place/contracted/approved and officers at Adur DC are the lead contacts who will commence formal marketing and invite bids for consideration.

The county council has yet to see the marketing plan (re timescales to bid dates etc) which suggests there is still some way to go but hopefully those local parties expressing interest will see activity toward the end of the month.

I will keep pressing local councils to get this well loved local facility back up and running again as soon as possible. 
Changes to Police Community Support Officers

As part of their commitment to keeping residents updated on the progress of the Local Policing Model, please see the attached letter from ACC Robin Smith regarding Police Community Support Officers:

Dear partners and stakeholders,

As you are aware the Sussex Police Local Policing Programme is planning the future of many aspects of local policing. This communication is to give you an update on the progress we are making around the employment and deployment of PCSOs.

As part of our commitment to keep you updated, I would like to inform you that Sussex Police is opening recruitment for a brand new Police and Community Support Officer (PCSO) role- one that better reflects the changing nature of crime and the needs of communities.

Equipped with additional new skills and powers, they will be deployed more flexibly across the whole of Sussex to where they are needed most, tackling the issues that affect the most vulnerable.

The Prevention and Partnerships team within the Local Policing Programme has been working alongside current PCSOs, supervisors, senior officers and partners in developing the detailed design of a new PCSO role.

It gives us a real opportunity to make the PCSO role more effective, equipping them with the skills they require to resolve local problems and prevent crime and disorder, with partners where possible. PCSOs will have a vital role within teams that support local neighbourhoods, actively prioritising vulnerable people or groups and addressing community concerns.

The new role ensures that PCSOs will:
  • be deployed in teams more flexibly, where they are most needed, to help solve local problems with communities;
  • have an increased focus on actually preventing crime, rather than on visible reassurance alone;
  • be better equipped to resolve problems, with communities or alongside partners, as well as prevent crime and disorder;
  • have new powers to enter licensed premises and enforce the law, for example to prevent the selling of alcohol to those under age and to tackle anti-social behaviour caused by street drinkers and people who are drunk;
  • be equipped with new technology, such as with body worn video cameras, and to have enhanced staff safety training to support their more pro-active role;
  • provide a modern ‘smarter’ approach to the specific needs of communities and neighbourhoods and not a ‘one-size fits all’ approach.
The community can be assured that police will be there when needed and will very much retain a presence in their areas.

Our prevention, response and investigation teams will all be active within neighbourhoods across Sussex and contact will be easier with a team accessible to talk through local issues, rather than an individually named PCSO who could be on leave or rest days resulting in a delay. Each ward will have a named team to contact from the implementation date. We have adapted to how people prefer to contact us and will be expanding opportunities for them to report crime and find out information online.

We are now designing how the officers in prevention teams will work with the PCSOs in the new model. This includes deployment in the most vulnerable communities. Demand on frontline units, including prevention teams, is already being reduced following the implementation of the Resolution Centre, where the public get timely advice and resolution at the earliest opportunity.

Current PCSOs have been given the opportunity to apply for the new role on a priority basis. The new role requires different skills and training as well as contractual changes leading to the old PCSO role being phased out. Current PCSO’s will already have some of the skills required and we are delighted that some have taken the opportunity to apply. We will also be prioritising other colleagues in Sussex Police who may also wish to move into the new PCSO role.

The Force is now opening recruitment for the new PCSO role on 4 April 2016. External candidates are likely to start their training in September 2016 and be operational from December 2016.

Should you have any questions, please contact the Local Policing Programme via email

ACC Robin Smith
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