Monday, 10 September 2012

Statement in response to TES (Times Educational Supplement) story about Ofqual telling exam board to alter GCSE English grade boundaries:

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member for children’s services and Deputy Leader of Leeds City Council is calling for an immediate re-grade of the June GCSE English results as well as for a public inquiry.

Cllr Blake said:
"I am appalled by these shocking revelations. Here in Leeds we have always been convinced that this year a significant number of young people had been the victims of a great injustice - and this news would appear to show that we were right.

“As a matter of urgency Ofqual must be instructed to ensure the re-grading of all of June's GCSE English results in line with grade boundaries used in January. Then they and everyone involved in this fiasco must be subject to a full independent inquiry.”

Notes to editors:
Leeds City Council was one of the first organisations to weigh into the GCSE English grading row to campaign for fair treatment for all students who sat the exam. They have been leading a consortium involving other local authorities and a number of schools in calling for a judicial review on the issue.

For media enquiries please contact:
Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office, 0113- 224 3335


Time to talk about proposals for new mental health day services in Leeds

Users of mental health day centres run by the council in Leeds are being invited to a series of consultation events to give their views about proposals for a new service model.

The council’s executive board agreed to the transformation of mental health day services in February 2011 in order to make sure that people’s needs were being met effectively. It was proposed that there would be a move away from traditional building based services to more individualised support to help people get involved in social activities, access training or education, or get back to work.

At the time the proposals caused some anxiety to service users, and the council made the decision to take some extra time to carry out further detailed discussions with the people affected by the proposals.

The Mental Health Advisory Board was set up to work on new service proposals incorporating suggestions made by service users and staff.

Individual reviews with all service users then took place to find out what they valued most about the current service and how they would like it to look in the future, and these are reflected in the proposals to be presented at a series of events starting this week.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive board member for adult social care services in Leeds said:
“I hope that service users and staff feel reassured by the extra time that we have taken to really listen to the concerns that they raised when we started this process.

"The consultation presentations will give service users information about the new proposals plus the opportunity for them to comment, ask more questions and put forward ideas.

"I want to reassure people that there will be no change to the service they receive during the consultation period, which will determine how we move forward in a positive way on this very important issue."

Norman Forsyth, service user and co-chair of The Mental Health Advisory Board is keen to see greater service user involvement in decision making and is keen for mental health day services in Leeds to be innovative, forward thinking and vibrant; something people want to be part of. He said:
"After a shaky start, trust and confidence has grown between all parties. I believe that day services have a continuing role to play, but we need to be willing to look at alternatives for the future. It’s all about trust.”

The consultation runs from 11 September through to December 2012. For more information please visit the council website

Additional info
The Mental Health Advisory Board is made up of service user representatives, elected members, adult social care officers, health colleagues and people from the voluntary sector.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office
(0113) 395 1578 Email:

Media opportunity: Heaps of rubbish show impact of city centre litter

The extent of littering will be made clear this week when rubbish collected from city centre streets will be piled on Briggate.

Workers, shoppers and visitors will be able to see how much rubbish they place in bins and how much litter is dropped in the city centre in a 24 hour period.

Cleaning crews collect piles of rubbish like these every day, seven days a week from the city centre.

Members of the media are invited to photograph street cleaning and enforcement staff who will be on hand to explain to passers by what the two piles of rubbish are, how they can help reduce littering and improve their city centre environment.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for the environment will be available for interview.

When: Tuesday 11 September, 1 to 1.30pm
Where: Briggate (junction with Commercial Street/Kirkgate)

Please contact the press office on 0113 395 1577 if you’d like to attend and to arrange interviews.

For media enquiries please contact:
Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1577