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SCRUTINEER-OUTSIDERS VIEW

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Felicity Collier ...
Felicity Collier

The head of the British Association for Adoption & Fostering lives in South Northants Council

What is your contact with the council?

I contact Jenny Tansley, chair of Wicken Parish Council, who has done a tremendous job for many years.

What is the best thing the council has done?

The quality of our summer play schemes. Play schemes are a lifesaver for less well-off families in rural communities. We have a local play bus that does the rounds of the villages and this is a brilliant service.

And the worst thing it has done

It has been difficult to come to terms with the policy to remove parts of the village, including a field behind our house, from the conservation area. I know the importance of building more homes, but there must be some intrinsic value in having beautiful parts of the country offered some protection. Our parish council opposed these plans with little success.

Have you considered standing for a local council and why?

I am too busy, but I might be interested in future. My husband is a parish councillor and the amount of planning applications which fall on our doormat demonstrates the commitment.

If you were leader of the council what would you do first?

There is a great deal of emphasis on recruiting and retaining teachers and nurses - and very little attention to the greater problems of recruiting social workers. They get a poor press and are at the bottom of the pile for public recognition yet face tremendous challenges in improving the lives of thousands of people in the face of insufficient resources and people's right to personal privacy. I would run a local campaign to highlight the achievements of Northamptonshire's social workers, achieve bursary funding to support them through training and convince young people this is the profession for them. I would want to recruit more foster carers and adopters.

Do you vote in council elections?

Yes, I always vote - it is an absolute responsibility for everybody who is concerned for their community.

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