Owen Temple & Margaret Nealis

Liberal Democrat campaigners for Consett North Learn more

In November 2015, I sought to get sight of the Corporate Management Team report which ultimately led to the dismissal of 2,700 teaching assistants and the offer to re-engage them on dramatically worse terms. I was refused permission on two grounds. The grounds for refusal were spelt out carefully and, whilst I did not like them, I […]

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No Comment!

by Owen Temple on 17 June, 2016

Durham County Council won a Municipal Journal Achievement Award last night for Excellence in Governance and Scrutiny.  This prestigious national award was in recognition of our innovative approach to engaging people, through overview and scrutiny, our ‘slow to 20’ campaign, and through the area action partnerships and the recent consultation and poll on devolution. From […]

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Litter pick with insight

by Owen Temple on 17 June, 2016

Yesterday I had a very pleasant morning litter-picking with Groundwork, fourteen year five pupils from St Patrick’s junior school, fellow councillor, neighbourhood wardens and a teaching assistant. The children were terrific. I asked one if he was a volunteer or a pressed man. He grinned and insisted he was a volunteer, supported by the statement, […]

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Black Cloud overshadows sunny day

by Owen Temple on 25 May, 2016

The county council’s AGM is usually a sunny affair with tributes paid to the outgoing chair and a fulsome welcome to the new chair. Today’s was no exception to start with as everyone acknowledged the hard work put in by Cllr Jan Blakey and her husband, Alan, and wished the best to the incoming chair, […]

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by Owen Temple on 24 May, 2016

I recently received a consulation on behalf of Vodafone who are looking to site telecommunication equipment at Christchurch. Clearly this is no small matter as Christchurch is a listed building and a jewel in the crown of Consett. I was quite taken by the ingenuity of the proposal, however, as they seem to have made […]

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Fulfilling lives

by Owen Temple on 23 May, 2016

A chance encounter today introduced me not only to a new neighbour, but also to a medical condition I have never come across called Lowes syndrome and to a free event taking place in Durham next week called Fulfilling Lives. Sadly I won’t be able to get to it, but am looking forward to the […]

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Want to help the IN campaign?

by Owen Temple on 19 May, 2016

I appreciate that readers of this blog, like the rest of Britain, will be divided when it comes to the referendum vote. If you’re one of those who like me want to stay IN the EU and are happy to put out some Lib Dem #INtogether leaflets locally, please get in touch.

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Yesterday’s speech at Council

by Owen Temple on 17 May, 2016

Six months ago Liberal Democrats called for this council to pause the process of slashing teaching assistants’ take home pay. We called for a thorough review of their position compared to others across the region. We wanted to examine the approaches taken by other councils and what room we had for manoeuvre. You, the party […]

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The headline story is that 57 Labour councillors lined up today to approve the dismissal of 2,700 teaching assistants. They will then be offered their jobs back – minus 10% or more of their pay. There is no surprise in that. It was pre-determined when the Labour Party refused permission to discuss the question in […]

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Smelling a rat – or refusing to be deceived

by Owen Temple on 12 May, 2016

I was suspicious when I read the following: Representations were received that Teaching Assistant grades and pay in Durham were lower than other Councils in our region. Our research has demonstrated there is a range of pay levels associated with Teaching Assistants on a regional basis and the Council grades are comparable with several of […]

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