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About David : The Public Life

David has had a number of roles in public life. His first role was in 1987 as a Councillor on Wootton Bridge Parish Council, where he had the strange role of public safety officer. The role was strange because to main focus of the public safety course at Newport's Riverside Centre was what to do in the event of a nuclear attack. When David asked what would be the effect on Wootton of a nuclear attack on the Portsmouth's major naval base. The reply was nothing for 30 seconds and then Wootton would disappear. Fortunately the course did also cover other emergency situations where the Parish Council could be of assistance.

David's next role after living in Germany for nearly 6 years and his twin boys had reached school age, was as School Governor at the Boy's infant school. David served on the governing body for 8 years and finished up as Chair of the Personnel & Finance committee. When the boys started Secondary School, David joined the governing body of the secondary school, which he has now been on for 7 years. In both instances David has been at the schools longer than his boys were pupils. The main achievements at the schools in these years have been:-

  • Record results achieved by the pupils, this was assisted by making sure the teachers had the facilities they need to succeed. This required some difficult decisions at times to balance the budget and achieve the schools goals.
  • The addition of a sixth form to the secondary school, which is proving great for those pupils who find a large sixth form college too much.
  • Keeping the budget balanced when a temporary drop in pupil numbers, due a drop in the birth rate, caused the school to have some financial problems.

Another public role in has been as a Eastleigh Borough Councillor. David was elected in 2002 and has been re-elected three times since. In addition, in 2011, David was elected to West End Parish Council. David is standing down from both council roles in May 2015, because he is standing in the general election back in his home county of the Isle of Wight. In this long period of continuous Councillor service David has been:-

  • Member of the Environment and Transport Scrutiny Panel for a number of years including for 2 years panel chairman.
  • A member of Hedge End, West End and Botley Local Area Committee, for all his time as a councillor, including 3 years as vice-chair. This committee takes all the planning decisions and decides on the capital spend projects in the local area, including various community grant schemes. As well as co-ordinating the council's work in the local area.
  • Member of the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire Scrutiny Panel for the past 7 years, including the last 4 as chair. This multi-council partnership has included the Isle of Wight for the past 18 months.
  • Committee member of the Social Policy Scrutiny Panel, Scrutiny Panel Overview Committee, and Policy and Performance Scrutiny Panel
  • Vice-Chairman of West End Parish Council for 1-year followed by 2-years as Chairman.
  • Plus 2-years as Chairman of the Parish Council's policy and resources committee.

During David period on these committees there have been a number of successful achievements both big and small among these include:-

  • Keeping council tax increases below inflation for the last 11 years, whilst maintaining public service despite a sustained reduction in central government funding for at least the last 8 years.
  • When David was Chair of the Environment and Transport Scrutiny Panel, the panel investigated the outsourced grounds maintenance contract. It found that combining the in-house direct service team with the outsourced ground service operation and then keeping the new service team in-house would save money, give greater control over service quality and provide a consist level of work throughout the year. So that was what the council did.
  • Getting the many roundabouts and traffic island in David's ward properly swept on a regular basis.
  • Having a programme of updating/renewing/replacing all the street nameplates in the local area, including getting some added to estates to correctly identify house numbers in a very confusing numbering schemes thought up from a period from the 1950's to the 1990's.
  • Getting bus shelters repaired, replaced and added, including ones with solar powered lighting in David's ward.
  • Getting traffic island's and pedestrian crossing installed on the A27 to assist villagers to get to bus stops and shops.
  • The council stepping in during the financial crisis to save the development of the county cricket ground and the associated 4-star Hilton Hotel development, which has resulted in a good deal for Hampshire Cricket and the Council. This is something which David is particularly pleased with as it is in his ward.
  • Both Eastleigh Borough and West End Parish Council have managed to improve wage structures so that a living wage is paid to all council employees. This has been done despite the difficult economic situation at the time. At the Parish Council David had a particularly strong hand in the improvements as vice-chair and chair of the council, plus chair of the policy and resources committee. The key was tto increase full-time equivalent incomes by a fixed cash sum and not an annual percentage rise. This had the effect of giving employees on the lowest income the greatest percentage rise.
  • Getting the library at West End extended and improved after the County Council had initially said they wished to reduce opening times.
  • Getting play areas in the ward renewed and new ones added.
  • Keeping the Borough Council's Capital Investment Plan (CIP) filled up with ideas, so that when developers came along wishing to build, there was always lots of good reasons they should give additional money to the council to offset the impact the development.
  • The list could go on, but the most pleasing achievements were ones that successfully helped individuals with a problem.

David has also stood for other public service roles. The process of just standing gave David an incite into these areas and in nature of the role. These roles were:-

  • Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Candidate in 2012
  • Southampton Itchen Parliamentary Candidate in 2005 and 2010
  • Medina Borough Council Candidate - Wootton & Fairlee Ward in 1987

In 2011 David also became a board member of Southampton Advice & Representation Centre (SARC), which a registered charity that specialise in welfare benefits and employment law advice. SARC provide a free, impartial and confidential advice service covering matters from simple form filling, to representation at Social Security Tribunals, Employment Tribunals, and beyond. This has given David I good insight into the problems in the current welfare system and in particular the problems around the system of benefit sanctions.

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