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Sudbury: Council restructure as ex-clerk Sue Brotherwood lands new role

11:43 09 May 2014

Sue Brotherwood is pictured at Sudbury Town Hall.

Sue Brotherwood is pictured at Sudbury Town Hall.

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A thorough review is being carried out into the structure of Sudbury town council and its committees following the dismissal of the town clerk earlier this year.

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At a meeting this week, the council’s policy and resources committee discussed some of the ideas that have come out of an internal investigation.

The committee’s chairman, Jack Owen, said circumstances surrounding the departure of long-serving clerk Sue Brotherwood had raised issues about the structure of the council and how it could be improved.

According to Mr Owen, a group has been formed to look at the council’s long-term future, and its findings will be reported back over the coming months.

He said: “At the time when Mrs Brotherwood was suspended, there were things going on that didn’t appear to come before committee and it is vital going forward that we get a robust system in place where councillors have an opportunity to check things out.

“The task group will be looking at the whole committee structure with a view to getting a new system in place where all of the various committees have clear terms of reference and fully understand where responsibility for each starts and finishes.

“In this way, we will be sure that they are fit for purpose and this in turn will make them more effective.”

Mr Owen said the town clerk would be replaced but that a financial officer could also be appointed to help share the heavy workload.

He added: “We are waiting to look at some proposals that are being put together by the task group but none of these things will happen quickly.”

Meanwhile Mrs Brotherwood has been appointed as chairwoman of Sudbury WATCH! (Working and Acting Together for Community Health) after a unanimous vote of those attending at a recent committee meeting.

Outgoing chairman, Peter Clifford, said she had been involved in Sudbury’s health scene for many years and could now use her “considerable skills and experience” for the benefit of the local community.

Speaking of her new appointment, Mrs Brotherwood, said: “I am honoured to be taking over the role at WATCH, especially at time when so much has been achieved, and I am looking forward to the opening of the new Sudbury Community Health Centre (in September). As Mr Clifford has said, there is still much work to do.

“I understand for example that West Suffolk Hospital is now finding its operations compromised because there is a clear lack of NHS community beds, the 12 NHS beds retained 
at Hazel Court in Sudbury now being inadequate in number, and similar shortfalls elsewhere in West 
Suffolk.

“This lack of beds in the community means that the discharge of patients from the acute hospital is delayed unnecessarily because there is nowhere for them to recuperate before going home.

“There are also insufficient places for vulnerable patients at home to get a few days respite so that their admission to the acute hospital can be prevented in the first place.

“Sadly, WATCH predicted this years ago when the closure of the community beds at Walnuttree (Hospital) was first announced and we hope the West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will now urgently address this.”

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