Kent County Council

Boundary changes have occurred here. 2013 seats are an estimate of what the result would have been then if the new boundaries had been in place.

Election 2017 Results

CON HOLD
Party Seats 2013 Seats 2017 Change

PartyConservative

Seats 201343 Seats 201767 Change+24

PartyLiberal Democrat

Seats 20137 Seats 20177 Change-

PartyLabour

Seats 201311 Seats 20175 Change−6

PartyGreen

Seats 20131 Seats 20171 Change-

PartyResidents' Association

Seats 20131 Seats 20171 Change-

PartyUKIP

Seats 201318 Seats 2017- Change−18
Change compared with

Latest Updates

Stroke centres closure approved

Caitlin Webb

Local Democracy Reporter

Patients will be “desperately let down” by a transformation of the way stroke sufferers are treated in Kent, according to a county councillor, after his colleagues gave the go ahead for the NHS to close three hospital units.

Stroke centres in Tunbridge Wells, Margate and Medway, will be closed following the decision by members of the Kent County Council health overview and scrutiny committee.

Councillors narrowly passed a motion to build three specialist hyper-acute stroke units in Maidstone Hospital, Darent Valley Hospital, in Dartford, and William Harvey Hospital, in Ashford, to treat patients across the county.

However the committee outlined concerns that closing the stroke units in Tunbridge Wells, Margate and Medway could impact travel times, staffing levels over the long-term and increase inequalities.

Six councillors voted against the plans to accept the reconfiguration, including former Swale Borough Council leader Andrew Bowles.

He said: “There has been a continual drift towards downgrading services to the east end of the county.

“I cannot be convinced of this even though I would like to do what is right for the majority of my residents.”

Council launches knife crime probe

A man holding a knife behind his back
BBC

An investigation into the causes of knife crime has been launched in Kent to find the best ways to tackle the problem.

Relevant agencies are being invited to provide evidence and possible solutions to Kent County Council (KCC).

Police, council employees, youth workers and schools are on the list of suggested witnesses who could be called to give evidence from June.

KCC Chairman Paul Barrington-King said: “This is a contagion growing in Kent. We feel the full brunt of this.

“At the end of this journey I want all of us, regardless of political creed, to walk away from this and saying it’s a job well done.”

Kent council makes £1m from road closures

Caitlin Webb

Local Democracy Reporter

Road closed sign
Getty Images

Kent County Council makes £1m per year from utility companies closing roads.

Companies are charged a daily rate of up to £2,000 for disrupting traffic on busy roads or during rush-hour.

The scheme is intended to improve planning, encourage companies to arrange repairs outside of peak periods, and incentivise work being completed as quickly as possible.

If businesses only plan to close a lane, this fee is reduced to between £300 and £800.

Southern Water paid to close Horn Street in Folkestone for four months to upgrade the local sewer.

Councillor Martin Whybrow said: "It was looking to be a very long closure for a pretty fundamental road, it was done much quicker than intended and I think it was very much welcomed by residents."

Man charged to appeal housing decision

A wheelchair user was charged £75 by Kent County Council to appeal a decision about joining its housing register, a watchdog has found.

The Local Government Social Care Ombudsman said the man told the council his current home was unsuitable for his needs and wanted to join the register to bid for an accessible property.

The council rejected his argument that he needed an extra bedroom on medical grounds and then told him there would be a £75 charge for a review of the decision.

The ombudsman, Michael King, said: “If the council routinely asks people to pay a fee on any decision where there has been an assessment by an independent medical adviser, people are potentially losing their right to ask for a review at no cost.

"Many people in the area may have been discouraged from asking for a review by the outlay."

The ombudsman found the man had not missed out on bidding for any suitable properties and recommended the council apologise to the man and pay him £250 for the distress caused.

New approach to tackle gang exploitation

Caitlin Webb

Local Democracy Reporter

Kent County Council is set to team up with the NHS and police in a bid to safeguard children from being exploited by gangs.

It comes after a review found the current process does not “work effectively” and should be abolished.

Going forward health professionals and the force will attend council meetings which discuss the safety of vulnerable children.

KCC has also launched a new programme for social care called Change for Kent Children which will target “at risk” young people.

Knife crime stock
Getty Images

It is hoped this will reduce county lines gangs and knife crime.

Councillor Michael Northey said: "Where family relationships have broken down, gang membership gives young people a sense of belonging.

“Of course they are being exploited."

Kent failing children with special educational needs

Caitlin Webb

Local Democracy Reporter

Teacher and pupil (generic)
BBC

Top council officials have apologised following a “distressing” Ofsted report for children with special educational needs.

Kent County Council cabinet member Roger Gough, corporate director Matt Dunkley and Glenn Douglass from Kent clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) shared their regrets about the “poor” services provided for the vulnerable children.

Inspectors from Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found “too many" young people do not get the support they need.

Inspectors wrote that parents and guardians “are rightly upset, angry and concerned".

Mr Gough said: “This is very distressing.

“That’s a dangerous reality and this is something we come across all the time."

The report detailed how some schools in the county are not “willing” to accommodate young people who need extra help.

Mr Dunkley said mainstream schools must provide services for these children, as not all pupils require specialist schools.

Every child with a special education needs is evaluated for an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP), which outlines the support need.

Inspectors also found 61% of parents and carers in Kent do not receive their plans within the legal 20-week time frame.

Committee to report on knife crime

Caitlin Webb

Local Democracy Reporter

A new committee on knife crime set up by Kent County Council is expected to deliver its findings in the autumn.

The committee will look into the root causes of the "epidemic" in the county to determine what further actions are needed to save lives.

Members of the select committee aim to finish the first half of their research before the summer.

A full report is expected to be delivered in October.

Knife
Getty Images

More action to tackle knife crime

Caitlin Webb

Local Democracy Reporter

Knife crime stock image
Getty Images

A committee to tackle the rise in knife crime is being set up following several recent attacks.

Kent councillors will look at what more can be done by public bodies after three stabbings were reported over the weekend.

Three men were attacked during separate incidents in Herne Bay, Tonbridge and Ramsgate.

Kent has seen the fastest rise in knife crime in the country, according to the Office for National Statistics in February.

Offences are up 152% since 2011, from 346 to 873.

Kent Police recently launched Operation Sceptre which led to 250 weapons being seized and more than 95 arrests.

Now council leader Paul Carter plans to set up a select committee.

Its aim would be to consider and implement actions across all public agencies in order to "keep young people safe" and "see a reduction in the horrific increase in knife crime".

Leader of the opposition, Rob Bird, supported the proposal but urged any committee to “get answers quickly”.