I am saddened to report that East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) Conservative Ward Councillor Felicity Temple, who is the Tory Group Secretary, has failed to move forward the need for an ERYC Mental Health Champion since October 2017.
The Mental Health Challenge, which was launched in September 2013, is an initiative led jointly by the Centre for Mental Health, the Mental Health Foundation, the Mental Health Providers Forum, Mind, Rethink Mental Illness, the Royal College of Psychiatrists and Young Minds.
The aim of the challenge is to encourage and support local leadership for mental health and well-being through local authority elected members. The challenge asks councils to appoint a ‘member champion’ for mental health. In return, the national charities offer champions and their councils advice, information and a network of peers in similar roles.
115 Councils, including both Hull and York already have member champions but ERYC do not.
A member of the ERYC Disability Advisor Group (DAG) contacted Councillor Temple in October 2017 requesting her to sign up to the challenge. Councillor Temple informed the DAG member that the request had been shared with Conservative Portfolio Holders Councillor Symon Fraser, Councillor Jane Evison and Councillor Jonathan Owen.
Since then, despite further communication being sent to the ERYC Conservative Group, neither Councillor Temple, Fraser, Evison or Owen have responded to the DAG member. All four receive extra payment from ERYC tax payers for their respective roles.
Ironically, it is rumoured that both Councillor Owen and Councillor Fraser are potential candidates to become the next ERYC Leader. This failure clearly demonstrates neither are fit to hold such a position.
I happily put myself forward as the ERYC member champion for mental health.
I request Councillor Shaun Horton, who is the Portfolio Holder for Disability, makes a full statement, with an apology, to the DAG members at their next meeting on Thursday 14 June. This must include why senior ERYC Councillors have failed and confirm when and how ERYC will correct these failures.