Robert's Weekly Swindon Advertiser Article - 9 August 2017

Last week, I went to the Court of Appeal and argued that a 15-year sentence given to Breast Surgeon Ian Paterson, who intentionally wounded his patients, was not sufficient to reflect the seriousness and totality of his offending.

Paterson was found guilty in April at Nottingham Crown Court of 17 counts of wounding with intent. Jurors also convicted him of three further wounding charges. His treatment of patients was brutal and sustained and he left his victims feeling violated and vulnerable, with many experiencing long term psychological effects and a loss of trust in others, particularly some in the medical profession.

I argued that Paterson's offending was so serious and so exceptional that a jail term significantly higher than 15 years was required and I was glad that Appeal Court Judges made the decision to increase Paterson’s sentence to 20 years. Having met some of the victims of his crimes, I hope that this sentence will help to achieve a greater degree of closure for them.

Last week, I met the Tenant Scrutiny Panel, an independent organisation set up in 2011 to scrutinise housing decisions taken by Swindon Borough Council. I believe it is vital that tenants’ voices are heard and there is good communication between the council and residents.

Over the past six years, the Tenant Scrutiny Panel has investigated grievances and found in favour of both the tenant and the local authority depending on circumstances. This local organisation also regularly assesses services available to residents and reports back to the council with recommendations for improvements. Reoccurring themes that have been raised include parking issues, dog fouling and repairs to properties.

It is vital that voice of tenants continues to be heard and I have offered to establish an ongoing channel of communication with the panel in order to assist them with their role. You can find out more about the group by visiting https://www.voiceyourviews.co.uk/tenantscrutiny

I was very pleased that the Government awarded Swindon Borough Council more than a quarter of a million pounds to improve the local environment for residents in Broadgreen.

The Council has been awarded £278,700 from the Government’s Controlling Migration Fund (CMF), which aims to help ease the pressures on local services such as housing, schooling and health services resulting from recent migration.

I am pleased that the funding will be used to help tackle a variety of issues, including the safety of Houses of Multiple Occupancy in Central Swindon, particularly around housing and fire inspections following the tragic fire in Manchester Road last November. More work can be done to deal with the scourge of fly tipping that affects the quality of life of many local residents.

On September 3rd, I will be running the Swindon Half Marathon to raise money for Dressability. This local charity was formed in 1998 and is one of only two independent clothing services in the UK which caters specifically for the needs of disabled people. Dressability works with other local voluntary organisations, disability support groups, social workers and healthcare professionals to provide clothing for people with physical disabilities, learning disabilities and the elderly. To pledge your support please visit https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/robertbucklandqcmp1

Finally, Brighter Futures, The Great Western Hospital’s charity is currently fundraising for the refurbishment of the parent waiting room and refurbishment of the children’s playroom at the hospital. You can find a full list of items needed, as well as details on how to donate to the Children’s Ward by visiting https://www.brighterfuturesgwh.nhs.uk/appeals/current-appeals/childrens-ward/