Developing the local economy for the benefit of all
No impact expected for LGSS following Northamptonshire County Council's financial control notice
On Friday 2 February 2018, Northamptonshire County Council issued a Section 114 notice imposing immediate spending controls due to severe financial challenge facing the authority, with a significant risk that it will not be able to deliver a balanced budget by the end of the year.
This means no new spending is permitted at the council, with the exception of statutory services for safeguarding vulnerable people. The notice does not affect staff pay and the council will continue to meet its statutory functions.
While we are concerned about the affect on a neighbouring authority, this news has a only a minor effect on Cambridgeshire County Council, which is a co-owner of LGSS, with Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes Councils, providing our HR, financial, procurement and IT services.
The 114 intervention affects only Northamptonshire CC, and there’s no expectation for it to impact on LGSS or any of LGSS’s partners.
Further detailed arrangements will follow.
Tomorrow (Tuesday 6 February 2018) Cambridgeshire County Councillors will meet in Full Council where it is expected our own balanced budget will be passed for 2018/19.
Cambridgeshire County Council established LGSS in 2010 with Northamptonshire CC by the delegation and merger of corporate services of Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire county councils. Originally, LGSS stood for Local Government Shared Services, but in the intervening years, it has doubled in size and now supports a range of public bodies including health and care organisations, emergency services, arm’s length management companies and educational institutions – all of whom delegate their services to LGSS for management.
In 2016, Milton Keynes Council became the third full partner and co-owner, bringing the LGSS total shared services workforce up to circa 1,600 employees.
Libraries set to deliver more at the heart of communities
People won't have to go far to access a whole range of tailored services under a new set of proposals to transform libraries.
The proposals, to be discussed at the Highways and Community Infrastructure Committee meeting in February 2018, will put the county's 32 libraries and three mobile library vans at the very heart of local communities. This will reinforce the role of libraries as places where people can access a better and wider range of services.
This new way of working will mean that children and family services, public health and district council services will be available in libraries. These services will be tailored and relevant for local residents and available on their doorstep. Delivering these services locally will help the Council meet its priorities around keeping vulnerable and elderly people more independent through early help and prevention.
It is proposed to first focus on Assistive Technology being rolled out to vulnerable people through the Neighbourhood Cares pilot.
Through a range of initiatives, libraries are set to generate new revenue and progress towards becoming more financially self-sufficient. This will allow the Council to invest £230,000 back into the book fund in 2018/19 so stock remains relevant and up-to-date.
Dragon fires up Cambridgeshire roads
There was extensive positive media coverage about the 'Dragon Patcher', which is now working its way across the county's roads to complete pothole repairs. It is the first in the region and has already made around 1,700 repairs.
It is much more efficient, as it can repair up to 150 potholes a day, faster and quieter than traditional methods and our contractor, Skanska, is firing it up on a road near you.
Please encourage residents to report highways faults, including potholes, using our online reporting tool.
Watch the Dragon Patcher in action
Changes to parking charges in Cambridge
On-street parking charges in Cambridge went up last week for the first time since 2014. The minor increases are part of a wider package of measures approved at the Highways and Community Infrastructure Committee in November 2017, to help tackle congestion in Cambridge. These measures also include the removal of park and ride parking charges from 1 April 2018 and changes to off-street car park charges.
Further changes to parking permit charges, and in particular the visitors' permit charges and types of permits available, will be reviewed by the Highways and Community Infrastructure Committee on Tuesday 13 February 2018.
The UK national target of 95% superfast broadband coverage has been met and Cambridgeshire's role in this achievement has been recognised.
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have already exceeded the national average with over 95.7% of households and businesses now having access to superfast speeds of 24Mbps and above. The numbers are continuing to grow, with some of the highest take-up in the country at over 50%. The programme is continuing with Connecting Cambridgeshire now aiming to reach over 99% of homes and businesses with superfast broadband, by the end of 2020, with Phase Three of the rollout currently underway.
- Residents and businesses can use the postcode checker to check current or planned superfast broadband coverage and find out how to upgrade. Those that can't get superfast broadband yet can find out about other technologies and fill in our broadband demand survey
- Visit the Connecting Cambridgeshire website to view the new film showing the impact that superfast broadband is having on the lives of householders and businesses across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough
- Please email Connecting Cambridgeshire with any queries you receive, including the full address and postcode of the household or business concerned - [email protected]
Supporting and protecting vulnerable people
Turning over a new leaf in 2018
The New Year is a time when people consider making changes in their lives and we are encouraging people of all ages and backgrounds to consider fostering this month.
Our campaign focuses on tackling some of the myths about who can be a foster carer to try and prevent people from unnecessarily ruling themselves out - for example, because they think that they are too old, they don't own their own home or they don't think they will be supported.
Please encourage people to visit our fostering webpages to find a type of fostering that suits them.
The CHUMS Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Service is recruiting volunteers across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to support bereaved children and young people and those with mental health difficulties such as anxiety and low mood. Full training will be given and you will assist the Family Care Practitioners in the delivery of therapeutic evidence based programmes.
Every adult counts
In case you missed it, Marie from our Counting Every Adult (CEA) Service featured on BBC Look East, ITV Anglia and BBC Radio Cambridgeshire. This service works to establish the ways to help our most vulnerable and challenging adults. Marie has been working with Danny, who was homeless for five months. She explained how the service helped him get back on his feet. CEA has now been asked to join the national Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) Programme along with 25 other areas.
Showcasing Cambridgeshire social care
A number of our social care teams came together in Huntingdon to host a 'Change Lives, Every Day' social work recruitment event.
The day was a huge success, with almost 60 attendees braving the terrible weather to come and hear about the incredibly diverse, impactful and important work we deliver across the county. We are delighted to say that as a result 43 people will be coming along for an assessment day. This is a significant result and shows that what we are doing is truly valued.
Places that work with children to help them reach their full potential
New opportunities in Fenland and East Cambs
Ambitious plans have recently been published to help six areas, including Fenland and East Cambs, increase educational opportunities and social mobility.
The first school visit by the new Education Secretary Damian Hinds, who announced the plans, was to St Andrews C of E Primary School in Soham. The package of measures includes a focus on attracting more teachers to work and train in the area with a teacher recruitment event held in Wisbech last week and another planned for Littleport Academy on Thursday 8 February 2018.
Also of interest
One hundred years ago, on 6 February 1918, a law was passed to allow some women and all men aged over 21 to vote.
Thanks to those of you who joined us at a special event last week to mark this important milestone.
Gillian Beasley was joined by a panel of inspirational women to discuss "How I became who I am today":
- Mary Beard - Professor of Classics, University of Cambridge
- Lily Cheng - Founder of The Rising Network
- Norah Al-Ani - CEO of Cambridge Rape Crisis
- Lara Jaffey - Director of The Kite Trust
Reminder - forthcoming Innovate and Cultivate Fund deadlines
The deadline for large grants (£10,000 to £50,000) for the Innovate and Cultivate Fund is on 9 March 2018, with applications open for smaller projects (up to £10,000) until 1 May 2018. Advice sessions will be held on Thursday 8 February 2018 to support potential applicants to develop their project ideas.