Member Newsletter - February 2020

Think Communities - the movement continues across Cambridgeshire

A special MJ supplement is out this month looking at how the ‘Think Communities’ approach is changing the way that the public sector across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough thinks and acts when it is working with the public.

Published on 20 February 2020 in the nationally available magazine and also in an online form which will be publicised to 32,000 subscribers, the publication looks at the way that we are working with our partners to listen more to the needs of our residents and communities to manage demand and improve outcomes, it looks at examples of Think Communities work in action on the Oxmoor, through the I Love Wisbech project, and some of the ongoing benefits from our Neighbourhood Cares pilots in Soham and St Ives.

A complimentary copy of the supplement will be sent to all Members later in the month.

Possible travel disruption during February half term week

From this Sunday at 9am, Extinction Rebellion (XR) have indicated that they will block an area of Cambridge City, seen here on their Facebook page, which is on the roundabout outside the Royal Cambridge Hotel.

If this goes ahead, we are working together with the Police and Cambridge City Council to put in place measures to mitigate the disruption for vehicles and buses.  Pedestrians and cyclists will be unaffected.

As soon as the blockage happens, we will publicise diversion routes, changes to the bus routes and activate signs which will tell people coming into the city where the blockages are. Follow @CambridgeCops on Twitter and @Cambridgecity.police on Facebook and for the latest updates. You can also follow @Cambs_Traffic on Twitter.

You can see our response to XR in a recent news item.

Environmental measures and communities feature in council's budget

Cambridgeshire County Council has agreed its budget for 2020/21, outlining plans to close a final £4m budget gap, take significant steps towards becoming carbon neutral and launch a new community fund.

Full Council agreed by 31 votes to 19 with two abstentions. A proposal put forward by Council Leader Cllr Steve Count for a package of measures which included a £16m Environmental Fund and a new fund to help with capital improvements in communities.

The proposal also included a rise in general council tax of 1.59%, on top of an agreed 2% precept to be spent on Adult Social Care. Taken together, the additional 3.59% will add £47 a year (or 91p a week) to an average Band D council tax bill.

For further details, please read our news item.

Full Council also confirmed the addition of a fourth strategic priority to its Business Plan of reaching a net zero carbon target by 2050.

Consultation begins on Health and Wellbeing Strategy

The draft Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy has been launched for consultation on our Consult Cambs website. The strategy builds on the health and wellbeing priorities for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough identified through the Joint Strategic Needs Assessments available on Cambridgeshire Insight JSNA and the key findings of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough HealthWatch ‘What would you do?’ report available on the Healthwatch website (opens in PDF format).

The draft Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy has four priorities:

  • Places that support health and wellbeing
  • Helping children achieve the best start in life
  • Staying healthy throughout life
  • Good quality health and social care

Copies of the strategy and consultation documents will be available when the consultation is launched in February on the Cambridgeshire County Council's consultations webpage.

Kate Parker
Head of Public Health Business Programmes

Annual Public Health Report

The Cambridgeshire Annual Public Health Report (2019) was presented at the Health and Wellbeing Board meeting on 30 January 2020. The report reviews the new national Index of Deprivation (2019) and its relevance to health and wellbeing in Cambridgeshire and its districts. It also provides a summary of trends in lifestyle and health behaviours which influence health and wellbeing, and trends in both physical and mental health outcomes. Progress against the key findings of previous Annual Public Health Reports is reviewed and recommendations made for ongoing areas of focus. 

The Cambridgeshire Annual Public Health Report (2019) is available on the Cambridgeshire Insight website.

Cambridgeshire reports on educational achievement

The Director of Education’s report on educational performance in 2019 across Cambridgeshire, up to and including Key Stage 4, went to the Children and Young People’s Committee at the end of January 2020. The report can be found on the Cambridgeshire CMIS website.

Highlights were the strong performance of our children at Key Stage 4 (GCSEs) where basic measures of a strong pass in both English and Maths, still to be verified nationally, show significant improvements. Both measures place Cambridgeshire in the top quartile for performance as well as in regional and statistical neighbour rankings, where we are also top quartile.

But it also showed outcomes for primary school children while showing an overall  improvement, still remain around (or just below) the national average, a concern particularly as the majority live in above average social economic areas.

Where there is disadvantage there are bigger challenges, a dedicated officer has been working with schools to improve outcomes specifically for disadvantaged children. Of 60 schools we’ve advised on effective ways of using Pupil Premium funding, 21 saw improvements in results for disadvantaged pupils compared to last year.

New mobile libraries - names wanted!

Two new state-of-the-art vehicles have been recently commissioned to replace the current ones which are almost 15 years old. This major investment will ensure the mobile library can continue playing an essential role in reaching out in communities, connecting people with information and support, even arts and culture, as well as books and reading.

To make the new vehicles more recognisable and memorable within the community they serve, we are asking the public to come up with their best, most clever suggestions that reflect the bold and wide role the mobile libraries play in our communities. People have until 27 March 2020 to take part and send their ideas directly to or submit on social media.

We hope to receive plenty of witty suggestions so please feel free to spread the word. You can read our news item "Booky McBookface - can you do better" for more information.

A14 set to complete this Spring

This month, Britain’s biggest road project it is set to open to drivers more than half a year early.

The £1.5 billion scheme on the A14, which will improve journeys between the East of England and the Midlands, was originally planned to open to traffic by the end of 2020.

The spring opening date will mark the end of permanent roadworks and reduced speed limits on the new A14 and the A1307, but the project team will still need to carry out a number of completion activities such as landscaping, installing some of the new technology, and work in the verges. To carry out this work safely, some temporary overnight closures or off-peak daytime lane closures will be needed.

Work to dismantle the old A14 railway viaduct at Huntingdon and the new link roads being built will continue and is on target to be completed by 2022.

Trading Standards - supporting innovation through regulatory advice

The Trading Standards team within our wider regulatory advice team ‘Regulatory Companion’ is currently working with a consultant surgeon who has designed a product to prevent finger crush injuries from household doors.

The idea for the device came from experiences within their young family and injuries treated by the NHS. The design has won the several national awards including the Design Council Spark finalist and awardee for the Best British Product Invention of 2018.

Trading Standards are supporting the commercialisation of the product with advice on relevant legislation, safety standards and marketing materials. It again demonstrates how regulatory advice, provided at the right time, can help support innovation and business growth.