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Ofsted inspection of local authority children's services

On Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 March 2018, two Ofsted inspectors, Mandy Nightingale and Margaret Burke were on-site alongside a ‘shadow’, Jo Kavanagh, who is an assistant director from Lincolnshire County Council. The inspectors met with a number of our People and Communities staff and carried out a focused inspection of services supporting children in need, those subject to a child protection plan, while also looking at how we protect disabled children.

On the morning of Thursday 5 April 2018, we will receive a pre-publication letter under embargo, with the letter then published on the Ofsted website on Monday 9 April 2018.

Snow mean feat as staff plough on ahead through the poor weather

The recent ‘Beast from the East’ may have caused chaos across the country, but it didn’t stop many of our county council staff delivering services to those who need us most.

Support workers braved treacherous snow and freezing conditions to deliver more than 1,600 visits to elderly people over the course of the week. Some literally went the extra mile by travelling on foot, while some even turned up on their day off to ensure we continued to deliver a top class service to those who may have found the conditions extremely difficult.

Many of our staff ignored the temptation to build their best snowman, and instead continued to turn up to their place of work, some having shared transport or found alternative ways of getting to their offices. This included staff at Grafham Water and Burwell House, who continued to offer a range of indoor and outdoor experiences for local schoolchildren.

The weather may have been unfavourable, but the show certainly did go on.

Minister books in time to hear about exciting library transformation plans

Michael Ellis MP, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, meets Cllr Steve Count at Cambridge Central Library.

Michael Ellis MP, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, was in Cambridge on Thursday 15 March 2018 and took the opportunity during his visit to discover Cambridge Central Library and meet councillors and officers. After touring the library with Ana Silva and meeting staff and library customers, the Minister attended a round-table discussion with Cllr Count, Cllr Shuter and Cllr Raynes along with Adrian Chapman, Christine May and Sue Wills.

 The discussion was very positive and focused on the Council’s transformation vision and investment plans for Cambridgeshire Libraries. Key topics included the Soham pilot, income generation and commissioning initiatives, partnerships (particularly working with British Library), culture – our Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation status, the British Film Institute Mediatheque, the Cambridge Culture card initiative and our plans for future growth.

The Minister was particularly impressed by how the Council has embraced the ‘Think Libraries First’ mantra and adopted libraries to be the front door of the Council, recognising the value of the service as an asset to the whole system and saving money for other services through early help and prevention activity.

£1 Park and Ride charge dropped as record numbers use the Guided Busway

From 1 April 2018, motorists will benefit from free parking at seven Park & Ride sites.

The £1 parking fee is being removed next month, a significant step in our plans to encourage more people to get out of their cars and use greener and more sustainable modes of transport to travel into Cambridge City Centre.

The removal of the £1 parking fee is a positive move forward in our plans to make the Park & Ride the ‘go to’ transport choice for people coming into the city.

The County Council wants to encourage people to use more sustainable methods of transport and is committed to reducing congestion and improving air quality for everyone.

Almost 100 new cycle lockers have been installed, and buses now accept contactless payments as well as cash.

The seven sites are those at Babraham Road, Madingley Road, Milton, Newmarket Road, Trumpington, Longstanton and St Ives.

Help design Cambridgeshire's first Rural Travel Hubs

Sawston and Oakington are earmarked to benefit from the county’s first ‘Rural Travel Hubs’, after the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s Executive Board agreed to progress the project to the next stage last month.

Rural Travel Hubs are bespoke transport interchanges to connect residents in South Cambridgeshire with public transport, cycling or walking routes. From late spring / early summer, the project team will be asking for detailed feedback on the ideas for hubs in Oakington and Sawston.

View further information on the hubs and upcoming events

Recommendations from the Ely to Cambridge transport study

The Ely to Cambridge transport study has recommended a £500 million transport upgrade for travel between Ely and Cambridge - including dualling of the A10 between Ely and Cambridge.

The study says a whole range of transport improvements are needed to ease congestion and bring forward tens of thousands of new jobs and homes right along the route and beyond.

The study looked at current transport challenges and future opportunities to support growth. Recommendations include:

  • Dualling or part dualling of the A10 between Ely and Cambridge
  • A new Park and Ride north of Waterbeach
  • Relocation and expansion of Waterbeach Railway Station
  • A new segregated public transport route between Waterbeach and Cambridge, together with new cycling and walking facilities
  • To dual the section of the A10 between Angel Drove and Witchford Road Junctions

Tens of thousands of new jobs and homes are planned along the route - including between 8,000 and 10,000 new homes at Waterbeach alone and plans for further development in North Cambridge.

The public will be invited to give their views on the initial options for various cycling, walking, public transport and road-based solution improvements in and around the A10 during the summer.

View the study online

New Cambridgeshire Insight website now live

What is Cambridgeshire Insight?

Cambridgeshire Insight showcases local research and information from a host of partners. The site also acts as a local response to Open Data and users can access a range of local data sets including population estimates, population forecasts and local housing completions.

What has changed?

The aim of recent updates to Insight has been to try to make it easier for users to find the data, information, research or analysis that they require about their local area.  The focus of the update has been around making it easier for users to access interactive data tools and research reports across a number of themes including:

  • Crime and community safety
  • Economy and employment
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Housing
  • Joint strategic needs assessments
  • Population
  • And more!
  • Interactive maps by theme
  • Instant reports by area
  • Quick ward profiles
  • Document library

Comments / feedback / suggestions

If you have any comments, feedback or suggestions on any of the above, please contact [email protected]

Get ready for the Big Lunch

The Big Lunch is the UK's annual get together for neighbours. Every year in June, since the idea began in 2009, millions of people stop what they're doing and get together with neighbours in a nationwide act of community and friendship.

A Big Lunch can be anything from a small gathering in a garden, park or driveway, to a larger party with trestle tables down the middle of your street. The idea is that by starting simple, all sorts of friendships, ideas and projects can come out of a Big Lunch. It gets people together and talking — and with a few inspired folk, it can lead to people doing more within their community, and tackling the issues that matter to them most.

This year's Big Lunch is on Sunday 3 June 2018, but if the official date isn't practical for your community, you can run one at any time you fancy.

Find out how to organise a Big Lunch in your community

Libraries newsletter

Take a look at the latest edition of the monthly libraries newsletter, where you can find upcoming campaigns and events happening in libraries. Please sign up to receive your regular copy straight into your in box.

Changes planned to school meal and cleaning provision in Cambridgeshire

Members of the Commercial and Investment Committee supported a recommendation which will see the Council cease to be a provider of catering and cleaning services to schools by the end of 2018.

All members have been supplied with an information pack about the schools in their area which have school meals and cleaning supplied by Cambridgeshire Catering and Cleaning Services (CCS). Since the decision was taken we have had regular communications with affected staff and workshops have been arranged for them to ask questions and share any concerns. 

If you or any schools in your area have any questions or queries, please email [email protected].

New look for Cambridgeshire's Child and Family Centres

Our new approach to supporting Cambridgeshire families will launch in April 2018. The redesigned Child and Family Centres will better meet the needs of our growing and rural county, with activities and events taking place in a range of new locations across the county, and an extended focus on families with children of all ages.

The changes were agreed at full council in October 2017 following public consultation, and will be discussed at the Children and Young People Committee meeting on Tuesday 13 March 2018.

Activities will be run from new communities at Northstowe and Clay Farm for the first time, as well as outreach in other new locations across the county. Adaptions have been approved to transform a youth centre at Scaldgate in Whittlesey into a new ‘Child and Family Zone’, and a new space for families with children of all ages is planned for Sawtry. Centres will create better links with and provide a base for other services including adult learning, health visiting, midwifery and social care.  

Buildings that will no longer be operating as Children’s Centres will be used to boost childcare provision with up to 325 new places provided for under 5s. Changes will also allow much-needed school expansions to take place in Sawtry and Whittlesey.

Frontline staff and managers are now working in new district-based teams and any remaining vacancies have been advertised.

New Camweb - can you help us improve our 'Members' section?

The Camweb replacement project finally came to fruition last month, with the new and improved Camweb launched in mid-February. Feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive, with staff saying the new layout makes finding information easier. The return of the Staff Bulletin Board has been particularly well received.

The next stage of development will focus on the phonebook, with an aim to creating a system that people can self-manage, meaning our much needed contact details are kept up to date.

We have created a Members section, which will shortly include papers from the Members Seminar, but as this section is for you, we would like to know what else you would like to see on there, and how it could help.

If you have any thoughts or ideas, please contact [email protected].

Don’t forget to visit our news pagelike us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to keep up-to-date with the latest announcements. 

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