Welcome to the November edition of the Member Newsletter!

This newsletter has been produced by the Communications and Information Service to inform all Members of the latest council news and projects taking place across the county. News articles have been ordered by our strategic priorities.

Developing the local economy for the benefit of all

Minister attends Connecting Cambridgeshire conference

Celebration as county superfast coverage exceeds 95%

Council leaders with Digital Minister Matt Hancock celebrating Cambridgeshire's achievements as a leading digital county. (Left to right) Lucy Frazer MP, Cllr Ian Bates, Cllr Steve Count, Steve Haines (Managing Director of NGA Openreach) and Matt Hancock.

Matt Hancock, Minister for Digital, praised the rapid progress of the superfast broadband rollout across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough in his keynote speech at the Connected Futures Conference on Friday 3 November 2017, to highlight the importance of digital connectivity for the county.

More than 95% of premises across the county can now upgrade to superfast speeds of 24Mbps+ and take-up of fibre broadband by local households and businesses is among the highest in the country at almost 50%. The Connecting Cambridgeshire Partnership Programme, led by Cambridgeshire County Council, has already exceeded the Government's national target of reaching 95% superfast broadband coverage by the end of 2017, and is aiming for over 99% superfast coverage by the end of 2020, as part of an ambitious digital connectivity strategy.

Visit the Connecting Cambridgeshire website to find out more and view a new film showing the impact that superfast broadband is having on the lives of householders and businesses across the county. Residents and businesses can use the postcode checker to check current or planned superfast broadband coverage in their postcode area, and find out how to upgrade.

If you have any queries about broadband coverage in your area, please contact the Connecting Cambridgeshire team by emailing [email protected], including your full address, postcode and landline number, if possible, so we can investigate.

Jane Sneesby
Connecting Cambridgeshire team
[email protected] 

Residents' parking schemes begin

Consultation on four more schemes opens

November will see the launch of the Morley Residents' Parking Scheme, a new scheme that covers the areas between Hills Road, Cherry Hinton Road and Blinco Grove in Cambridge. Installation of the appropriate signs and lines have taken place during October and residents have been invited to apply for permits.

The public consultation for four further new Residents' Parking Schemes began in October and will close early in December 2017. The feedback from these consultations will not only help us to establish the level of support for the proposed schemes, but also enable us to refine the proposed parking plans to best suit the needs of the local community. Only schemes that are supported by the majority of residents who respond will progress to the next stage, which is statutory consultation. 

The four schemes, as show on the map above, are:

  • Newnham
  • Accordia
  • Staffordshire
  • Coleridge West

The implementation of these schemes is supported by the Greater Cambridge Partnership.

Nicola Gardner
Parking Policy Manager
[email protected] 

Cambridgeshire County Council nominated for 'visionary' green energy award

Cambridgeshire County Council's Energy Investment Unit has been shortlisted for a Green Energy Award. The award is sponsored by Regen, a not-for-profit organisation working to revolutionise the way we generate, supply and use energy. Alongside Nottingham City Council and Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, Cambridgeshire has been shortlisted in the category "Most Proactive Public Sector Organisation" for its visionary efficiency and renewable energy work. Winners will be announced on 28 November 2017 at an event in Bath.

View more information

Sheryl French
Project Director - Energy Investment Unit
[email protected]

More people save from the 'big switch'

More than 34,000 households from across the country, including Cambridgeshire households, took part in a successful energy auction on 10 October 2017. The Big Six and smaller companies were bidding for the energy business. Special tariffs were submitted by companies created only for the auction to win the business.

The auction winners were SSE and Boost (Boost is an evolution of OVO Energy's Smart Pay as you Go)

Residents already signed up to the switch will receive their personalised offer and can choose to take the deal or not. They can also continue to register for this deal until 21 November 2017 (for offline applications) and 28 November 2017 (for online applications). You can register online at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/switch or telephone 01223 715 349 or email [email protected].

Claire Julian-Smith
Energy Manager - Energy Investment Unit
[email protected]

On your bike - new money for cycling

The County Council has recently been successful in securing £33,000 of funding from the Department for Transport (DfT). The funding will allow Cambridgeshire to continue to work collaboratively with other local authorities on cycling projects, and to share case studies and best practice.

Following the public consultation on options for a new northern foot and cycle bridge in St Neots, the Economy and Environment Committee, will consider the preferred location option when it meets on 7 December 2017. The next stage will be to develop design options, and to undertake a further round of consultation to gauge the public's views.

The second round of engagement sessions on the Greenways project are now underway, with routes to Barton and Haslingfield under discussion. The new routes should encourage further growth in cycling to work in the Cambridge area in a bid to reduce traffic congestion, as well as enhancing the network of walking, cycling and equestrian leisure routes.

Construction work is underway on a number of cycling infrastructure projects funded through the DfT's Cycle City Ambition Grant. The County Council was successful in securing £10.1m to fund cycling schemes in the Greater Cambridge area for the period 2013-18, and the programme is now drawing to a close. The schemes on the A10 at Harston, B1102 between Quy and Lode, and on Huntingdon Road will be completed by early December.

Mike Davies
Team Leader - Cycling Projects
[email protected]

Libraries are doing it for themselves

Self-service machines rolled out

We will shortly begin the rollout of new self-service machines across libraries in Cambridgeshire. The existing machines are being replaced as they are out of contract and reaching the end of their useful life. For example, they are currently unable to accept the new £1 coins.

The contract for replacement of the machines has been awarded to 2CQR. The rollout will begin in November and will be complete by the end of January 2018. It should not cause any service disruption.

The Library Management Team have negotiated a very competitive contract. The new machines accept the new £1 coins and will also be able to accept card payments in the near future. 

Self-service champions have been nominated for each library. The champions will be trained in all aspects of using the new machines and will deliver training on site in each location as the machines are installed. We are working with our media and communications team to ensure that we keep customers, members and stakeholders up to date about this project.

Julie Kisby
District Library Manager - Huntingdonshire
[email protected]

Spotlight on 29 proposed level crossing closures

The Network Rail (Cambridgeshire Level Crossing Reduction) Order

The County Council has been responding to Network Rail's proposed Transport and Works Act Order, which will close or divert 29 level crossings across the county, affecting public highways and some private rights of way. There have been over 50 objections to the scheme. Whilst appreciating Network Rail's reasons for the scheme, the County Council has objected on several grounds, particularly concerning a number of the proposals where it considers the alternative routes to be inadequate. The Secretary of State is holding a four week public inquiry into the proposals, which will commence on Tuesday 28 November 2017. It will be held at the Hallmark Hotel Cambridge, Bar Hill, Cambridge, CB23 8EU. The County Council will be making representation to the inquiry.

Network Rail have appointed Persona Associates to assist with the programming of the inquiry. The inquiry documents are available on Persona's website.

Further information about the scheme, including plans of the proposals, can be found on Network Rail's website.

Camilla Rhodes
Asset Manager - Information
[email protected]

Cracking down on illegal tobacco

Raids in Wisbech, March and Peterborough

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Trading Standards Service has been working to tackle the supply of cheap non-duty paid tobacco in Fenland. At the end of September simultaneous raids took place at retail premises in March and Wisbech in conjunction with HMRC and their sniffer dogs. These raids resulted in seizures from three shops, as well as the removal of two cars used for the storage and concealment of illicit tobacco. This was part of a larger joint Trading Standards / HMRC operation across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, which in two days uncovered 240,000 illicit cigarettes and 34.85kilos of illicit hand-rolling tobacco.

It is believed that simply in relation to this haul, the Government had lost approximately £72k in tax, with annual national losses resulting from illicit tobacco estimated to be in the region of £2.4bn. These crimes also have a detrimental impact on legitimate businesses who are losing custom as a result of these unlawful sales. 

Reigning in the cowboys

'Builder' ordered to pay £10k in compensation

Following a Trading Standards investigation, a 28 year old from Meldreth was sentenced to 26 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to pay £10,000 in compensation and £600 in costs. In addition, he must complete 200 hours of unpaid community work and a rehabilitation activity requirement. He had been commissioned to build an extension, but what he constructed was of such poor quality it had to be demolished. 

Supporting and protecting vulnerable people

Work begins to reshape Children's Centre services for Cambridgeshire

Work to put plans into place for reshaped Children’s Centres have begun in earnest following Full Council endorsement of the plans on 17 October 2017.

After Full Council reviewed the results of the council's consultation - the largest response ever to a Cambridgeshire County Council consultation - an originally planned £1m saving was reduced to £900k.

Work continues with communities to shape where the additional £100k will now be reinvested, but initial plans allow for:

  • the creation of 10 extra apprenticeship positions, providing further services on the front line
  • more flexible use of existing staff within a new outreach approach
  • more targeted support aimed at vulnerable families particularly in the north of the county

Cllr Simon Bywater, Chairman of the Children and Young People's Committee, said: "Over the coming weeks and months we will be able to firm up the ideas of how this reinvestment will be used, but currently our emphasis is working with communities to see what they need and where our more flexible approach will pay dividends."

A short film based on the Broadleas Children's Centre in St Ives showing a possible blue print for a service which now meets the needs of a wider range of age groups can be viewed here

View plans for reshaped services in each area of the county.

Improving young drivers' IQs

Keeping young drivers safe

Following its launch in June 2017, students from six schools and colleges in Cambridgeshire will begin Cambs Drive IQ's online learning modules before Christmas 2017, with more already signed up to start in the New Year. The £67k three-year programme, funded by Cambridgeshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, includes 16 online modules designed to improve skills such as anticipating danger, hazard dection, risk management and eye scanning in order to help young people understand key dangers and learn how to build coping strategies to stay safe. The Council's Road Safety Officers are delivering introductory sessions at each school to get students and staff signed up to use the programme and will the monitor and support the completion of the modules. For more information, please visit www.cambsdriveiq.co.uk.

Matt Staton
Road Safety Education Team Leader
[email protected] 

Innovate and Cultivate Fund - spring application round

The Innovate and Cultivate Fund is Cambridgeshire County Council's 'up to £1 million fund' to help voluntary, community and social enterprise sector organisations realise their projects and ideas that help address the needs of local residents. Previously known as Cambridgeshire Communities Innovation Fund, the newly designed fund makes it easier to apply for small grants and focuses on council funding priorities, enabling innovative ideas to grow into something inspiring. Find out more by watching our Innovate and Cultivate Fund short film.

We are pleased to be able to share the new application deadlines for all funding rounds this year as follows:

  • 15 December 2017 - small grants
  • 9 March 2018 - large grants
  • 1 May 2018 - small grants

There will be an application workshop:

  • 8 February 2018, 9.45am - 12.00pm (venue to be confirmed)

Please note that all dates other than 15 December 2017 are subject to change.

Information and application forms are available on the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation website.

Helping people live healthy and independent lives

Colour me healthy

Trading Standards checks on banned food colouring

Trading Standards carried out a sampling programme investigating the presence of restricted food colourings in foods served by takeaways in Cambridgeshire. Every sample taken was found to include or exceed the limits set in the legislation - and as a result the inspection featured in a story on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire. 

The law changed in 2014 and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) initially funded some sampling to check whether restricted colours were still being used. Unfortunately it was found that businesses were not aware of the changes and so were still using restricted colours. Whilst this is recognised as a national problem, Cambridgeshire Trading Standards has been repeating this project for the last three years to monitor compliance and educate traders with results fed back up to the FSA.

This law was introduced to protect public health as the restricted colours can cause hyperactivity, asthma and, with long term consumption, even cancer. Every participating takeaway was brought into compliance but we suspected there would be continuing issues with those we hadn't been able to inspect. As a result, we began a local press campaign and, as well as achieving comprehensive coverage in the local press, we also featured on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire's breakfast show to raise the profile of the issue.

Peter Gell
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Trading Standards
[email protected]

Staying well in winter

Cold weather can have an adverse effect upon health and wellbeing especially amongst the elderly and under-five age groups or those living with a long term health condition. We know that these groups are more likely to be admitted to hospital during cold weather.

However, there are simple measures that people can take to mitigate the harmful effects of cold weather along with a number of agencies that provide support to those at risk. There is an ongoing campaign throughout the winter months which is supported by different voluntary and statutory organisations. The campaign is being launched through "Stay Well" packs that contain useful tips for keeping warm and well, promote the importance of getting a flu vaccination, where help can be found and also have a thermometer so people can check to see if the temperature in their homes poses a risk to their health. 

The packs are being distributed in some GP surgeries, community pharmacies and through different community groups. Small grants for heating and home improvements are also available through a referral from a professional or voluntary sector worker.

Val Thomas
Consultant in Public Health
[email protected]

Stay healthy, get the jab

Flu vaccination is available now, free of charge, for those who are eligible. It i s available through GP practices for all those at risk and for all children aged 2 to 4 years. Adults at risk can also get the jab from pharmacies. Children in Reception class and Years 1 to 4 will receive the nasal vaccine in school.

For frontline health and social care workers, it is the employer's responsibility to arrange and pay for the vaccine.

The flu jab is offered free to:

  • people aged 65+
  • pregnant women
  • people with certain medical conditions
  • people in a long-stay residential care home or other long-stay care facility
  • people who receive a carer's allowance, or are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if they fall ill

Visit the NHS website for more information

Linda Sheridan
Consultant in Public Health
[email protected] 

Working with our partners to improve public health

The Cambridgeshire Health & Wellbeing Strategy runs from 2012 to 2017. The health and wellbeing system has changed significantly since the last refresh of the strategy, with the creation of the Sustainability and Transformation Plans; greater collaboration across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and changes in local and national priorities. 

The Health and Wellbeing Board is reviewing its ways of working and priorities to develop a Cambridgeshire Health and Wellbeing Strategy for 2018 and beyond. A stakeholder event was held on 21 September 2017, which was facilitated by the Local Government Association. The purpose of this event was to provide partner organisations, voluntary sector and interest groups an opportunity to review the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) for Cambridgeshire, provide views on what the Health and Wellbeing Board should set as  strategic priorities, and advise on how the Health and Wellbeing Board could work to improve health outcomes for people across Cambridgeshire. The Health and Wellbeing Board will consider the feedback from the Stakeholder Event as part of the development of the refreshed Health and Wellbeing Strategy.

Kate Parker
Head of Public Health Business Programmes
[email protected] 

Public Health - planning to do more with less

The County Council's Public Health budget comes from a ring-fenced grant from central Government currently worth nearly £27 million. 

However, from 2017/18 to 2019/20 the grant is expected to reduce by approximately £0.7 million per year, which requires a transformational approach to business planning, overseen by the Council’s Health Committee. The transformation plan for public health includes the following key themes:

  • Improving  engagement with communities to support behaviour changes, which will improve health in the longer term. This includes the transfer earlier this year of the CAMQUIT Stop Smoking Service to Everyone Health, an external provider, who are specialists in engaging with communities around lifestyle changes. This will save approximately £84,000.
  • Strengthening the role of all three tiers of local government in providing environments and services which support health and wellbeing. An example of this is how Cambridgeshire County Council is working with district councils to promote physical activity.
  • Maximising efficiency through the commissioning and procurement of services, including working in partnership with other organisations where this can improve outcomes or reduce commissioning costs. This includes the tendering for alcohol and drug misuse services, which will create a more integrated approach, which could save approximately £154,000.

More information is available in the Health Committee Revenue Business Planning papers

Dr Liz Robin
Director of Public Health
[email protected] 

Also of interest

Listening to library users

Over the last three months, nearly 170 people attended a series of workshops across the county for stakeholders of the Cambridgeshire Library Service to hear about opportunities and challenges that the service is currently facing and for us to hear people’s ideas ahead of developing options for the future of the service. We also spoke with users of the Mobile Library Service and children and young people’s groups.

We heard a wide range of views and ideas about the future of the service, specifically in relation to how the service could increase financial sustainability. 

What happens next?

We are now using the comments collected to inform a set of proposals for how we will achieve great outcomes for library users and communities and how we will secure the future of the service by increasing its financial sustainability.

Councillors will be meeting on 6 December 2017 to discuss the Library Transformation Programme and its proposals. Prior to this meeting, we will share the proposals with Members and tell you how your input has shaped these via our website. To find out more, please sign up to our mailing list by emailing [email protected]

Shire Hall 2020 options

Staff and members discuss options ahead of Commercial and Investment Committee meeting

Having been agreed by Full Council back in May 2016, plans to consider the future of the Shire Hall site are moving forward at pace.

A working group, including members, senior officers and consultants are pulling together options which will ultimately form a set of business cases. The consultants have been travelling around the county, engaging with staff, partners and commercial vendors to gather rich market intelligence, allowing our proposals to be informed and evidence based. A number of staff engagement sessions are taking place and have been well received. Members are welcome along to any of the following sessions:

  • Thursday 23 November, 10.00 - 11.00, Babbage House Room 201
  • Tuesday 5 December, 11.30 - 12.30, Shire Hall Octagon Conference Room 1L1
  • Thursday 21 December, 11.00 - 12.00, Shire Hall Octagon Board Room 2L1

Based on a 'Hub and Spoke' model, the plans will focus on providing a central 'Hub' for core support services. Frontline services will utilise space in existing CCC buildings or those of partners, encouraging collaboration and allowing teams to be closer to those they serve.

The options currently being discussed are:

  • the building of a new hub in Northstowe
  • the building of a new hub in Alconbury
  • repurposing the Octagon building to become a hub, while still offering Shire Hall to a commercial venture
  • retaining Shire Hall

The next step will see the proposals brought to the Commercial and Investment Committee on 15 December 2017. The approval process is as follows:

Duration Oct 17 Nov 17 Dec 17 Jan 18 Feb 18
Approval process
Member working group X
Commercial and Investment Committee X
General Purposes Committee X
Full Council X

Nikitta Vanterpool
Transformation Advisor
[email protected] 


Local government 24 hour tweetathon returns

It's almost that time of year again where Cambridgeshire County Council takes part in the Local Government Association's annual Twitter campaign to highlight the amazing work that goes on within local government. This year it will take place on 21 November and work is already underway with our services to showcase the wide variety of things that we do. This year the national campaign wants to look at using new platforms such as Snapchat and we'll be making sure we use all of our social media channels. If you have your own Twitter account, don't forget to use the #ourday on the day.

Watch out for the autumn statement

Expected Wednesday 22 November 2017

It is expected that the Government will publish its autumn budget on Wednesday 22 November 2017. We'll be listening in and plan to send round highlights that are relevant for Cambridgeshire's economy following the statement.

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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