Council sets out draft budget proposals
Cornwall Council has today published its proposals for saving £196m over the next four years and is asking members of the public, partner organisations and staff to give their views on the draft budget and come forward with any other ideas for saving money.
The Council's aim is to strengthen its partnerships with the rest of the public and community sector in order to make as many savings as possible without cuts to frontline services. The authority has identified services to a value of at least £34 million that could potentially be put up for devolution, and could be considerably more. The Council will also work on integrating services currently run by government departments, the NHS, voluntary and community sectors and Cornwall Council.
The unprecedented scale of the savings required means that all areas of the Council are affected by the draft proposals. However, rather than simply ‘salami slice’ every service, the authority has developed a four year plan which will help protect the three key priority areas identified by the public and Members during last year’s budget consultation. These are services for the most vulnerable in society (including vulnerable adults, children, older people and the poorest), public transport, and road repairs and maintenance.
“We are determined to focus on what Cornwall will be like in 2019, rather than what we need to cut” said Cornwall Council Leader John Pollard.
“Budgetary constraints and the changing nature of Local Government require a different approach and, as we said last year, we want to build a resilient and sustainable Cornwall and not simply reduce the services we provide.
“To this end we have worked with Councillors, officers and partners to develop this budget, the Council’s strategy which underpins it, and a Business Plan which will implement it. Our commitment is to create a leaner, more resourceful organisation that delivers essential council services in the most efficient and effective way. This also means having the courage to make some extremely difficult decisions.
“At the same time we have been pressing the Government to change the way local government is funded to give Cornwall a fairer share of the money it allocates to councils to provide services. We currently receive less than half the money per head of population than that given to Hackney and if we were funded in the same way as an average urban council we would receive an additional £48m a year. We are continuing to have discussions with Ministers over the need to recognise the cost of providing services to people in Cornwall and have recently sent a submission to the Independent Commission set up to look at this issue setting out how we think the system should be reformed.”
Alex Folkes, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources, said “Over the past few months we have looked closely at everything we do to see how we can protect services by becoming more efficient and changing the way the Council is run. We started with the money we spend on ourselves and have already identified more than £30 million of savings through a radical restructure of senior management, reducing the use of consultants and agency staff by 59%, and a local pay agreement with staff. This work is continuing, with further savings due to come from ongoing restructuring and the sale of surplus buildings, but the sheer scale of the savings we need to make means we cannot rely on these actions alone. “
"We are looking to work much more closely with the rest of the public sector and the voluntary and community sector. We will be seeking to integrate our services and to share support functions and buildings wherever possible. But we know that front line services will also be hit and so we have worked with elected members, with partners and with the public to understand where they feel savings can be made and which services should be protected."
“However we are also looking to the future and to developing the skills, jobs and infrastructure that Cornwall needs. We persuaded the Government to allow decisions on spending our European funding to be made in Cornwall, and we have seen significant Government investment in our rail, air and road links. We are also investing £50 million in match funding for the next round of the EU convergence programme."
“The draft budget proposals include some things which we would want to do regardless of the need to make savings. These include further reducing the number of buildings and working more closely with partners to share costs. Others are savings we would prefer not to have to make and which we know will have a significant impact on the people who use these services. But, faced with the need to save £196m from our budget , we have very little choice.
“However even implementing all these proposals will still leave us with a £6 million shortfall and this figure could rise depending on Government funding decisions. We have already ruled out a number of options as unacceptable in the current circumstances and, rather than have to revisit them in the future, are asking people to come forward with any ideas on areas for savings we might have missed or where we could go further than we are currently suggesting.
The draft budget proposals are based around four key areas:
- Working with staff to reduce the pay bill – including further restructuring and the transfer of staff to new models of delivery and arm’s length companies
- New models of delivery – including integrating health and social care services; devolving further services to town and parish councils and community and voluntary groups (eg libraries ); creating trusts and partnerships to deliver services such as culture and tourism, and seeking external partners for services such as parking.
- Management improvements – including delivering more services digitally and through the website; reducing administrative costs in areas such as IT and postage; more effective procurement and contract management and sharing buildings with partners and community groups;
- Increasing income – taking a more commercial approach in areas such as public protection, licensing, planning, and waste.
“We recognise that many people will be concerned at the impact of some of these proposals but the stark truth is we cannot protect services and save £196m by continuing in the same way” said Alex Folkes. “We have to become more efficient and change the way we run the Council. By doing this we can support key services for vulnerable children and adults, and help people who are struggling to make ends meet by maintaining council tax support. We will also be supporting the bus network and continuing to fix potholes and maintain our roads.
“We now want to hear the views of people in Cornwall on these proposals. We are holding 20 public meetings during October so people can give us their views on the proposals and any new ideas”.
Following today’s publication of the draft budget, the proposals will be considered in detail by the Council’s Portfolio Advisory Committees during September.
As well as the public meetings in October there is also an online form where people can give their views and make any suggestions. - www.cornwall.gov.uk/cornwallbudget.
This consultation will close on 29 October.
All the comments and suggestions made by members of the public and partners will then be used to produce a revised draft which will be discussed by the Cabinet on 5 November and then the full Council on 22 November when the final decision will be made.
You can read more detailed information in the following documents:
Free weight management programmes offered to Cornwall residents
A new term is a good time to start a new routine – as you make sure school uniform is ready, buy shiny new shoes, organise after school clubs, why not book yourself and your family into a healthy weight programme.
Arranged at convenient times for families with children, the 12-week programmes are designed to develop healthy eating patterns for the whole family, including exercise, and practical cooking skills. And the most important thing is that they’re free, just needing a commitment of time.
Cornwall Council’s Health Promotion Service has a whole team of professionals dedicated to helping you and your family lose weight, and maintain a healthy weight. Programmes are for families with children who are above a healthy weight aged 4-7 (in Penzance this time), and children aged 7-13 (Pool, Truro and Penzance). Teens are contacted on an individual basis. If there’s not one near you this time, then there will probably be one in January, as the programmes are held right across Cornwall.
Cornwall Healthy Weight also run programmes for adults, both during the day and some evenings (Redruth, Truro, Saltash, Bodmin, Helston, Par and Bude). Booking is essential for all programmes, as places fill up fast. You can book yourself on, or you may be referred by a social worker or health professional.
Felicity Owen, Director of Public Health, said, ‘Being overweight or obese is a factor in many serious illnesses including type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers. These family weight loss programmes have helped lots of families lose weight, improve their health outcomes and quality of life’.
Tracey Barter, Healthy Weight Lead, explains, ‘Childhood obesity is a problem across the UK, so teaching children how to eat healthily is a great way to prevent them becoming overweight adults. If you or your family were feeling a bit self-conscious about wearing bathing costumes over the summer, and could do with losing a bit of weight, then take action now.
“These courses aren’t quick weight-loss programmes, they aren’t flashy diets which you can’t possibly follow for longer than a couple of weeks. They are weight management programmes, designed to help you think differently about food. You will learn about portion sizes, nutrition and exercise, and you can keep applying what you’ve learned for the rest of your life – and your children, for the rest of their lives too’.
A mum wrote to Cornwall Healthy Weight to thank the team after she attended a 7-13 programme with her two children. She says, ‘We found the programme very rewarding, knowledgeable and fun. We all adapted to it reasonably easily and looked forward to the new challenges every week. At the end of the programme we found the results were fantastic and we were all very pleased that the children lost weight, and grew at the same time. The programme leaders were very friendly, approachable and knowledgeable, also giving lots of encouragement to both the children and the adults.’
So, if you are interested in making a difference to your lifestyle and achieving a healthy weight, please contact Cornwall Healthy Weight and book your place. Spaces are taken quickly, so don’t delay.
You can contact Cornwall Health Weight on 01209 310 062, via email at email@example.com, through the Cornwall Healthy Weight facebook page, Cornwall Health Weight twitter account or via the Cornwall Healthy Weight website.
Story posted 11 August 2014
Council congratulates GCSE students on their achievements
Cornwall Council is congratulating young people in Cornwall who have worked so hard at their GCSE courses and have today received the results that have done their talents and abilities justice.
Andrew Wallis, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said the achievements were a tribute to the hard work and commitment of both students and schools in Cornwall and praised the support provided by parents and carers. “I would like to congratulate everyone on their achievements” he said.
“All our schools are committed to providing the best quality education for their students and today’s results show that, once again, hard work has paid dividends. This is a very important time for these young people who will be making key decisions which will affect their future lives."
Also welcoming the success of Cornish students, Jane Black, the Council’s Head of Service for Learning and Achievement, said that the exams were an important stepping stone for young people in Cornwall. “I’m really pleased to see so many young people do so well in their GCSEs. We are still waiting for detailed results from a number of our secondary schools but anticipate that the picture here will reflect the national picture We will be analysing the data from all our schools over the next few days when we will have a clearer idea of how they have performed”.
“The changes in the educational system mean that these young people will continue in learning or training until they are 18. However, this does not mean they need necessarily to stay on in a classroom. While many will choose to remain in full time education, such as a school sixth form or FE College, they can also opt for work based learning such as an apprenticeship or take part in part time education or training if they are employed, self employed or volunteering for 20 hours or more per week.
“The aim of the change is to give every young person the best chance to achieve and succeed” she added. “Evidence shows that taking part in education or training beyond the age of 16 offers young people the chance to develop the skills and qualifications that will open the doors to future employment, help them make the most of their potential and earn more over their lifetime.”
Story posted 21 August 2014
Truro kebab shop operator pleads guilty to operating beyond his licensed hours
A Truro kebab shop owner pleaded guilty at Truro Magistrates Court on Tuesday 19 August 2014 to operating beyond his licensed opening hours in contravention of the Licensing Act 2003.
Mehmet Gulenc, who operates the One Stop kebab shop in New Bridge Street Truro, was given a 12 month conditional discharge (reduced from 18 months due to an early guilty plea). He was also ordered to pay the full costs of £1,045.40, together with a victim surcharge of £15.00.
The court heard that Mr Gulenc was approached by police during the early hours of Sunday 30 March 2014 when the clocks changed from Greenwich mean time and British summer time commenced.
He was advised by the officers that he was exceeding his licensed hours as the clocks had changed to British summer time. The officers had visited a number of premises that evening and all had closed following intervention by them. Mr Gulenc refused to close and became abusive to the officers when they approached him.
In mitigation, Mr Dunkley, Mr Gulenc’s solicitor said that this situation had occurred due to confusion as in Turkey the clocks changed at 4.00am and Mr Gulenc genuinely believed that this was the case in this country. He was aware that the clocks changed on that night however did not think it would occur until after his premises shut.
Cornwall Council Licensing Service had previously cautioned Mr Gulenc in 2013 for exceeding his hours and during an investigation by Cornwall Council’s Licensing Compliance Officer Nicola Kewn, Mr Gulenc had failed to pass over CCTV footage when requested to so.
Mr Dunkley stated that when the offence occurred for which the caution was issued, Mr Gulenc was not present at the premises, however, as he is the Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS), he accepted that he was responsible for ensuring that the law was complied with.
Magistrates accepted that there was some mitigation regarding the hour change and the confusion that occurred together with the language difficulties that the Defendant experienced, however they believed that he should have stopped trading when asked to by the Police.
Cornwall Council’s Licensing Compliance manager Bob Mears said. “We are pleased with the outcome of this enquiry and appreciate the manner in which the magistrates have considered this matter.
A prosecution is a last resort but as there had been previous breaches of the licensing hours and the premises were cautioned last year, the Council had no option but to take a firm line and to prosecute.”
Story posted 19 August 2014
Young people invited to join Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service Prince’s Trust course
If you are unemployed and aged between 16 and 25 years old, you can apply to join a Cornwall Fire & Rescue Service and Prince’s Trust Team programme which aims to help unemployed young people develop the skills and confidence to move into employment, education, training, volunteering or apprenticeships.
The next free course, which does not affect receipt of any benefits, will start on the 15 September 2014 and will be running from Camborne’s Young People Centre. If you know someone or if you yourself are interested in being on the course then please contact Andrew House, Prince’s Trust Team Leader, on 07817538964 or at firstname.lastname@example.org by the 08 September.
CFRS Team Programme is a 13 week personal development course which aims to increase confidence, motivation and skills as those taking part. Participants will be part of a group of up to 14 young people for a 13 week programme.
You will get involved in team building activities and challenges, a week-long action packed residential trip, a community project and two weeks of work experience during the course. You will also get advice on how to write CVs as well as gaining nationally recognised qualifications.
The Team programme is also available for employees who would like a chance to develop new interpersonal skills to improve long-term career prospects.
Three in four young people on Prince’s Trust schemes move into work, education or training. The Prince’s Trust will help 55,000 disadvantaged young people this year, giving them the practical and financial support to help them turn their lives around.
Cornwall Council cabinet member for Homes and Communities Geoff Brown said: “Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service has been extremely successful in helping young people from many areas and backgrounds. This initiative in partnership with The Prince’s Trust is to be applauded. It’s great to see how our fire service can help these young people learn how to become better communicators and leaders as they grow in confidence and, in some cases, turn their lives around.”
Station Manager Dave Pilling from Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service said: “We are delighted to be able to work with The Prince’s Trust to deliver this very worthwhile programme. Too many young people feel they don’t have any skills and talents, and feel they’ll never amount to anything. The Team programme really does help them to turn their lives around; helping them into work, education or training, furthermore taking part in Team does not affect their benefits”.
Story posted 19 August 2014
Finistere and Cornwall museums working in partnership to preserve maritime heritage
A partnership between the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, in Falmouth and Le Port-Musée in Douarnenez, Finistère (Brittany) has seen cutting edge technology used to preserve Cornish and Breton maritime heritage.
The two Museums have been using state of the art laser scanners to create 3D models of key boats in both their collections. The LASCANMAR project has been made possible through €60,000 of European funding. The INTERREG Program promotes cross border projects and helps regions of Europe share knowledge and transfer experience.
Andy Wyke, Boat Collection Manager at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall, explains: “The LASCANMAR or Laser Scanning Maritime project was conceived out of a need to satisfy a lack of 3D digital recording and documentation for maritime heritage preservation, specifically boats for which there were either no plans or a lack of recorded information. Working in partnership with Le Port-Musée has been a hugely rewarding experience and we look forward to continuing this professional relationship for many years to come.”
In two special presentations at the Maritime Museum in Falmouth and Le Port-Musée in Douarnenez last week, the project team shared their knowledge and some of their findings with representatives from museums, universities and maritime industries.
The National Maritime Museum Cornwall will be displaying some of the results of the project later this year. To find out more about the LASCANMAR project visit www.lascanmar.com.
Story posted 6 June 2014
Affordable homes for Grampound Road, near Truro, complete
A new affordable rural housing scheme in Grampound Road has been completed this week and residents have moved in. Windmill Hill, Grampound Road, near Truro provides 44 much needed high quality new affordable homes to meet local need.
The prominently located site in Ladock Parish in mid Cornwall includes 34 homes for affordable rent and 10 for shared ownership. With house prices in Cornwall many times the average wage and rents also high, it is difficult for many local people to be able to afford a home. Affordable rural schemes like Windmill Hill Grampound Road are vital in making it possible for families to access high quality homes in a way that they otherwise could not.
Gareth Jones Development Director at DCH said: “We are delighted that this fantastic scheme at Windmill Hill, Grampound Road is complete. The new homes are an example of DCH’s commitment to delivering rural housing where there is need and the value of affordable housing in keeping local communities and villages alive. DCH is offering a unique range of energy efficient homes to local families at Grampound Road, including shared ownership (part rent and part buy), and for affordable rent (80% market rent inclusive of service charges) at this beautiful rural development.”
The new homes at Grampound Road are part of a spearheading agreement with Cornwall Council which launched in 2013 and will see DCH deliver 500 affordable homes for Cornwall over the next 4 years. DCH’s £55m investment programme in Cornwall, supported with £10m investment from Cornwall Council, will deliver homes for rent and shared ownership as part of DCH’s development activities.
Mike Eathorne-Gibbons, Cornwall Councillor for Ladock, St Clement and St Erme, said: “There is a strong need for local affordable housing and I feel sure the new tenants will welcome attractive, well laid out buildings in an attractive position. DCH have an excellent reputation and I hope it works out well for all concerned.”
Whilst the majority of investment funding is from DCH, these homes have also seen £704,000 investment from Cornwall Council , £388,215 new investment from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA); and £194,250 HCA Recycled Capital Grant funding.
Cornwall Council cabinet member for homes and communities Geoff Brown said: “It is great news that by working together we have been able to provide another 44 quality affordable homes to meet local need.”
Debra Saunders , Head of Marketing and Sales at DCH said: “The shared ownership properties have generated significant interest, which demonstrates the level of demand for these high quality affordable homes. We have already taken a number of early reservations. Our shared ownership range of properties for sale can be viewed on our website, including Grampound Road.”
DCH has worked closely with local architects StudioArc, Cornwall Council’s Affordable Housing and Planning teams, together with the contractor Kier Living to design and deliver a scheme which will meet the identified local need. Rented properties were allocated through Cornwall Homechoice to applicants in the highest band with a priority to those who have a local connection to the parish.
Those interested in purchasing one of the new shared ownership homes should contact the DCH sales team on email@example.com or visit the DCH website.
Story posted 19 August 2014
Local residents invited to sit on new Community Trust
A new charity being set up in St Dennis and Nanpean to distribute the funding which has been given to the local area as a result of the construction of the Cornwall Energy Recovery Centre is looking to appoint seven local residents as trustees.
St Dennis and St Stephen Parish Councils are setting up the Community Trust which will be responsible for awarding funding to local projects. The seven local residents will be responsible for representing local people and their priorities and will join six trustees appointed from the two parish councils in assessing grant applications and awarding funds to deserving projects.
Cllr Julia Clarke, Chairman of St Dennis Parish Council, said “In the first year the Trust will be responsible for around £200,000, so people becoming trustees can make a real difference to this area. We are looking for positive people who can put their energy into getting this going. ”
Trustees should be aged 18 or over and live within the parish of St Dennis or Nanpean, Treviscoe, Goonabarn, Stepaside, Trethosa, Gothers and Enniscaven.
Cornwall Councillor Fred Greenslade added ” This is the culmination of a lot of work by the Parish Councils and Cornwall Council working together to set up this company to deliver the funds. Several exciting ideas have already come forward and no doubt there will be more.
“Don’t forget that St Dennis Parish Council is already open for grants to help with any educational needs from the £15,000 per year Education Grant for persons in the St Dennis and Nanpean Division.”
Letters containing further details will be sent to householders in the area and anyone interested is asked to register their name and address with Wendy Yelland, Clerk to St Dennis Parish Council, by 9 September.
Wendy can be contacted via ClayTAWC, Fore Street, St. Dennis Cornwall PL26 8AF or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Story posted 15 August 2014