REPORT TO THE FARINGDON DIVISON (Buckland, Buscot, Coleshill, Eaton Hastings, Faringdon, Gainfield, Gt Coxwell, Littleworth and Lt Coxwell) JANUARY 2019
FROM CLLR Judith Heathcoat
First of all, may I open my usual monthly report by wishing you all a Very Happy 2019
GENERAL OCC REPORT
BUDGET PROPOSALS – an update since my November/December Report
Tough decisions taken since 2010 have created a route to financial stability at OCC as the council plans to set its 2019/20 budget at a time when all councils face financial challenges. The main budget proposals are:
- Investment of almost £6m by 2023 to increase care packages to meet assessed needs for adults with learning and physical disabilities. (Adult Social Care)
- An increase of £5.8m is proposed to be added to the budget in 2022/23 in adult social care to meet projected increased need as a result of the aging population. The council’s existing planning up to 2021/22 already includes provision for budget increases of £5.0m in 2019/20 and 2020/21 and £5.6m in 2021/22. (Adult Social Care)
(As I have held the Cabinet Portfolio for Adult Social Care in the previous two OCC Administrations I am very aware just how important this investment and increase will be. We are all living longer and many of us with complex health needs).
- Invest £3.2m up to 2023 (£800,000 per year) to support the increasing number of children qualifying for school transport – in particular children with special educational needs. (Children, Education and Families)
- Invest £17m to support the predicted increasing numbers of children in care, including more permanent care staff (Children, Education and Families)
(This investment is needed and with pressures being experienced not only in Adult Social Care but equally in Children, Education and Families I am pleased that due to wise financial management we are able to do this – unlike other local authorities which you will have read about and heard about both in the local media and nationally).
With regard to Council Tax, the council’s plan – agreed at the last budget in February 2018 – to raise Council Tax by 2.99 per cent in 2019/20 and 1.99 per cent in the years thereafter remains the same in the new budget proposals. However, funding for local government beyond 2020 is currently uncertain, with councils waiting for funding decisions from central government which will not be known until late 2019.
DELIVERING AN OLDER PEOPLE’S STRATEGY FOR OXFORDSHIRE
Living longer and living better is the drive behind a new Older People’s Strategy for Oxfordshire.
The strategy sets out how OCC and Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group will deliver a positive future for the county’s older population. It was developed following feedback over a three-month period. Residents, health and charity organisations, professionals, businesses, the public sector and community groups were engaged in the strategy development so it could be grounded in what people tell us matters most to them. The strategy’s vision and priorities were specifically co-produced with a wide range of people whose work and lives it affects. The strategy will be used to inform the planning, commissioning and delivery of services across Oxfordshire and will be monitored by the Better Care Fund Joint Management Group reporting to the Health and Wellbeing Board. To read the strategy and have your say online visit here https://consult.oxfordshireccg.nhs.uk/consult.ti/OPLLLB/consultationHome or request a paper copy of the strategy by calling 01865 334638. The closing date for comments is Feb 1, 2019.
DAYTIME SUPPORT SUSTAINABILITY GRANT AWARDS
Twenty-nine organisations have been recommended to receive grants from the county council’s adult social care Sustainability Fund. The fund was established last year as part of measures designed to enable the ongoing delivery of daytime support services in Oxfordshire. A grant pot of £250,000 was approved for 2019/20 and community and voluntary organisations were invited to apply for the fund between September 12 and November 2. To allocate the funding to as many organisations as possible, a panel of county councillors and people representing daytime services recommended that a maximum level of 70 per cent of the amount awarded in 2018/19 should be made where applicable. Among those services recommended for funding are Day Break Oxford (£50,000), Age UK (£27,500), October Club (£14,000) and Aspire (£12,500) and last but, by no means least the Faringdon Bromsgrove Day Centre will receive a grant of £5,000. Applications totalling £244,847 went before Cabinet on December 18.
SEND SUFFICIENCY STRATEGY GAINS APPROVAL
Plans to create significant new provision for Oxfordshire children with special educational needs (SEND) have been agreed by councillors, with a £15m investment set to create 300 new places which will involve a major rebuild for Northfield School in Oxford. The county council has conducted a wide-ranging review of its special educational needs provision in light of the large increases in the numbers of children with such needs entering the educational system in recent years and the forecast for continued increases in the future. The rebuild of Northfield School would be accompanied by a new school at Bloxham Grove in North Oxfordshire (due to open in 2020) and at Valley Park, Didcot (target date 2023) as part of a free school application process. At a national level, the Department for Education will be rolling out a new assessment approach for pupils with complex disabilities, from 2020. DfE has said “The statutory assessment will replace P scales 1 to 4 and will be based on the ‘7 aspects of engagement’, an assessment approach that focuses on pupils abilities in specific areas like awareness, curiosity and anticipation”. A guidance and training package will be developed and delivered to schools, local authorities, Ofsted and parents prior to programme roll out.
£10 MILLION PROGRAMME DELIVERING ROAD REPAIRS GETS £7M BOOST
Journeys on Oxfordshire’s roads have already been significantly improved in recent months thanks to an extra £10million being spent by OCC this year on repairing and improving road surfaces. Government announced in November that OCC would get £7.4 in additional funding to top-up this activity. A range of different methods of road repair and sealing are used to extend the life of county roads and reduce the likelihood of potholes forming which include resurfacing, patching, Dragon-patching and surface dressing.
OCC WELCOMES GOVERNMENT’S WASTE STRATEGY
OCC has welcomed the government’s new Waste and Resources Strategy for England, describing it as “ambitious”, with the potential to “transform the way that waste is viewed and managed.” Key points within the strategy include:
- Introduction of a Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers to improve the amount recycled when out and about (known as ‘on the go’ recycling)
- Improved and extended redistribution of surplus food from businesses, and mandatory food waste collections from businesses and households.
- A national recycling target of 65 percent by 2035 (current national recycling rate is 45 percent)
OCC is committed to protecting the local environment as part of its Thriving Communities initiative.
OCC BEST PERFORMING COUNTY COUNCIL IN ENGLAND FOR ITS RECYCLING RATES
Oxfordshire has been named the best performing county council waste disposal authority in England for its recycling rates during 2017/18. The success reflects OCC’s commitment to work with districts to protect the environment. Figures published on Tuesday 11 December by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) show that Oxfordshire is the highest performing disposal authority, ahead of Buckinghamshire and Cambridgeshire.
Oxfordshire is ‘top of the pops’ in two categories:
- The highest proportion of waste which is reused, recycled and composted (57.2%)
- The lowest amount of general waste (non-recyclable waste) produced per household (430kg).
All Oxfordshire Councils recycled over 50% in 2017/18, (the national recycling rate is 45%). The county has seven Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRCs) that provide recycling facilities for a wide range of items, from batteries to clothes, fridges to plastic garden furniture. They accept over 350 different waste streams, recycling around 60% of the waste accepted.
For further information about Oxfordshire County Council’s Household Waste Recycling Centres, visit www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/waste
SPECIFIC REPORT FOR THE FARINGDON DIVISION I have attended the two Faringdon Community College Presentation Evenings in December. I presented two prizes on 12th December – a personal prize from myself the “Judith Gillett – Personal Endeavour prize” and the prize for the best student performance at GCSE level from the Faringdon Education Activities Trust (FEAT). The second event on 19th December was the Presentation Evening for the 6th Form, and here I presented the FEAT prize for the best performance at A-level. I thoroughly enjoy attending these evenings – meeting the young people and hearing about their ambitions. We should be very proud of Faringdon Community College.
This last month there has been a raised level of unauthorised Gypsy and Traveller encampments in the City of Oxford and the County of Oxfordshire’s Park & Ride facilities. These have created significant and demanding amounts of work for our Gypsy and Traveller Team based in Bicester. The G&T Team sit within my Cabinet Portfolio and I met, just before the Christmas holiday, Thames Valley Police representatives, G&T officers and officers responsible for the Park & Ride facilities (from both the City and County) together with legal representation from both authorities to discuss and put in place a strategy going forward.
On 4th and 5th December I was in Carterton as the Cabinet Member for Community Safety to attend on the Tuesday evening, the first drill night and then on the Wednesday morning the official opening of Oxfordshire’s 25th fire station; part of the county council’s commitment to residents’ safety – the first new fire station in the county this century. The previous opened as a replacement in Eynsham in 1985. The new facility complements fire stations in Burford, Bampton and Witney, giving Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service greater call-out flexibility.
I have Chaired the Faringdon Area Traffic Advisory Committee meeting on 7th December – this group meets quarterly. On the agenda there is a slot for public speaking and folk to attend to speak on their concerns. The next meeting is on 1st March in the Faringdon Community Centre/Pump House and opens at 0930.
My next surgery in the Faringdon Library at 1000-1130 is on Saturday 2nd February if you wish to attend. I can also be reached by telephone on 01367 241468 or by email on Judith.email@example.com.
Judith Heathcoat, C/Cllr Faringdon Division, Deputy Leader Oxfordshire County Council