Council’s Cabinet votes to retain mobile library service in Cornwall
Members of Cornwall Council’s Cabinet have listened to the views of local residents on the importance of the mobile library service in Cornwall and have voted to retain one mobile library van to service a reduced number of stops at the same time as developing more micro libraries in local communities and expanding the Home Library Service.
Following significant cuts in Government funding the Council needs to find savings of £196m over the next five years. As well as identifying further efficiencies, including a reduction in the number of senior managers, the authority is also being forced to look at delivering a range of services in different ways.
Faced with a 50% reduction in the mobile library budget from £310,000 to £155,000 in the current financial year, the Council has carried out one of the most comprehensive consultation exercises ever staged to find out the views of service users on the future of the service.
More than 2,600 members of the public took part in the 12 week consultation , which included questionnaires delivered to all current mobile library service users and available at libraries and one stop shops and meetings with organisations and community groups. The results showed the over whelming majority of members of the public wanted to retain a mobile library service in Cornwall but many communities also expressed an interest in developing micro libraries in the local community.
Outlining the results of the consultation Adam Paynter, the Council’s Cabinet member for Partnerships said “It is clear that the mobile library service is highly valued but, at the same time, many people recognised the financial pressures that the Council is facing.
“Rather than go for the two original options of retaining two mobile vans, which would not deliver the savings needed to also develop more micro libraries across Cornwall, or cutting all five vans and then using the funding to develop micro libraries and expand the home delivery service, we are proposing a third option which provides a reduced mobile library service at the same time as delivering the savings we need to make and also provides funding to develop the other aspects of the service.
“I would like to thank all the members of the public who took the time to give us their views, and the staff who helped organise the consultation. This was not an easy decision to make. I am particularly encouraged by the enthusiasm of the 33 local communities who have already expressed an interest in developing a micro library in their area and look forward to working with them and with local Members. “
Under Option 3, which will now be implemented by 1 April 2015, a single mobile library van will provide a monthly service to 172 stops across Cornwall. Further discussions will now take place with local Cornwall Councillors and communities to identify which stops best meet the needs of specific local areas.
There are currently 7 micro libraries in Cornwall that operate as part of the Councils library service, five “Pub is the Hub” schemes, one in Roche Community café and also in the St Dennis Community Centre. Under this option the Council will provide up to a £1,000 funding to develop a further 28 schemes in the first year, with more funding available in subsequent years. These could be set up in a variety of venues, including village halls and community centres, schools, village shops and post offices and churches.
Funding will also be used to expand the Home Library Service which is delivered in partnership with the Royal Voluntary Service. There are currently 571 registered users of the service which uses RVS volunteers to deliver library books to members of the library who are unable to access either a static or mobile library. The results of the consultation show that there are a considerable number of vulnerable people who could benefit from this service. This option will enable additional funding to be provided to potentially increase the number of users to 1,000.
Mark Read, Head of Customers and Communities for the Council added “After an excellent debate, we are pleased that the Cabinet chose to follow the recommendation to implement option 3 and work will now start on engaging with staff, current service users and communities as we move towards implementing this library model over the coming months”.
Story posted 30 July 2014
Reports of cold callers in Newquay and Hayle prompts Cornwall Trading Standards to issue new warning
Cornwall Trading Standards is issuing fresh advice to householders following a report of suspect tree surgeons operating in Newquay and the arrest of a man who used aggressive sales tactics and tried to overcharge a lady in Hayle.
In Newquay, the so called tree surgeons cold called at a property and quoted £140 for work on a tree which was then hastily reduced to £40 when the resident stated she was unable to pay. The resident described the state of the tree as “hacked to pieces” when the men left.
The men did not provide the resident with the required paperwork nor with her legally required 14 day cooling off period.
In another unrelated incident, a man was arrested in Hayle last week following a report of bogus landscaping work.
Devon and Cornwall Police were alerted to two men carrying out work at a property in Hayle. The men, who are believed to work throughout Cornwall, quoted over £3000 to lay gravel and fix a door at the home of an elderly female.
The vast overcharge and aggressive sales tactics used resulted in an arrest and one of the men was later interviewed by Cornwall Trading Standards and bailed whilst investigations continue.
Trading Standards urge everyone to be on their guard when it comes to traders knocking on your door trying to gain work. Residents should always obtain several quotes for work and should never part with cash on the doorstep.
Allan Hampshire, Cornwall Council’s Head of Public Protection and Business Support urged home-owners to be on their guard: “Cornwall seems to be particularly targeted by every fraudster, con-man, scammer and doorstep criminal at the moment. As much as my officers are trying to catch these crooks and bring them to account we are keen to ensure that no-one else becomes a victim. Our advice is simple; NEVER deal with anyone who turns up at your door without an appointment; NEVER pay money to anyone who calls you on the phone. If you do need work doing on your home, always obtain more than one quote and only deal with firms you know.”
There are a number of consumer protection laws that Cornwall Trading Standards can enforce. These include your right to cancel a contract, misrepresentations made by traders and membership or endorsements by trade bodies.
- If you agree a contract in your home, you must be given a written cancellation notice detailing a 14 day cooling off period in which you can cancel the contract;
- If a trader does not give you a cancellation notice they have committed a criminal offence;
- If you want the work to start within the 14 day cooling off period then you have to give the trader written permission;
- If you are not given a cancellation notice then you may not have to pay for the work that was done.
If anyone has any concerns they should contact Cornwall Council Trading Standards on 0300 1234 19, contact Devon and Cornwall Police on 101 or in an emergency dial 999 and speak to the Police.
Story posted 30 July 2014
Cornwall IFCA appoints new Chief Officer
Sam Davis has been appointed as the new Chief Officer of Cornwall IFCA. Sam will be shadowing the current chief, Eddy Derriman until his retirement in March 2015.
Sam Davis was previously the Principal Scientific Officer and has been with Cornwall IFCA, and formerly Cornwall Sea Fisheries Committee since 1999. Sam will be the first woman to be appointed to the chief officer role of any of the ten Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities in England. Sam was born in Cornwall and has dedicated her professional career to managing the natural environment in Cornwall.
Sam said” I am excited and honored to be taking on this role. Cornwall IFCA has some significant challenges to meet over the next few years, however I will be working with a great team and will be building on some significant recent successes.”
Cornwall IFCA manages the inshore fisheries around the Cornish coast to the six nautical mile limit. Cornwall IFCA is responsible for managing the sustainable exploitation of marine resources in its district. It does this by creating and enforcing local byelaws, as well as enforcing relevant EU and national legislation.
Story posted 29 July 2014
Bodmin parents are prosecuted for failing to ensure that their child attends school regularly
The parents of a secondary school pupil from the Bodmin area have been given a two year conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs of £1,245 for failing to ensure their child attends school on a regular basis.
The parents pleaded guilty to the offence of failing to ensure their child attended regularly at Brannel Community School. The court was told that the Year 11 pupil had 168 unauthorised absences out of a possible 176 sessions between 5 November 2013 and 31 March 2014. This meant he had attended just 8 sessions ( 4 full days ) during this period.
As well as the £1,245 costs the parents were also each ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £15 each.
John Heath, the Council’s Principal Education Welfare Officer, hopes that the sentence will send a very clear message to other parents and carers who are failing to fulfil their legal duty to ensure that their children attend school regularly.
“Education Welfare Officers in Cornwall work closely with schools, parents and pupils to try to sort out attendance issues” he said.
“This may involve arranging home and school visits to discuss the situation. They will try to find out the reasons why the child is not attending school and take steps to try and get the child back into school. This includes offering support or signposting to other agencies. “
“Prosecution is a last resort when everything else has failed. Where parents are finally taken to court for school attendance offences they do run the risk of being fined or even sent to prison."
Story posted 29 July 2014
Big thank you to Cornish businesses for supporting work experience
Thousands of businesses in Cornwall have given young people an insight into employment and careers over the summer by providing a work experience placement.
The past few weeks has seen over 5700 Year 10 and Year 12 students from Cornwall’s schools sampling the world of work. Over 3000 businesses opened their doors to students to do work experience.
‘‘Local employers are incredibly supportive of the Work Experience Scheme in what is an immensely valuable opportunity for every pupil involved” said Gavin Stephens, Cornwall Learning Education Business Partnership, which manages the Work Experience Scheme for schools.
“Schools, young people, their teachers and parents really appreciate the way that employers and businesses support the work experience scheme in Cornwall” he added. “Without this, many young people would not get their first taste of work and the expectations, responsibilities and joys that come with their future career. We want to say a big ‘Thank You’ to them all”.
Students found work experience placements in every employment sector in Cornwall including retail, engineering, primary schools, hairdressers, restaurants, hotels, estate agents, building contractors, hospitals, and with Devon and Cornwall Police.
Typical comments from employers fed back to schools about their students included: “Just absolutely outstanding, the best students I have had in eight years of taking them. They are a credit to the school’; “We really appreciate their hard work. They were helpful and enthusiastic at all times”.
Some students impressed their employers so much that they secured paid part time and summer jobs, and many will be missed following their Work Experience placement. One such student is Sam Weedon, from Wadebridge School.
Tom Irons, Manager of MGC Engineering Ltd said: “It’s not the same at crib time without Sam. It’s been a pleasure having Sam here for work (and life) experience!”
Seven parks and open spaces in Cornwall awarded Green Flag
Seven parks and open spaces in Cornwall have once again been recognised as being amongst the best green spaces in the country as they are awarded prestigious Green Flags.
The Green Flag national award from environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy recognises and rewards the best parks and green spaces across the country. The award is a sign to visitors that the space boasts the highest possible standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent facilities.
The Council’s Green Flag winners are:
Edwina Hannaford, Cornwall Council’s Portfolio Holder for Environment, Heritage and Planning said, “Huge congratulations to everyone involved with all of our Green Flag winners. This is a prestigious award and I’m delighted that seven popular parks and open spaces in Cornwall have retained their Green Flag status. This is great recognition for staff and volunteers who work so hard to make sure these well used and much loved locations can continue to be popular with local residents and visitors of all ages.”
Cornwall chosen to undertake Rewiring Licensing project
Cornwall Council has been chosen to examine how the complicated licensing system in England can be simplified with the aim of creating a single business licence.
The Council has been awarded grant funding from the Better Regulation Delivery Office (part of the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills), to carry out a pathfinder project, the only one in England, to explore how the Local Government Association’s Rewiring Licensing proposals can work in practice to create a new licensing blueprint.
At the moment, businesses have to apply to their local authority for a variety of licences. The aim of this project is to examine what changes councils need to make for it to be possible for a single business licence to be issued on a licence-for-life basis; to simplify the process of setting up businesses and make it easier for businesses to work with councils.
The grant will give Cornwall Council the opportunity to map out existing licensing workflows and understand what changes would need to be made to deliver the objective of a single business licence.
Various services within Cornwall Council issue around 8,000 to 10,000 business authorisations a year. This includes services such as licensing, food and Health & Safety, environmental protection, Street Works, housing, Cornwall Fire & Rescue Service, Trading Standards and registration. Having to make several applications to a number of various Council services can impact on the local economy and inhibit growth.
Cornwall Council Head of Public Protection & Business Support Allan Hampshire said: “The project is expected to take six months and will include mapping a typical set of activities for both start-up and established businesses. We will also want to work with local businesses and trade associations to better understand their needs in terms of a simplified licensing system. We will be exploring options that will work better for councils and businesses such as a single licensing application form, a council licensing single point of contact, online accessibility and flexible payment options.”
Business Minister Matthew Hancock said: “This Government is ripping out the red tape that holds firms back. We’ve scrapped over 1,000 regulations, saving firms £1.5 billion and we’re on track to be the first government in modern history to leave office with fewer regulations than when we came in.
“I am delighted that a simplified licensing system is being examined by Cornwall Council; this would help free businesses from unnecessary bureaucracy and enable them to focus on creating growth and jobs.”
Cornwall Council cabinet member for homes and communities Geoff Brown said: “Our successful award application demonstrates that this Council is highly regarded and I am delighted that we have been chosen to spearhead this important piece of work.”
Power to the people of St Eval through creation of Neighbourhood Development Plan
St Eval has become the first parish council in Cornwall to produce its Neighbourhood Development Plan for formal consultation.
Local councils across the UK were given the powers to develop Neighbourhood Development Plans as part of the 2011 Localism Act. Since then more than 60 parishes across Cornwall have begun work on developing plans for their local areas.
St Eval became one of the first local councils to formally designate its parish as a Neighbourhood Development Area following concerns over Ministry of Defence (MoDʼs) plans to sell some of its land at Trevisker. The proposal to develop a Neighbourhood Development Plan was seen by both the parish council and the local community as an opportunity to shape future development in the area at the same time as safeguarding and enhancing valued characteristics.
Since then St Eval has successfully consulted local residents on the draft Neighbourhood Development Plan through extensive community engagement events, questionnaires and social media sites. The plan was then submitted to Cornwall Council for legal compliance checks.
The next stage of the process involves a formal consultation process carried out by Cornwall Council. This began on 16 July and will run until 27 August. Once this has been completed the Plan will move forward to the independent examination in September, with a referendum being carried out in the autumn.
Julie Baker, Chair of St Eval’s Neighbourhood Development Plan, said “We are extremely pleased to have reached this milestone as it represents almost three years of hard work by the local community and our supporters. It is a big step towards our vision of producing a balanced and sustainable neighbourhood plan which will reflect our aspirations for future development within the parish. We look forward to moving into the next important phase".
Edwina Hannaford, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Heritage and Planning, said “I congratulate the community of St Eval on being so advanced with their NDP. Neighbourhood planning is a powerful tool that puts local residents in the driving seat in planning for the future of their community.”
Story posted 25 July 2014