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Buckinghamshire County Council News - Buckingham and Winslow

Welcome to the January/ February edition of Buckinghamshire County Council's newsletter for this area, where your County Councillors are Warren Whyte (Buckingham East division), Robin Stuchbury (Buckingham West) and John Chilver (Winslow). Places such as Little Horwood, Shalstone and Chetwode are also included within this area. Please email Adam King at aking@buckscc.gov.uk with upcoming events you’d like included. The next edition will be out in March.

Cabinet team visit Winslow to check progress of cycleway

Buckinghamshire County Council Transport Cabinet Member Mark Shaw and his Deputy, Paul Irwin, have visited Winslow to see the progress of the town’s new cycleway.

Their visit followed the announcement by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling of fresh impetus for East West Rail, which will link Oxford, Aylesbury, Milton Keynes and Bedford through Winslow, by setting up a single organisation to design and build it.

When the line opens in the early 2020s, the cycleway will provide a valuable 'green' travel link direct to the new Winslow station, which it is estimated should handle more than half a million passenger journeys annually by 2031.

Mark said the £2.5 million shared cycleway-footway, paid for from a developer contribution and a Local Growth Fund grant through the Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership, will be an improvement to the county's travel network. 

He said: 'I'm very pleased with the speedy progress being made with the cycleway, and I hope that what the Transport Secretary is doing for East West Rail will speed the project so that trains can serve Winslow sooner than later.'.

Over the whole project more than 2,000 tonnes of recycled stone, and almost 1,700 tonnes of tarmac have been used.
Buckingham East division: Update from Councillor Warren Whyte

Regional Flood & Coastal Committee
I have been representing Buckingham and North Bucks at the Environment Agency's Anglia Central Regional Flood & Coastal Committee. After flooding in Buckingham and Leckhampstead last year, I was pleased that the county council has been able to undertake a thorough review (called Section 19 reports) of these incidents, and is working closely with the town council in developing a new flood plan.
 
Silverstone Park
As one of the district's Enterprise Zones, I was delighted to be present at the connection of the new power supply earlier this month which will enable the next phases of the development. Silverstone Park forms an important part of the growing high tech motorsport industry. I'm working closely with the county highways team and Stowe Parish to develop proposals with the developer to reduce speeding in Dadford and to find ways to improve safe cycling. I attend the quarterly community liaison meetings for both Silverstone Park and Circuit, and welcome any topics that residents would like to be considered at future meetings.
 
Community Transport
At the Local Area Forum meeting before Christmas, I launched my community transport initiative to investigate future options for local transport in and around Buckingham. The first meeting of the group is on Tuesday, February 7 at 6:30pm in the small meeting room at Buckingham Library. If people would like to attend or to get involved, they can contact Simon at sgarwood@buckscc.gov.uk or 01296 383478.

Town centre pedestrian crossing
I was approached by Buckingham Access for All to find out if the town centre crossing time could be increased to help with providing an easier crossing. I'm pleased to say that Transport for Bucks was able to alter the timings for the green man phase.
 
Travel map
The new ‘Travel to Buckingham and Winslow’ map is available to pick up from Buckingham and Winslow libraries and Buckingham tourist information office. It shows all public transport and cycle and walking routes in area including a useful summary to bus frequencies and index to places served.
 
Library
The refurbished Buckingham Library is one year old. To celebrate, an open day is being held on Saturday, February 4, from 10am to 1pm. There will be children's crafts and you can discover what community services can be accessed at the library.
Buckingham West division: Update from Councillor Robin Stuchbury

The district councils have now submitted their business cases for two unitary authorities to government, following the County submitting their business case in September. We now await  news on which business case gets ministerial approval.

However, without good oversight and an in-depth delivery plan for future public services, the question of which one gets approval is academic. Without these, the plans will just not succeed. The knowledge of officers is key within vulnerable people’s services – far more important than the ambitions of councillors.

I've been asked by members of the public questions regarding Buckinghamshire Care coming back in-house. I'm content that the council officers will make sure residents don't see any impacts and I will continue to play an active role in the overview and scrutiny of these arrangements. I will also be meeting the cabinet member in person to better understand the decision.

I’m pleased The Voice Of The Child report, which I worked on as a member of the Children’s Social Care and Learning Select Committee, has been published and accepted by cabinet. Recommendations include making sure sufficient listening tools such as books, games and toys are readily available to social workers and establishing a participation group for disabled children.

It's worth saying our local authorities will be asked to deliver more when Government is continuing to reduce the revenue support grant, challenging the council’s ability to achieve positive outcomes when budgets are being cut.

Buckingham Town Council took control of Lace Hill playing fields and community centre this year and are considering buying Buckingham Community centre from Aylesbury Vale District Council and Aylesbury Vale Estates. Town Councillors have given out significant grants to underpin community projects they see, adding value to Buckingham.

Tingewick Parish Council is seeking to take over their playing fields from the County Council. Gawcott Parish Council has achieved agreement with the County Council ensuring the highway lights are now put back on between Gawcott and Buckingham through direct parish funding and County Council grants. 

2017 will continue to be nothing less than challenging regarding highways repairs, through restrictive budgets and the ability to deliver expectations within all parishes. 

Forum cash helping to save lives

Thanks to a £1,000 grant from Buckinghamshire County Council's Winslow Local Area Forum (LAF), Winslow BIG Society has been able to purchase an In Case of Emergency (ICE) card for every home in Winslow. 

The ICE card is a small medical card designed to fit in a person’s wallet, bag or pocket. Paramedics can instantly see important information to help with an emergency, such as the holder’s next of kin details, allergies and pre-existing conditions. This enables them to treat patients more safely.

Winslow BIG Society Chairman Veronica Corben said: 'These cards really can be the difference between life and death, as they give the first responder really important information about the person and their health. I'm delighted we have received funding for them from the Winslow LAF. '

As well as the ICE Cards, LAF funding was also used to buy kissing gates, community garden gates, speed warning signs and information boards. A grant has also helped to fund home visiting services for vulnerable residents and a concert organised by local young people.

Local County Councillor John Chilver, who chairs the LAF, said: 'We have a very tight knit community in Winslow, and the funding the LAF has granted should really help meet local priorities.”

Cllr Film
Find out what inspired these current councillors to stand for election...
Call to serve the community as a county councillor

There's less than 100 days to go before voters in Buckinghamshire go to the polls to elect the county councillors they want to represent them for the coming four years.

And with preparations for Polling Day on Thursday May 4 already underway Buckinghamshire County Council is challenging residents to consider standing as candidates.

Councillors get a programme of training, IT equipment, regular briefings and professional advice, and are entitled to a set level of allowances. 

Details about how to become a candidate for the county elections: http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/council-and-democracy/be-a-county-councillor   Nomination packs are available from your local district council and include details on how to complete and return the nomination forms.

Officer is Guardian's Public Servant of the Year

A Buckinghamshire County Council officer has been crowned The Guardian's Public Servant of the Year.

Helen Backus set up Bucks’ Life Skills Centres in Aylesbury and Flackwell Heath in response to a staggering 90% of disabled young people having to leave the county to continue their post-16 education. Five years later the figure is just 10%, with the centres having helped more than 200 young people.

She said: "I'm very proud of how the Life Skills Centres have changed the lives of hundreds of young people, but they wouldn't have got off the ground without the support of so many people both at Buckinghamshire County Council and our wider partners such as the colleges.

"The young people and their families who took the brave steps with me when the centres were set up have also been incredible and I can’t thank them enough for their support."

You can find an at-a-glance comparison between the two business cases on our futurebucks.co.uk website
'Secretary of State has clear choice before him' over unitary plans

Buckinghamshire County Council leader Martin Tett has welcomed the submission of the districts’ business case for two unitary councils to the government,.

It comes after the County Council submitted its case for a single, Bucks-wide unitary council to the DCLG in September.

Martin said: "The Secretary of State now has a clear choice before him and it is accepted by all parties that the status quo is not an option. It is in the interests of local residents and businesses that a clear decision is made by Mr Javid as soon as possible, and that this decision is respected and accepted by all parties. 

“We have set out a clear, positive case for Buckinghamshire which recognises that the county is high performing economically and that all our councils are good. 

"However, all parties accept that a single unitary council would save the most money, protecting frontline services at a time when Buckinghamshire’s councils are facing severe financial challenges and better representing our residents’ interests locally and nationally. 

"There are clearly national pressures around children’s and adults’ services in particular and we need to find sustainable solutions to these issues at a local level.

“Our business case contains concrete information on how a new single unitary council would operate. It includes detailed proposals on how it would connect with local communities, such as with the introduction of community boards and hubs, which would offer a physical presence in 19 locations throughout the county. It also sets out how it would drive improvements by bringing together council social care and the Buckinghamshire NHS. 

“Our case is about creating a new council that’s sustainable, local and fit for the future, taking the best features of all five county and district councils.

“I firmly believe that one new, single council for Buckinghamshire will best serve the county’s residents and businesses. It would be a fresh start for Buckinghamshire and will make public services simpler, better value and more efficient, and will bring truly local services to all our communities."

A conference for town and parish councils was held by Buckinghamshire County Council to explore in detail the future of local government in the county.


Active Bucks activities taking place in your area

 
Do your residents know they can access a voucher to attend a local activity session for free? There are over 2500 weekly activities to choose from across Buckinghamshire, and you can filter by distance, day of the week, time of day and activity type.  Visit www.activebucks.co.uk.  
 
Active Bucks is also offering a number of new activities across Bucks based on the feedback of over 3500 Bucks residents. Many activities target beginners and so we’re particularly keen to encourage residents who do little or no activity!
 
View all the activities Active Bucks are offering in the Buckingham area and the Winslow area.
 
Can you help us to promote Active Bucks to your residents?  We can provide everything you need to make it as easy as possible.  This could include: 
  1. Promoting www.activebucks.co.uk on your website or newsletter/magazine – we can provide text and images if required
  2. Show your support via your social media channels  
  3. Distributing Active Bucks posters/postcards in local venues – let us know what you require
Travel to school congestion prompts inquiry

An inquiry into the use of cars to get children to and from school is being launched by Buckinghamshire County Council.

Members of the Transport, Environment and Communities Select Committee say they want to explore alternative, healthier options for parents and carers to make the school journey.

Chairman David Carroll said that with planned housing growth across Buckinghamshire, school expansion and new school building could lead to worse congestion and parking around roads serving schools.

Early next month the Select Committee will hold two days of evidence gathering from head teachers, travel planning co-ordinators, Junior Road Safety Officers, police, fire service community safety officers, and national experts.
Schools can save money with green scheme

Schools across Bucks are being invited to make a New Year resolution to save energy, cut carbon emissions, and save money.

In the latest round of RE:fit, a three-year County Council programme started in 2015 to reduce energy consumption and cut carbon emissions by 10%, schools are being offered a package of new lighting, along with heating and energy controls. Annual cost savings could amount to 12%.

Four schools - at Great Horwood, Waddesdon, Hazlemere and High Wycombe - took part in a pilot with a total investment of £115,000. Annual energy cost reductions of more than £11,000 will save the County Council around a quarter of a million pounds within 25 years.

They have had new economical LED lighting and sensors installed, and one - Millbrook Combined, in High Wycombe - has had state-of-the-art efficient heat and pool pumps fitted.

The RE:fit programme is now being opened up to all schools.

During the coming year, 11 libraries across the county will get new LED lighting, heating controls and timers at a cost of around £130,000. Annual savings are expected to be more than £15,000. 
How you can help hold council to account

Ever wanted to quiz the County Council on the services it provides or believed a certain issue should be put under the microscope?

Well, there’s a way you can make your voice heard and bring decision-makers to account, by playing a part in the Council’s scrutiny process. The authority’s four Select Committees act as watchdogs, holding investigations and making recommendations to improve services. Residents can provide evidence for inquiries or suggest topics for the Committees to examine, as well as attending meetings or watching them online.

Topics being put under the spotlight soon are: 
•    Special educational needs & disabilities strategy and  2016 educational attainment (Children’s Social Care and Learning Select Committee on March 21). 
•    Reviews of diabetes and musculoskeletal services in Bucks (Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee on March 28).
•    The implications of the ‘growth agenda’ in the county (Transport, Environment and Communities Select Committee on March 7).

Around nine out of ten recommendations made by the Committees - which are made up of Councillors from across the political divide - are adopted by the Council and regular reviews are held to ensure they’re being implemented.

For more information on how to get involved, log on to http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/services/council-and-democracy/getting-involved/how-to-get-involved/
Changes to pothole and street light reporting

As from February 1, the County Council is encouraging all residents and Parish Councils to use its online reporting system to make them aware of potholes and defective street lights.

Significant improvements have been made to this tool which allows customers to receive updates direct to their inbox on how the council is resolving the issue. If a customer who phones in feels that a pothole or streetlight defect presents a risk of serious injury, they will be put through to the council’s Emergency Team.
 
In addition, online ‘contact us’ forms have been created on the County Council’s website, making it easier to deal with enquiries. These forms will direct people to the appropriate page to assist them, alternatively there is a general enquiry form to complete if they cannot find the answer or page they are looking for.  

The forms are designed to gather the appropriate information required to answer enquiries at the first point of contact  as they ensure all the necessary information has been logged right from the start. Currently many emails sent to the council contain incomplete information, causing delays in response.
 
From March 1, residents and parish councils will only be able to contact the council for Transport for Bucks-related queries via the Transport for Buckinghamshire online Contact us form, our Online Reporting System or telephone.
 
These upgrades are part of a wider plan to improve the customer experience for residents and parish councils.
 
John Chilver, Cabinet Member for Resources, said: “These new online forms will save residents and parish councils time, by preventing delays due to missing information, while also allowing them to track the progress of their report. They will also save the council thousands of pounds, as it is much cheaper to respond to web forms than emails or phone calls.”
Ofsted: 'Steady progress' in Children's Services

The County Council is making ‘steady progress’ to improve children’s social care services in Buckinghamshire and is ‘strengthening practice’, according to Ofsted in their monitoring visit letter published earlier this month.
 
Ofsted noted that ‘social work practice has improved for children entering care in the last six months’ and that ‘decisions for children to become looked after in the vast majority of cases seen by inspectors were timely and appropriate’; Ofsted also noted that ‘whilst management oversight is evident in case files, meetings and supervision, it is not always effective in driving children’s care plans’.
 
Lin Hazell, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “Overall we are pleased that Ofsted are seeing continued and sustained improvement in many areas. It’s reassuring that Ofsted recognise how engaged our social workers are with their children, visiting them often, building good relationships with them and that children’s wishes and feelings are heard and acted on. I’m also pleased that it has been noted that the social care leadership team is effective in achieving improvements.
 
“We are of course aware that there is still much more to do and we all continue to work hard to achieve the level of service that our children and young people deserve.”
 

"Consider speaking to a pharmacist before heading to your GP"

By Dr Graham Jackson, GP and Chair of NHS Aylesbury Vale Clinical Commissioning Group

Health services across the nation face challenging times this winter, and ours in Bucks are no exception.

Our local services are robust and reliable, but you can help us ensure they are operating at their best for those who are most in need.

Illnesses like coughs, colds and sickness bugs have made unwelcome appearances and recent plummeting temperatures have helped them take hold. If you have a ‘minor’ illness, please consider consulting your pharmacist for guidance. They are highly trained professionals and can offer excellent advice and very effective products to treat your symptoms.

For many minor ailments antibiotics are of no value – making an appointment with your GP unlikely to offer better treatment than your pharmacy. By managing illnesses like this yourself you can help us keep GP appointments for those people in greatest need.

There are also online options for advice - the Health Help Now NHS website (www.healthhelpnow.nhs.uk ) can check symptoms and suggest the best service in Bucks for you. The NHS Choices website (www.nhs.uk)   has excellent advice on illnesses and you can call NHS 111 for more guidance.

By taking a little care over what treatment you seek, you can help our health services run smoothly for everyone in 2017.

Love weddings? Then this is the job for you!

If you love weddings, then there’s a job going that will give you the best seat in the house, each and every time.

Due to an increase in the number of civil and celebrant weddings, Buckinghamshire County Council has launched a recruitment drive for more Registrars – with an outgoing personality, attention to detail and neat handwriting (you only get one chance on the wedding certificate) all essential qualities.

Rachel Grant, who has been a Registrar for seven years, combining it with her career as an air stewardess, said: “It’s a great job and no two days are the same.You get to meet so many people, and you’re dealing with them at these really important times in their lives. My customer service experience has really stood me in good stead.”

The work on offer is flexible, which Rachel said allows her to combine the two jobs and have a healthy work-life balance.

The registration team has two main offices in Aylesbury and Beaconsfield Old Town but registrars will be expected to work county wide in the 70-plus licensed venues and registration offices. The hourly rate is £11.38.

Applications close on February 6. See http://jobs.buckscc.gov.uk Ref: FS04504

Call to bring out your unsung heroes!

Buckinghamshire's Honours and Awards Committee is actively seeking the county's unsung heroes for future acclaim.

The committee was set up last year to make sure a broader reach of people who give exceptional service to the community get royal recognition.

Honours Committee Chairman Alexander Boswell said: "A national honour or award is a way of saying 'thank you' to those who have made a significant contribution."

He said making a nomination was easy, using the Government's nomination website: https://www.gov.uk/honours/nominate-someone-in-the-uk  The County Council website provides information and guidance:  http://www.buckscc.gov.uk/about-your-council/council-structure/lord-lieutenant/ 

The Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Lieutenancy Office works closely with the Cabinet Office and Government departments to review and contribute to the nominations made by people for local residents.
 

Lifestyle coaching for people at risk of diabetes

People at risk of Type 2 diabetes in Buckinghamshire will be offered tailored support to avoid the potentially life-threatening condition. 

A successful bid to be selected by NHS England as participants in the pioneering NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme was put together by the clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and county council public health departments in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. 

As a result, from April, people identified as being at high risk by their GP will be offered education and lifestyle coaching to reduce their risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Dr Stuart Logan, Clinical Director for Long Term Conditions for both Buckinghamshire CCGs, said: "We know that people who are helped to make lifestyle changes can dramatically reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, so we are delighted to be able to increase the diabetes prevention work we are doing and know that this will benefit more people in the local area.” 

Anyone worried about the risk of diabetes and what they can do to reduce their risk can find out more at www.nhs.uk/diabetes

Poster competition for Armed Forces Day

Children across Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes are being given the unique opportunity to show their support for our Armed Forces by taking part in a poster competition for this year’s Armed Forces Day.

The competition is open to all primary school aged children and the winning design will feature on the front of the programme for the Armed Forces Day event which takes place at Aylesbury Rugby Club on Saturday 17 June. 

Entries can be as colourful and creative as possible and ideally unique to Buckinghamshire in some way. They also need to be size A4 portrait and must contain the wording/title: Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Armed Forces Day 2017.

The closing date for entries is Friday 3 March.

Please send your entries to: Armed Forces Day Poster Competition, 
Civic and Ceremonial Services Team, Judges Lodgings, Buckinghamshire County Council, County Hall, Walton Street, Aylesbury HP21 1UA.

More information on the poster competition and Armed Forces Day itself can be found on the Buckinghamshire County Council website: www.buckscc.gov.uk/armedforcesday

Carers offered free flu jabs

If you are the main carer for someone who is ill, disabled or elderly, they may be put at risk if you fall ill – that's why you are likely to be eligible for a free flu jab, regardless of whether you receive Carer's Allowance.

​So that carers are protected from catching flu and passing it on to the vulnerable person who they are caring for, they are identified as an at-risk group and therefore eligible for a free NHS flu jab.

Free flu jabs are offered every year from October to the end of March the following year and are available from your GP or from a participating pharmacy.

​It couldn’t be easier to get your free flu jab, as Carers Bucks now has a discount card for carers with a number of benefits provided by local organisations, which can also be used to claim the free flu jab from a participating pharmacy.

​The list of pharmacies is here: http://www.carersbucks.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Pharmacy-flu-sign-up-201617.pdf
 
The discount card can be obtained here: http://www.carersbucks.org/services/carers-discount-card/
To subscribe to this email contact Adam King aking@buckscc.gov.uk

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