Herefordshire Council

APPROVAL OF SMALLHOLDINGS DISPOSAL PLAN

Decision type: Key

Decision status: For Determination

Notice of proposed decision first published: 25/02/2016

Decision due: Not before 7 April 2016 by Cabinet

Lead member: Cabinet Member Contracts & Assets

Lead director: Geoff Hughes

Contact: Tony Featherstone Email: afeatherstone@herefordshire.gov.uk.

Documents

Herefordshire Council

HEALTHY CHILD PROGRAMME 0-19 YEARS

Decision type: Key

Decision status: For Determination

Notice of proposed decision first published: 23/02/2016

Decision due: Not before 7 April 2016 by Cabinet

Lead member: Cabinet Member Health & Wellbeing

Lead director: Martin Samuels

Documents

Herefordshire Council

DISPOSAL OF PUBLIC TOILETS

Decision type: Key

Decision status: For Determination

Notice of proposed decision first published: 28/01/2016

Decision due: Not before 7 April 2016 by Cabinet

Lead member: Cabinet Member Contracts & Assets

Lead director: Geoff Hughes

Contact: Karen Stanton Email: kstanton@herefordshire.gov.uk.

Documents

Herefordshire Council

Hereford city centre improvements

Decision type: Key

Decision status: For Determination

Notice of proposed decision first published: 13/01/2016

Decision due: Not before 7 April 2016 by Cabinet Member Transport & Roads

Lead member: Cabinet Member Transport & Roads

Lead director: Geoff Hughes

Documents

Hereford

Is the High Town refurbishment a waste of money?

Is the proposed Hereford High Town refurbishment a waste of our money?

Hereford

The proposal to spend £2.5m on refurbishing Hereford high town refurbishment could be better spent across the county.

One Hereford councillor said “If 10% of this money were distributed around the Market Towns, just think of the difference it could make! This is just a Tory gimmick to attempt to make themselves look wonderful”

Read the full story here in the Hereford Times and let us know what you think.

Anthony Powers

Anthony Powers letter to the Hereford Times.

Anthony Powers

Herefordshire Council’s leader Councillor Tony Johnson is forgetting the rest of the county.

Councillor Johnson’s claim that Herefordshire will only survive by building roads and houses is narrow-minded and untrue. The keys to economic development are job creation and a higher-skilled workforce.

By helping to change the county’s ageing demographic, and by attracting employers in the high-tech sectors it will focus on, the new university will certainly be central to future prosperity. But the flagship Rotherwas Enterprise Zone, with its promise of thousands of new jobs, has thus far secured only one company (of a disappointing nine) from out of county, and has ‘created’ a mere 254 jobs. That’s a poor return on the tens of millions already invested, at taxpayers’ expense. Perhaps an eastern river crossing (at a fraction of the cost of a western one) as supported by the City Council and the local MP, but rejected by Cllr Johnson, would help? For new housing to be occupied by the economically active – and not just by the retired – the quality jobs that will also attract our young people to stay in, and return to, Herefordshire must be there for them.

Cllr Johnson also forgets the rest of the county. Ledbury and Ross are already well connected to population centres and markets, and over 80% of county businesses, many in rural areas, employ less than ten people. These vital SMEs, and our future businesses, need an ultra-fast broadband ‘super highway’ more than new roads.

Cllr Anthony Powers (group leader, It’s Our County)

Eat Sleep Live Herefordshire

It’s Our County visit Tourism Show at NEC

Eat Sleep Live Herefordshire JH LH

It’s Our County visit the Tourism and Travel Show

We visited two local companies today,  the ‘Rural Concierge’ and ‘Eat Sleep Live Herefordshire’, who were representing Herefordshire tourism at the National Tourism and Travel show at the NEC.
It’s Our County Chairman John Harrington said “It was great to see some wonderful local businesses putting Herefordshire on the map. They had a great response from fellow exhibitors, who were delighted to finally see Herefordshire represented again after a long absence”. IOC Vice-Chair Paul Neades added, “What I was most impressed with, more than the gumption and business drive of our exhibitors to ‘get up and go’ without a penny from our Tory Council, is the love of our gorgeous county and their determination to spread the word about just how special and unique Herefordshire is. That came across so strongly”. The huge and increasing cuts in funding for tourism, both nationally and especially on a local level, seems to at odds with the Tories boast to be the party of business. John Harrington said, “In Herefordshire, our local Conservative administration, despite boasting a glut of retired businessmen and bankers, does not see the merits of the largest and most readily available source of income stream we have in the county. The last time tourism income was measured in-county was 2011 and our income from tourism was put at nearly half a billion. Half a billion! This is more than light industry and agriculture put together. And yet, whilst we fritter tens of millions of pounds on relocating businesses 1/2 mile from their existing premises and bend over backwards to accommodate national house builders, we invest no money into growing tourism; the most democratic, cash flow and environmentally friendly business going! It is beyond comprehension. I simply genuinely do not know what the Tories are doing and more alarmingly, I suspect they don’t either. In my opinion this is a matter than needs investigating”.
This is an important area for Its Our County and we plan to do everything we can to help develop a strategy for supporting local tourism. Paul Neades said, “We know there are other groups and businesses in-county, who couldn’t make the NEC show but who are doing similar good work, trying to sustain and support our tourism sector. We would love to hear from them all and intend to organise a seminar asap. This is such a crucial revenue stream for the county and it’s people. We need to get together as an alliance to work effectively, efficiently and consistently.  It’s Our County recognises the momentous importance of tourism to the county and are determined, that unlike the Tories, we must not stick our heads in the sand for a single moment on this. We’ll be reaching out to all groups and individuals involved in the sector, we need their input to help form our policy for 2019. And we need to do what we can to support them in the meantime “.
If you work or earn an living in tourism or represent a group please get in touch.

Liz Harvey Ledbury

Cabinet Meeting Live Blog 17/03/16 by Liz Harvey

Liz Harvey Ledbury

Cabinet Meeting Live Blog 17/03/16 by Liz Harvey

To start with the minutes of the last cabinet meeting are challenged by Cllr Powers – they are not complete in terms of including the question asked of Cllr Bramer as regards evidence indicating the economic importance cultural activities deliver in Herefordshire … and Cllr Bramer’s reply refusing to acknowledge this fact beyond the narrow area of the museum. Disappointingly the Monitoring Officer points out that minutes need only be accurate in terms of what they include, not what they ommit. She will consider the matter of minutes and tehir accuracy as part of the ongoing constitutional review. Orwellian.

First up on the agenda is the SHYPP contract cuts. IOC proposed a £200k 2-year transition fund in the Budget council meeting. This proposal was defeated but the administration promised to provide the funding necessary to securely support transition. Of course this is not happening.

Instead, a 1-year transitional fund of £78k is being provided to ease the reduction to zero of the county-wide preventative support that SHYPP provide to young people in supported housing and with high levels of need but still living in their own homes. Staged questions asked by Cllr Powell to give the appearance that what is being proposed is not going to be damaging to this young people’s housing project.

Officers answer, suggesting that the council is going to use this transition period to ‘find out what the needs are of the young people who are supported by the project’. Pretty horrifying that the council doesn’t currently understand the need and the situation – before feeling confident to pull the plug on this project’s contract – given that this support service has been being built over the last 10 years.

Cllr Matthews (Independent Group Leader) asks a bunch of questions written out for him – most of which unfortunately Cllr Bowen (Chairman of General Scrutiny) – seeks assurance that responsibility for homeless young people will revert to the council in future. He also questions reference in the decision report for referencing that CAB can be of assistance in plugging service gaps – when CAB are about to close in Herefordshire … the only county in the country to close this service. Unfortunately aren’t relevant to the decision on SHYPP funding under debate.

Officers reply – implying that greater choice will be achieved by the revised service not relying on specific housing providers and housing in particular locations. Officer suggests that if not CAB then perhaps some other advice provider would be out there to satisfy any gaps created by these decisions.

Cllr Powers (IOC) asks a series of skewering questions … why did cabinet approve a homelesness strategy only last week with no mention of the existence of SHYPP – was the decision to pull the plug on SHYPP already made? Why wasn’t the £4.6m additional funding from government been used in any degree to assist with transitioning? The funding has all been put in reserves. Why hasn’t SHYPP’s own counter-proposal report been referenced in teh decision report? Why is it not listed as one of the alternatives considered?

Cllr Morgan states that the decision report needed another week’s work so it wasn’t considered at last week’s Cabinet … this doesn’t explain why the Homelessness Strategy makes no mention of the SHYPP service. She says that the council made a budget decision to move additional relief funds to reserves … what she doesn’t say is that this decision can be changed the next day – as the officers/cabinet members do regularly. Cllr Morgan says that change is inevitable and that the council may decide to change its mind in six months time if the decision looks like it was wrong.

No mention that yeterday’s budget removed the otion for SHYPP to increase its funding from housing benefit recovery of rental. No understanding of the services currently delivered by SHYPP.

Monitoring Officer clarifies that if SHYPP’s counterproposal was not relied upon by officers in making their recommendations there is no need for it to be referenced as a background report. Stunning!

Cllr Andrews (Chairman of Health Scrutiny – responsible for the SHYPP service) has no questions to ask.

Cllr Bartlett – raises concerns at the impact on young people countywide as a result of the reduced services to be provided by SHYPP.

Cabinet unanimously approve the decision to reduce funding.

Extension of the council’s agreement with the county’s Clinical Commissioning Group is approved without much discussion.

Health Visiting & School Nursing Services now up for discussion … bottom line here seems to be to unringfence funds committed to these health services in schools to enable them to be put into the Children’s Services ‘pot’. A ‘strategic redesign’ is proposed with a direct contract for one year to be awarded to Wye Valley Trust while a review of the wider commissioning strategy is undertaken.

Cllr Powell is disappointed that this single source contract is needing to be awarded when the need to combine and recommission services has been known about for ages … why are we needing to give ourselves another year to sort it all out when the cost of the extra contract is significant?

Officer says that current services are not of an acceptable standard and nee renegotiating and redesign of the service needs to be considered in a broader context of early years provision … it was too difficult to do this all at once and in advance of today’s date.

Cllr Matthews asks what the risk is that the single source contract will be challenged as it falls above the value where teh council is required to tender. The Monitoring Officer says the risk is assessed as low because the only organisations likely to challenge the decision are those who would wish to be considered by the council as future suppliers for the contract. Stunning! We don’t expect to be sued legitimately by disadvantaged companies because we would be likely to punish them by not considering them for future work.

Designation of Director of Public Health … for the last 2 years we have bought 2 days a week of Shropshire’s DPH. Council is now proposing to commission for the ‘service’ of a DPH rather than to appoint a person. Officer argues that this is more robust because the ‘service’ will not sit with an individual who might ‘fall under a bus’. Also if the service is procured, it is not a person and doesn’t need to be considered by the council’s employment panel.

It is proposed that the council commissions a 4-year service to be provided to us by Shropshire CC at a cost of £65k p.a. up to £260k.

Concerns raised about how this proposal will ensure that the role is fulfilled. We had better be good at writing the contract specification for this ‘service’. Cllr Powers asks what would happen if there were to be a public health emergency involving both Shropshire and Herefordshire? Officer suggests that review points are put in the contract but that in the event of an incident Herefordshire would be better served supported by a procured service frm a bigger authority.

Decision made – unanimous.

End of the meeting.

Liz Harvey 17th March 2015

 

 

SHYPP

Council cabinet cut SHYPP Funding.

SHYPP

Today at this Mornings Cabinet meeting Hereford County Council have proposed to go back on their word to secure funding to SHYPP. It’s Our County proposed an amendment to secure transition funding at a previous budget meeting to help secure funds for this essential local service and this was overruled with the promise that the funds would be secured.

Today they have gone back on their word and this inexcusable decision will be rubberstamped in public this afternoon.