Five year financial plan

We’re constantly looking at how we can provide vital services for Derbyshire residents in the most efficient and effective way, putting value for money at the heart of all we do.

It’s essential as we continue to face huge pressures on our budget.

Although it’s been said that austerity is ending, the fact remains that we must still find savings of £63million over five years. That’s on top of £257million savings achieved since 2010.

Our updated Five Year Financial Plan sets out how we aim to balance the books up to 2024. Like authorities across the country we’re facing significant budget pressures on many services including children’s social care, special educational needs provision, highways maintenance and waste.

That’s why we’ve welcomed the Government’s Spending Review which is expected to hand us extra funding in areas where it’s most needed – social care for adults, young people and children and special educational needs services.

The updated Five Year Financial Plan will be considered by our Cabinet this week.

Action Grants update – community success

Our Action Grants scheme has now been running for over a year and we’re really starting to see the benefits in our local communities.

Members of our Cabinet have been out to see some of the projects for themselves and have been really impressed with the variety of work that’s going on and the commitment of Derbyshire residents to improving their local areas.

I had the privilege of going along to see the work of the South Wingfield Local History Group for myself.

Through their tireless fundraising and a bit extra from their Action Grant they now have their own war memorial in the village. I’m really proud that we could give them some support for this worthwhile project.

We’ve now given Action Grants to more than 460 groups across the county – which is a total of £375,000 so far.

You can hear some of the groups talk about how Action Grants have benefited them in some short videos which are now on our website – and there’s still plenty of time for groups to apply.

All the details can be found at www.derbyshire.gov.uk/action

Proud of #DerbyshireSpirit response

I visited our newly set up information hub at Whaley Bridge Primary School yesterday and have to say, was hugely impressed by the incredible community spirit I saw in action.

The way people are pulling together to help each other makes me proud of Derbyshire – and proud to be Leader of the county council – and we’re trying to make things easier for residents and businesses too by announcing our crisis fund to help people in financial hardship.

A massive thank you to everyone who has been involved in managing the emergency response, the relief effort and supporting everyone who has been affected by this incident.

Agencies are pulling together and working around the clock to keep people safe at Whaley Bridge

I’m sure if you’re a resident of Whaley Bridge you will no doubt be feeling very anxious about the situation with regards to the safety of the dam.

Please be assured that all the agencies – the county council, High Peak Borough Council, the police, the fire service, Environment Agency, Canal and River Trust, the military and others are working around the clock in their efforts to secure the dam and keep you safe.

We’re doing our best to get the most up-to-date information out to you but if you have any questions, or need assistance, help is at hand at the main rest and information centre at Chapel-en-le-Frith High School.

I have to say how impressed I’ve been to see all the generous offers of help that have come in from the wider community. A truly overwhelming response, thank you.

I’d also like to thank the army of volunteers, including our own Derbyshire Emergency Volunteers, offering practical assistance where they can to take away some of the stress of this unprecedented event.

If you have any immediate concerns phone Derbyshire police on 101 or, for queries or to offer assistance you can email emergency.planning@derbyshire.gov.uk

Supporting the residents and emergency services at Whaley Bridge

My thoughts are with the residents of Whaley Bridge who have been evacuated from their homes and businesses due to serious concerns about Toddbrook Reservoir.

We have been supporting our colleagues in Derbyshire Police, Derbyshire Fire and Rescue, and other organisations with the emergency evacuation and supporting local people with finding accommodation.

I appreciate that this is extremely inconvenient and a very anxious time for people but I’d like to reassure everyone that all agencies are pulling together and working extremely hard to keep everyone safe.

Our emergency planning officers are on the ground and they are working hard to ensure the situation is managed as smoothly as possible.

Our social care staff are making sure our older and more vulnerable residents are safe and well and have all the support they need and our road teams have been doing all they can to help with the evacuation and ensure a safe passage for all.

We’ll be making available any resources necessary to help residents and businesses while this is happening and in the aftermath including any clean-up operation.

For anyone affected, please listen to the advice from emergency services and please stay safe.

Celebrating 130 years of Derbyshire County Council

This year marks the 130th year of Derbyshire County Council – and I’m extremely proud to be leading such a remarkable and prominent organisation as it celebrates this important milestone.

Since its inception in April 1889 I firmly believe the county council has been changing lives for the better and has always kept its residents’ best interests at the heart of all it does.

We marked the anniversary with a small ceremony at County Hall attended by Deputy Lieutenant of Derbyshire James Shuttleworth and councillors past and present who enjoyed sharing memories and experiences of life serving the people of Derbyshire and the many changes they’ve seen over the years.

Marking a significant anniversary like this gives us an opportunity to celebrate the role of the council in providing valuable, and in many cases vital, services to Derbyshire residents and also to mark 130 years of local democracy in the county.

Everything that has been achieved, built, decided upon and delivered over all those years wouldn’t have been possible without the thousands of people who have been connected to the council over the years.

Think about the ebb and flow of people that have worked for this great organisation in that time – from aldermen and elected councillors to officers in a wide range of roles – from legal and financial to carers and clerks. A host of roles and a wide range of skills too numerous to mention here but all forming a part of the fabric of Derbyshire society, weaving it together, keeping the county moving, ensuring people are well looked after and making sure voices are heard democratically.

Since 1889 the way we deliver our services and how we operate has obviously changed a great deal. We have new and more efficient ways of working and make the most of new technology. Not that many years ago a booklet was produced telling staff about a new way of communicating called email. Technology is moving so fast now that, even if we were minded to produce such a booklet, it would be out of date before it was printed!

Each successive generation has seen administration and political changes which have made an impact, and the council has seen and been through two wars, countless national governments, and faces new challenges every day. For example Brexit, which we’re planning for, and of course the huge issue of climate change which has to be the top of everyone’s priority list and something we’re facing head on by unveiling our Climate and Carbon Reduction Manifesto.

We’re constantly evolving and being more enterprising, although when you look back to the early committees of the 1890s – covering issues like disease in cattle, technical education, bridges and highways, public health and weights and measures, it’s not too dissimilar.

Of course there’s now a wider remit – and a snapshot of what we do today includes:

  • Maintaining 3,500 miles of roads and pavements
  • Helping 13,500 older and disabled people to live independently at home
  • Supporting 20,000 carers to look after family and friends
  • Helping 416 schools to offer the best education
  • Running 21 children’s centres
  •  And providing foster homes or residential care for 770 children.

All changes aside – one thing remains a constant – our Latin motto to be found on our crest – Bene Consulendo – By Good Counsel. I believe that whatever we do today is always carried out following wise deliberation.

There will be a whole host of challenges coming our way that will inevitably change local government in the future, including the issue of devolution.

But whatever it looks like, I’m confident local government will adapt, step up and deliver, and that the residents of Derbyshire will continue to be served by our great council for at least another 130 years.

Plans to transform support to older and disabled people revealed

We’ve just agreed proposals which will transform how we support older and disabled people.

It follows a review in to how effectively adult social care and health and disabled children’s services use their resources to improve the lives of Derbyshire residents.

The review highlighted many things, including the fact that staff were spending twice as much time sitting behind a desk doing paperwork as they were spending time with clients.

It was clear that the lives of 1 in 3 people we support could be improved – just by changing the way we work.

Our proposals will mean a whole-scale culture change and a need to re-focus on what our clients really need. And I know that we’re up to the challenge!

Our aim is to help older and disabled people develop their strengths and achieve personal goals rather than be reliant on traditional services.

We all know that as demand for our services rises, pressure is placed on our budgets, and it’s essential that what we offer is efficient and effective.

But this isn’t about saving money – this is about revolutionising the way we work to provide the 21st century services that local people want and need.

We believe our plans demonstrate our commitment to ensuring older and disabled people live the lives they want and deserve – and I explain this in more depth in the video above. Watch this space as our plans start to take shape.