MUCH criticism of Hernandez:
“Phil Norrey, chief executive of Devon County Council, said he wanted to reassure councillors, staff and taxpayers about the impact of the savings strategy, saying it was ‘tight and good housekeeping’.
He said: “We are making sure that we have our house in order rather than panicking and walking over a cliff and the range of measures we are implementing we have looked at very carefully.
“There are pressures across the country and after around eight or nine years of extreme pressures on budgets, it has to come a point when we reach the end of the road on spending, and that will come in the next two or three years.”
Devon is playing its cards close to its chest about cuts:
A 2.9% council tax rise next year
A halt to road sign cleaning, with only mandatory road markings being maintained
Reducing housing-related support for people in their own tenancies
A review of arrangements with district and borough councils for grass cutting and weed treatment services
Removal of the Citizens Advice Bureau grant
Reducing the legal, training and equipment costs at trading standards
Streamlining running costs in educational psychologists service, although there will be no cuts to frontline services
Looks like we are going to need the Magic Money Tree … again.
“Council leaders in Devon have offered to work with Flybe to keep it in Exeter.
In an open letter to the struggling airline, they say the airport brings in £150m a year to the local economy and creates “high value local jobs” which they do not want to lose.
Flybe is in talks about a possible sale of the group weeks after warning over profits.
Two-thirds of passengers at Exeter Airport fly with Flybe.
The letter was signed by the leaders of Exeter City Council, East Devon District Council, Devon County Council, Exeter College and the Heart of the South West LEP.”
“Devon County Council’s considering a recruitment freeze to deal with its £10m overspend on children’s services.
There’s been an increasing number of children who need to be housed in residential and secure units.
For example there are five children who cost more than £400,000 each a year to look after but they need round the clock one-to-one care.
The council’s also responsible for 45 children who cost around £4,000 a week to care for and house.
On top of that, the council’s also funding a rising number of children with disabilities who attend independent special schools and further education colleges.
The council is considering delaying filling vacancies for two months after the post-holder leaves, banning all non-essential overtime and ending attendance at conferences and some allowances.
Plymouth and Torbay are also having to take special measures to deal with the higher than forecast costs of looking after vulnerable children.”
This time from the blog of DCC EDA councillor Martin Shaw.
“Conservative County Councillor for Honiton, Phil Twiss told Devon County Council on 4th October that ‘Sonja Manton [Director of Strategy for the Devon Clinical Commissioning Groups] said at the Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee the other week that there no plans to close any community hospitals in our area. We were talking about Seaton, Honiton and Axminster at the time.’
I was surprised that he should give us this good news in passing, and that the CCG had made no announcement of something so obviously important. So eventually I watched the webcast of the Health Scrutiny meeting on September 20th. Although Sonja Manton spoke several times, I couldn’t find her saying anything like what Phil said – indeed anything about community hospitals at all.
So I emailed Sonja and she confirms she didn’t speak about the hospitals. As for the issue, all she would say was, ‘I can assure you that our continued focus remains on planning and commissioning services and support to meet the needs of the Devon population in the best possible way. We recognise how strongly communities feel about community hospital buildings and will continue to work with communities and stakeholders to modernise and evolve the way our services are delivered and where they are based to make sure we make best use of all our resources and public estate.‘
So was Sonja more forthcoming at another, presumably private, meeting, Phil? Or was what you said wishful thinking?”
Owl says: a bigger group fo DCC NOT to scrutinise – right….
“There are claims a planned merger between two NHS bodies in Devon will result in a less accountable system with no guarantee of improved healthcare for patients.
At present, there are two clinical commissioning groups – or CCGs – which plan and buy healthcare for local people. There’s one covering the North, West and the East of the county – NHS NEW Devon CCG – and the other covering Torbay and the South – NHS South Devon & Torbay CCG. Health bosses want them to merge into one big organisation, claiming this will save money and result in a stronger service. They say there’s already been benefits from the two organisations working more closely together.
But GPs in Torbay have voted against the move and local councillor in the Bay, Swithin Long, is also worried…”