Is EDDC gearing up for even greater development for 5-year Local Plan review?

All Local Plans have to be reviewed every five years. Though it is likely that the next Local Plan won’t be very local as “Greater Exeter” will almost certainly be what is put forward, East Devon being only one part of it.

Now it seems the current Local Plan didn’t go to plan!

The number of new homes being built in East Devon has dramatically dropped, government data has revealed.

In total, 620 new properties were completed by private developers and housing associations in 2016/17.

But this is more than 250 homes fewer than were built in 2013/14, 2014/15 and 2015/16 – where an average of 836 new properties were finished each year.

In the last decade, a total of 4,690 properties have been built and completed in the district and more than 12,600 new homes were finished across Devon. …

http://www.sidmouthherald.co.uk/news/number-of-new-homes-being-built-in-east-devon-dramatically-drops-1-5155038

In fact 2013/14 and 2014/15 and 2015/16 were the result of the years during which the developer free-for-all took place when EDDC had no Local Plan and no 5 year land supply so we had a situation where, under government rules, developers could build any amount of houses practically anywhere. So it’s hardly surprising there was a boom.

So, it now appears that, in fact, the number of houses EDDC had expected to see built this year haven’t materialised.

That could mean that more will be front-loaded to a revised (probably Greater Exeter) plan. And/or the whole area might be back to not having a 5-year land supply so it will be a developer free-for-all – again.

What is VERY interesting is that around 37% of all new homes in the whole of Devon have been built in East Devon in the last decade.

Perhaps time for other parts of Greater Exeter to take the strain in the coming decade?

Is this why there is a dangerous rush to close community hospital beds?

Nothing to do with care at home”, everything to do with austerity cuts. AND much more opportunity for private companies to make big profits from home care instead of NHS costs in hospitals.

“Councils have been told to reduce hospital bed-blocking by up to 70% by next month or face funding cuts.

The warning came in a letter, seen by The Sunday Times, sent to council and NHS chief executives by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the Department of Health last month.

The letter sets out the “expectations” it has for local authorities to reduce delays in discharging people from hospital, with some councils facing demands to cut bed-blocking by up to 70%.

Councils that do not do enough to help NHS patients go home could have their share of a £2bn social care fund withheld.

Of the 152 councils with social care responsibility, 42 are required to reduce bed-blocking by 60% or more, based on their performance in February. Reading borough council has been given the highest target of a 70% reduction.

More than two-thirds are expected to reduce bed-blocking attributable to social care by 50% or more.

The letter accompanying the targets said progress would be assessed in November and 2018-19 allocations of the £2bn fund could be reviewed.

This could see poorly performing councils lose out on anticipated funding.

Last night, Izzi Seccombe, a Tory council leader who speaks on community wellbeing for the Local Government Association, said setting “unrealistic and unachievable targets” for councils to cut bed-blocking was “counterproductive.”

“The threat of reviewing councils’ funding allocations for social care . . . could leave many councils facing the absurd situation of failing to meet an unattainable target, losing their funding and, on top of this, potentially being fined by hospitals.”

Last month The Sunday Times revealed that the NHS had fined at least 22 councils for causing delays in discharging patients and threatened 11 others with charges.

A DCLG spokesman said: “No one should stay in hospital longer than necessary. It puts unneeded pressure on our hospitals and wastes taxpayers’ money.”

Source: Sunday Times (pay wall)

“Managers on more than £400,000 a year at failing NHS authorities”

“Temporary NHS managers brought in by failing health services are being paid record rates of up to £400,000 a year.

Ministers have repeatedly ordered clampdowns on “excessive and indefensible” management pay and promised extra scrutiny of deals which pay more than the £142,500 salary of the Prime Minister.

But a Telegraph investigation of 32 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) failing so badly that they have been taken over by NHS England shows that in fact rates have reached a record high.

Nurse leaders last night said executive pay was “spiralling out of control” amid warnings that “sky-high” remuneration packages were not being matched by improvements to frontline services. Health services insisted they were forced to pay “premium” rates to attract good managers quickly.

The figures, from NHS annual reports for 2016/17, disclose 21 managers at the struggling organisations on rates equal to at least £200,000 a year – including five on more than £300,000.

… “At North, East and West Devon Martin Shield cost over £90,000 for three months – an annual rate of £375,000 – as “turnaround director.” …

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/08/19/managers-400000-year-failing-nhs-authorities/

Does our councils promote social value when funding public services via charities?

This is i portant be ause, more and more, councils are sub-contracting their responsibilities for health and social care to charities.

Small charities that deliver public services have a problem.

The government grants that once helped to fund this work are drying up fast – their total value halved in the decade between 2004 and 2014, according to the NCVO, and has continued to drop ever since. This leaves organisations dependent on income from local council contracts, where the complex tendering process is stacked against smaller providers. At risk of being squeezed out completely, they face what the Lloyds Bank Foundation earlier this year called a “broken commissioning landscape”.

The government knows this is a problem. The House of Lords select committee on charities expressed concerns back in 2016, recommending that the government takes steps to promote commissioning based on impact and social value rather than simply on the lowest cost.

The Social Value Act, introduced in 2012, is one of very few ways in which central government can influence who is commissioned to deliver local services. It requires councils to think about the social, economic and environmental benefits of their decisions when they commission contracts above a certain value (around £170,000).

This means officials are encouraged to do more than simply favour the lowest bidders; they are invited to consider what else a provider could contribute to the area. One organisation might be committed to employing local people, for example. Another might offer to work with small community groups, or bring together existing networks of GPs, schools and others to coordinate services more effectively. The aim is to level the playing field, and enable non-profit providers – such as charities, social enterprises and community businesses – to compete with big private companies.

The government promised a review of the act back in February, something tantamount to an acknowledgement that it is not having the desired impact. Those plans have since been derailed by the snap election and the review is now promised “in due course”.

With the review still pending, we at Power to Change spoke to (pdf) community businesses across England, to find out what changes could be made to improve the situation.

The organisations we spoke to were positive about the aims of the act, and confessed that the commissioning landscape would be “much bleaker” without it. Some councils even welcomed the fact that the act gave them, as they saw it, “permission to explicitly consider social value”.

But many community businesses dismissed the act as “tokenistic”, complaining that it made little practical difference to how councils commissioned or from whom. We found limited evidence that the act actually affected their decisions about whether to tender for contracts: organisations who wanted to work with their council said they would have gone ahead regardless.

If the government wants to improve the impact of the act, our research has some simple recommendations.

Lower the financial threshold

Fairer UK charity contracts will demand long-term government support
The act only applies to local authority contracts worth more than £170,000. Very few community businesses operate at that kind of scale, particularly those committed to working only in their local area. A lower threshold would bring more small organisations into play, either as providers or, more likely, as partners.

Apply it to goods and works, not just services

The principles behind the act are very popular with government, councils and community business alike, so extending it to contracts for goods and works would be another way to introduce social value into commissioning. In his report into the act in 2015, for example, Lord Young celebrated parliament’s decision to commission bottled water for two years from a social enterprise whose profits were shared with the charity Water Aid. There is no reason this sort of innovation shouldn’t be more widespread.

Offer more support for potential providers

Providing more support and guidance, especially some highlighting successful practice, could boost take-up of the act. For commissioners, this could mean giving examples of where they have made savings or improved outcomes through commissioning with social value in mind. For small voluntary or community-led organisations, this could be examples of similar organisations that successfully engaged with the process.

Access to data on the progress and effects of the act is also limited. We recommend the introduction of an open-source, central dataset on the use of the act across local authorities in England, including monitoring data on social value outcomes.

Promote the act more

Our research found an alarming number of social enterprises and community businesses either weren’t sure how the act worked or hadn’t heard of it. The government should give the act greater publicity, targeting community groups who might want to take up the opportunity it offers. For the same reason, the guidance surrounding the act needs to be much clearer and more accessible.

Explain how social value is measured

It can be fiendishly difficult to measure social value, but it can be done – and local groups told us that councils could do more to explain how they will be assessed. This could start with commissioners consulting interested parties locally on what sort of measurements they will be using and how they will be collected, not least so that local groups can decide whether or not to apply for a contract in the first place.

Encourage councils to take risks

New charities minister, but government isn’t interested | Asheem Singh
Local authorities like to praise the not-for-profit sector for bringing more innovation and greater flexibility to social problems. But this does not always extend to commissioning decisions, which can favour large, well-known private firms over smaller groups. This may be understandable, but councils will need to overcome this risk-aversion in the future.

Make the act part of wider social change

The act requires councils only to consider social value in commissioning. But not every local authority limits itself to this: Oxfordshire county council and Somerset district council were celebrated last year by Social Enterprise UK for incorporating the act into a wider agenda for social change. This meant using the act to focus on a whole strategy to strengthen the local area, something commissioners all over the country could learn from.

Russell Hargrave works for Power to Change”

https://www.theguardian.com/voluntary-sector-network/2017/aug/15/seven-ways-improve-social-value-act

“Neil Parish MP snubs Seaton Mayor’s request for urgent meeting with Health Secretary”

And Parish sends a circular letter as his reply – one exactly like others he sent to people also asking him to save their hospitals:

“Councillor Jack Rowland, Mayor of Seaton, has posted on Facebook:

As many of you know I wanted to arrange a face to face meeting with Neil Parish and Jeremy Hunt regarding the CCG decision to close the hospital beds at Seaton Hospital.

I’ve now received a reply from Neil Parish and the email I sent to him and the reply is reproduced below.

Dear Jack,

Thank you for your email on beds at Honiton and Seaton.

I am deeply saddened by the decisions to close beds at Honiton and Seaton Hospitals. I wanted beds to be retained at Seaton and Honiton, as part of a wider upgrade to health services in Devon. This closure is not the outcome I wanted. I would like to pay tribute to all the staff who have worked so hard to maintain fantastic inpatient beds at the hospitals over the past years.

We now have to make the best of the current situation. The CCG have stated they believe there is sufficient at-home care to replace the current beds. Hospital staff will now be redeployed into community care. Every patient who previously required care in the hospitals must now have the same level of care delivered to them at home or in a residential care home. This promise must be kept and I will be monitoring the situation carefully.

Regarding the future of Honiton and Seaton Hospitals, I want the buildings to continue to host vital health and social care services. Particularly, I want the sites to be used as health and social care hubs, with a positive future for each of the locations. I believe the hospitals still have an important role to play in community healthcare services. Any suggestions you could provide in this area, which would help maintain viable services at Seaton, would be appreciated.

I know this might be a disappointing response, but I hope we can continue to maintain excellent care in our community.

Thank you again for your email.

Yours sincerely,

Neil

Neil Parish MP
Member of Parliament for Tiverton and Honiton
House of Commons | London | SW1A 0AA
Telephone: 020 7219 7172 | Email: neil.parish.mp@parliament.uk
http://www.neilparish.co.uk

In response to this email:

From: cllr.jack.rowland@btinternet.com [mailto:cllr.jack.rowland@btinternet.com]
Sent: 16 August 2017 12:26
To: PARISH, Neil
Cc: townclerk@seaton.gov.uk; Martin Shaw ; Marcus Hartnell
Subject: Seaton Hospital – bed closures

Dear Mr Parish,

I’m writing to you in my capacity as the Chair of Seaton Town Council.

As you are no doubt aware the Health and Adult Care Scrutiny Committee of Devon County Council voted by 7 votes to 6 on 25 July not to refer the CCG decision to the Health Secretary for a review. An investigation has been called for regarding how the Scrutiny Committee Chair managed that meeting.

In the meantime the RDE Trust are accelerating the bed closure timetable from the original timetable and the beds in Seaton Hospital are now being phased out starting on 21 August and those in Honiton the following week.

This is despite no adequate answers being given to date regarding the concerns about the “Your Future Care” changes now being implemented. At the East Devon District Council Annual meeting all the Councillors present voted in favour of requiring more information on this subject and the EDDC Scrutiny Committee met in June to question representatives of the CCG and were not satisfied with the responses and maintained their opposition to Community Hospital bed closures.

At the Seaton Town Council meeting on 7 August I tabled a motion to demonstrate concern at the decision reached by the DCC Scrutiny Committee and to seek an urgent meeting with yourself and Jeremy Hunt to be attended by myself, Marcus Hartnell (Town and EDDC District Councillor) and Martin Shaw (Town and DCC Councillor). All the Town Councillors present voted in favour of my motion.

In view of your stated opposition to the bed closures in Seaton and Honiton I hope you can facilitate the meeting I am requesting in view of the overwhelming opposition from the elected Councillors in East Devon.

I look forward to hearing from you in the near future regarding potential dates, times and venue – we would be willing to travel to London if necessary.

Regards
Jack Rowland
Seaton Town Council Chair / Mayor”

https://seatonmatters.org/2017/08/19/neil-parish-mp-snubs-seaton-mayors-request-for-urgent-meeting-with-health-secretary/amp/

Tourism, new roads and more second homes is not the answer for Cornwall

” … Cornwall is a major tourist area, but its economy is one of the weakest in Europe. EU investments, together with “matched funding”, have injected around £1.5bn into the region, but this has had little impact on raising GDP.

One of the biggest stumbling blocks has been the perception by successive governments that the Cornish economy is synonymous with tourism, with its focus on unskilled, low-paid and part-item employment.

Cornwall is being directed to build 52,500 houses before 2020. A large proportion of these will be bought as holiday homes or by people retiring to Cornwall. This large-scale “immigration” has vastly distorted the housing market. People employed in tourism cannot afford these houses. Perhaps Cornwall’s perversity in delivering a very large pro-Brexit vote was because there are so many middle-class retired incomers who are putting stress on the social and health services .

Tourism is supposed to generate billions of pounds, but very little of this “sticks” in Cornwall because much of it goes to the major supermarkets, which employ unskilled people on low pay.

Government (and the Cornish will not forget the Brexiters’ claims that EU funding would be replaced by central government) must encourage high-value opportunities, such as those within the digital industries that are beginning to grow in Cornwall. And perhaps government should improve the social and health services, digital connectivity and rail and air infrastructure, rather than pumping more money into roads that primarily serve tourists.

Dr Ben Dobson
Crantock
Newquay”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/aug/13/letters-tourist-areas-need-investment-in-jobs-not-just-better-roads