warwickshire news for warwickshire county council staff • DECEMBER 2010
Pennies from heaven hits £100k Factfile • Staff never donate more than 99p each month • Monthly donations now exceed £2,500 • Around 4,500 staff and pensioners take part • If donations continue at their current rate then the next £100,000 will be raised in less than three years. • Myton Hospice looks after patients with life-limiting illnesses, also providing support for their friends and families. It needs to raise over £6m a year • The Mary Ann Evans Hospice provides care at the day hospice and hospice at home care. It needs to raise over £700K every year • Want to join in? Complete the registration form on the Intranet > HR > Pennies from Heaven
The generosity of WCC staff and pensioners has seen us smash the £100,000 mark in raising money for the Myton and Mary Ann Evans hospices. The Pennies from Heaven scheme was launched at WCC four years ago, with a simple request of staff to make a voluntary donation of the pennies from their monthly pay to the fundraising scheme. These donations, together with Gift Aid, are split equally between our chosen charities of Myton Hospice which has bases in Warwick, Rugby and Coventry, and the Mary Ann Evans Hospice which serves, Nuneaton, Bedworth and North
Warwickshire. Four years on, and the donations have now totalled over 10,000,000 pennies, and, bucking the trend of general charity donations, our contributions continue to grow as more staff join the scheme. Collectively WCC staff and pensioners donate more than any other local authority running a Pennies from Heaven scheme. Martyn Thompson, Deputy Head of Workforce Strategy and
Development, “The beauty of this scheme is in its simplicity, and it shows how donating a few pennies each month can really add up to a significant sum, which makes a real difference to our chosen charities. A sincere thank you to everyone who takes part.” Sara Fenton from Myton Hospice said, “We are grateful to Warwickshire County Council and its employees and pensioners for taking part in this scheme and raising money for us. So far we have had more than £50,000, including Gift Aid, from Pennies from Heaven which has helped us
look after the 2,000 patients we care for each year” Janet Kavanagh, Fundraising Manager for Mary Ann Evans, is also delighted at the money raised, “Thanks to you, local people have been able to receive support and care at what is a very difficult time. The provision of local hospice care is very special, whether at the Day Hospice or with Hospice at Home. Your generosity in remembering the Mary Ann Evans Hospice will enable us to continue our caring and provide support for our patients, their families and carers.”
NEWS Colleagues retire
As mentioned in Jim Graham’s introductory message six senior colleagues will be retiring from the organisation. Dave Clarke - Strategic Director, Resources: March 2011; Marion Davis - Strategic Director, Children Young People & Families : October 2011; Paul Galland Strategic Director, Environment & Economy : March 2012; Elizabeth Featherstone - Head of Early Intervention Services : December 2011; Mark Gore - Head of Learning & Achievement : December 2012; Bob Perks - Head of Workforce Strategy & Development : between March 2012 - July 2012.
Print on the move On Monday 20 December County Print Services will be moving from their current base in Shire Hall to their new offices in Unit 25 Montague Road, Warwick. You can contact them through printservices@warwickshire. gov.uk, or call 01926 413400. All the new office numbers are available on the Intranet, see the article in the “What’s Hot” section. Also see this article for new arrangements for supplying copier paper to Shire Hall.
Headline You will have seen the media coverage with regard to the public sector settlement details which were announced on Monday 13 December. We are currently drilling into the detail available to determine the precise implications for ourselves. At the time of writing we do not yet have a complete picture of all the finances which would be available to Local Authority services in Warwickshire. Once we have a full picture I will be going around the county again talking directly to colleagues about the implications for the draft budget we published on the Intranet back in November. By the time you read this there will also be some announcements
of changes at Senior Management level in the organisation. A number of colleagues will be retiring from the county council over the next two years. Essentially we will not be replacing these roles. Consequently over the next two years you will see a change in the senior manager accountabilities. We will be broadcasting these changes in more detail in the New Year. Speaking personally these colleagues will be greatly missed and their contributions to the council over the many years of service must be noted and commended. Finally, we are approaching Christmas and New Year holidays and in spite of the rather difficult circumstances the public sector finds itself in, I hope you will all
have an extremely Happy Christmas and we look forward to a challenging New Year.
By the time you read this there will also be some announcements of changes at Senior Management level in the organisation. A number of colleagues will be retiring from the county council over the next two years.
TV success for County Boys Choir Photo: Oliver Dixon, Imagewise
Jim Graham Chief Executive WCC
Vote to oppose HS2 WCC has voted to oppose the proposed HS2 London to Birmingham high speed rail link. The proposed route of the scheme will pass through Warwickshire from Wormleighton in the south to Middleton in the north of the county. See www.warwickshire. gov.uk/hs2 for more info. The site will be updated as the consultation is launched. 2
After competing against five other choirs in the grand final of the nation’s most prestigious amateur choral competition, the county council choir can now be considered the largest and the best boys choir in the country. Although not awarded the ultimate honour of Choir of the Year the five judges were very impressed and informed conductor Garry Jones that they had awarded the boys very high marks and considered them in very strong contention. Coming from schools all over the county, the boys were the only non-auditioned, open access choir in the competition.
Adult social care performing well Care Quality Commission delivers encouraging report Warwickshire’s Adult Social Care Services are “performing well” according to independent inspectors. The ratings have been announced by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the health and social care regulator for England. The CQC’s thorough annual assessment of WCC’s Adult Social Care Services found that the county continues to improve and maintain good standards. Warwickshire continues to ‘perform well’ across the board and has achieved ‘excellent’, the highest possible rating, in the two categories of ‘improved quality of life’ and ‘making a positive contribution’. The commission said that the council is delivering good outcomes for Warwickshire residents including improved health and emotional wellbeing, increased choice and control of services, and ensuring freedom from discrimination and harassment. Praise was also given to the work that the council is doing to increase people’s economic wellbeing and maintaining personal dignity and respect. The commission commended the council’s clear vision for its ‘transformation programme’ which is reshaping social care to better meet people’s needs and supporting people to lead independent lives. Inspectors also noted the increased number of people taking ’self-directed support’ as a key strength. Self-directed support means that individuals are given a personal budget to buy the care they need and choose the kind
The commission commended the council’s clear vision for its ‘transformation programme’ which is reshaping social care to better meet people’s needs and supporting people to lead independent lives.
of support that is right for them. Research shows that older people receiving direct payments or personal budgets have improved quality of life and the council is encouraging even more people to take advantage of the initiative. Wendy Fabbro, Strategic Director of Adult Social Care & Health added: “This result reflects the many areas of excellent practice around the county and I would like to thank our staff, who made this possible. We are committed to making sure everything we do counts and we are deeply encouraged to see CQC’s recognition of our programme to transform social care.”
Leader of WCC, Cllr Alan Farnell has responded to the news of Warwickshire’s local authority grant from central government, which was released on 13 December. Cllr Farnell said: “We have been preparing for a significant reduction in budget for some time. The settlement confirms that difficult decisions will still have to be made as we, like other local authorities, will play our part in reducing the national deficit. “Our focus now is to work through the detail, taking into account complex changes in other grants, so that we can carefully assess the implications for our savings proposals before setting the budget in February. “Until we have all the information and can look at things in the round, we will not be able to fully analyse the implications for the future. “We want everyone to know that we will be responsible and fair in prioritising services to achieve the best outcomes for Warwickshire residents and we will make every pound of taxpayers’ money count.” The local authority grant settlement is just one of the sources of funds received from the government. We expect to receive information about other sources of funding over the next few weeks. The budget is also dependent on the number of households liable to pay council tax and this information will not be available until January.
Children’s services exceed standards
When the big freeze hits, visit:
The annual Ofsted inspection rating has found that WCC’s children’s services are ‘performing well’. The detailed inspection has come back with a positive assessment of the county council as an organisation which has many strengths
www.warwickshire. gov.uk/snow for the latest updates on school closures, roads, transport and other WCC services.
and improves outcomes for children, young people and their families. The report finds that on all performance measures we either match the national average or are above it, and that the very large majority of services, setting and institutions inspected by Ofsted are good
or better. The report identified our fostering service as “outstanding” and there was praise for better than average obesity rates in children starting school and those aged 11. The number of young people from lowincome households who achieve qualifications by the age of 19 was also acknowledged in the report. The full report is published on www.ofsted.gov.uk 3
Pupils have their designs on Christmas EM Staff Network Hello my name is Shearon Williams and I am the Equality and Diversity Officer for CYPF. I have taken on the interim role of Chair of the WCC Ethnic Minority Staff Network. Although this network has been running for a while now it has recently undergone some changes. We want to establish a core group made up of colleagues from all directorates. We have created a vision statement for the network and identified objectives the group hopes to achieve. This includes holding a conference for ethnic minority staff. We have set a clear framework for how we will operate and engage with both ethnic minority staff and key decision makers. If you are interested in finding out more about the work of network, and how you can get involved contact Shearon,on (01926) 742358 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. uk
Primary schoolchildren send in e-card designs Four budding artists from Warwickshire primary schools have come up with the designs for the county council’s corporate electronic Christmas cards. A competition, organised by Environment and Economy, received around 200 entries from local primary schoolchildren. The pupils were asked to send in their colourful interpretations on one of two themes – road safety at Christmas or
recycling at Christmas. Chair of the Council, Councillor Jose Compton, had the extremely difficult task of selecting the winning designs. There were winners and runners-up in two categories – under seven and seven and over – with art prizes going to each of the winning entries. All other entrants received stickers and pens for taking part. The winners were six-yearold Sarah Costa from Radford
Chair of the Council Jose Compton judges the entries with E&E Strategic Director Paul Galland. A winning entry (right) - It looks better in colour, trust us.
Semele School and Zoe Hoverd aged 10 from St Nicholas CofE Primary School in Kenilworth, with Year 2 Sydenham Primary School pupil Adam Anderson and Gracie Savage, aged 10, from Newburgh Primary School runners-up. The Christmas E-cards are available to all WCC staff to send festive greetings by email to external partners and contacts. Contact the office of your Strategic Director.
Wardens get ready for winter The freezing temperatures of the last few weeks have added a timely relevance to the launch of the WCC voluntary Snow Warden scheme. The scheme will help make sure that older and vulnerable people are not stranded by bad weather conditions. Working together with parish and town councils and housing associations, the council is in the process of recruiting a network of Voluntary Snow Wardens. Each snow warden will be given an information pack on the Government’s Snow Code and the level of response required in the event of heavy snowfall. The role of a Snow Warden will be to enlist help from neighbours to clear pavements and drives, and in doing so greatly assisting the local community and vulnerable people. This is a practical way of getting resources to areas 4
Warwickshire County Councillor Helen Walton who has already signed up to be a snow warden in her Rugby division of Brownsover, pictured with Bryn Patefield from County Highways.
that are more isolated and will be based on local knowledge. This will let the council focus on its priority routes used by 90 per cent of county’s traffic. If you are interested
in becoming a snow warden call 01926 412515. For more information about winter road maintenance visit: www. warwickshire.gov.uk/gritting
MYTH No.2 The Myth: Workers are banned from putting up Christmas decorations in the office. The reality… Bah Humbug! Each year we hear of companies banning their workers from putting up Christmas decorations in their offices for ‘health and safety’ reasons, or requiring the work to be done by a ‘qualified’ person. Most organisations including the Health & Safety Executive and local councils manage to put up their decorations, celebrating the spirit of Christmas without a fuss. They just sensibly provide their staff with suitable step ladders to put up decorations rather than expecting staff to balance on wheelie chairs. More useful health and safety advice and information is available on the Intranet > HR > Health, Safety and Workforce Wellbeing
News from where you work
Warwickshire Libraries go digital Free e-book download trial launched Warwickshire libraries have launched a free e-books loan service, opening up a world of digital books to members. The trial service is running for 12 months, with hundreds of downloadable titles to choose from, including audio books. The books can be downloaded through the Library webpages for use on
computers, phones and other devices. “E-books are all about instant, easy access to books in today’s 24/7 on-demand world,” said Libraries’ Andrew Button. “There is an increasing demand for e-books and offering leisure reading online is logically the next step for libraries.” To access the service you need
to be a library member, join for free in any library or apply online warwickshire.gov.uk/libraries. There is a link from the libraries homepage to the free e-book service, you can borrow three books, for three weeks and they are recalled automatically.
The books can be downloaded through the Library webpages for use on computers, phones and other devices.
Cleaning Information Goes Live on the Intranet Just a quick note to let WCC building users known that all Building Cleaning Specifications and Customer Feedback forms are now available via the Intranet. You can find them through Our Council > Structure and Staff > Resources > Facilities Management > Cleaning and Caretaking Services. Keep an eye out over the coming months on the Intranet for additional information related to your building.
Seasonal Flu information for social care staff A leaflet produced by the NHS is advising social care staff to get immunised against seasonal flu. It is recommended that social care staff get vaccinated to help reduce the spread of the virus in health and social care settings to: protect patients and service users; protect other health and social care staff, and make sure health and social care services are effective and efficient. Vaccinations are available for free from GPs surgeries if you take proof of employment with you. You can find a link to the leaflet through www.warwickshire.gov.uk/ adultsocialcare, or call 01926 742297.
A quality day out at Kingsbury and Ryton Pools Kingsbury Water Park and Ryton Pools Country Parks have both received the stamp of approval as quality visitor attractions. Along with a wide range of tourist attractions throughout England, Kingsbury and Ryton have recently been awarded accreditation under the national Visitor Attraction Quality Assurance Scheme (VAQAS). The scheme is designed with the visitor in mind, focusing on how the venue puts visitors first. All aspects of the visitor experience are covered by the assessment, from arrival to departure Paula Cheesman, Country Parks Manager said “Raising the standards to meet or exceed customers expectations is
very important for our service especially considering the range of visitor attractions in the West Midlands. Customers have a choice of where they spend their money, and we would hope that we offer exceptional value and now customers can be assured of nationally recognised quality standards when choosing a day out at our parks”. The overall range of content for both parks was considered to be very good and met the needs of a wider visitor market. The reports also highlighted some development areas which can improve the visitor experience through ongoing improvements to signage, presentation and interpretation. 5
News from where you work County Caterers retain Charter Mark Sandra Russell
Congratulations to Resources’ County Caterers who have retained their Charter Mark status following their assessment at the start of November. The service is now fully compliant in all areas and also retained a compliance plus score (where the service is providing above and beyond the standard) in six areas. From next year the service will be assessed against the new Customer Service Excellence (CSE) model, which the council’s cleaning service has successfully achieved (see the last W4W for more on this).
Ledger goes live The council is in the advanced stages of replacing its current financial systems, with a new modern system called Agresso. The new Agresso financial ledger has gone live this month, and cost centre managers are using the system during December to provide up-todate forecasts on their financial position. A number of training courses in the use of the new ledger have been delivered over recent weeks, and if you think you require training, please contact email@example.com. uk The next two modules to go live will be the income module and the fixed asset module in January, followed by the procurement and payments module in April. Having a single system will lead to much more efficient finance processes and also enhanced levels of reporting and functionality available to users. Contact your local finance team for more information. 6
One year on Police services success at Shire Hall This month saw the first anniversary of Warwickshire Police joining forces with Warwickshire Direct at Shire Hall. The arrangement, which was a first for Warwickshire, saw the Warwick Police Station front desk relocate into Shire Hall in December 2009. The move has been judged a big success by the partners involved - Warwickshire Police, Warwick District Council and WCC – who gathered at Shire Hall on 7 December to celebrate the anniversary. Warwickshire Direct advisors are fully trained to be able to deal with police enquiries directly, handling up to 100 each month. The most popular enquiry is dealing with lost and found property, with the most unusual ‘find’ being a piece of medical equipment, worth thousands of pounds, which was found in a canal – and, after a bit of detective work, was
L-R: Cllr Les Caborn (Warwick District Council), Supt Adrian McGee (Warwickshire Police), Cllr Jim Foster (Warwickshire County Council), Caroline Huckvale (Warwickshire Direct Advisor), Kushal Birla (Warwickshire County Council).
re-united with its very grateful owner. Other police services offered at Warwickshire Direct include checking vehicle documents when police officers have asked for them to be produced, taking reports of road traffic collisions, abandoned vehicles and parking issues. Police services will be
launched at Warwickshire Direct Kenilworth from 28 February 2011.
The move has been judged a big success by the partners involved.
A Christmas past for St. Johns
Our Heritage Education service has turned back the clock to a ‘Christmas Past’ by inviting schools to come and experience a very Victorian Christmas at St John’s Museum.
A nineteenth-century cook took up residence in the kitchen and
invited children to help her make a Christmas pudding. The children had to grind up spices, weigh the ingredients and put in plenty of elbow grease to mix the pudding together! Before leaving, the visiting schools gathered around the
museum Christmas tree to sing traditional carols. Laura Pye, Head of Heritage Education said: “This was the third year we have run our Victorian Christmas events and it was great to be fully booked again.”
Warwickshire raises the bar for recycling rates WCC well on the way to 50 per cent recycling rates and aiming even higher
Its official - for the second successive year WCC is the country’s most improved shire authority for recycling and composting. In 2009/10 Warwickshire authorities recycled and composted 48 per cent of household waste. This is well above the national average of 40 per cent and we now have our sights on an ambitious target of recycling 60 per cent of waste by 2016. The reason for the increase in recycling is attributed to Warwick, Stratford and Rugby now all having a biowaste – combined food and garden waste - collection service together with alternate weekly collection of residual waste. There has also been a marked improvement in recycling across the Warwickshire Household Waste Recycling Centres. Warwickshire’s recycling and composting rate is made up of the district and borough collections as well as the county council’s Household Waste Recycling Centres. WCC continues to run many successful waste minimisation initiatives under the Recycle for Warwickshire banner. They include the Love Food Hate Waste campaign, home composting, junk mail and the home wood chipping service.
Pensions shortlisted Congratulations to Resources’ Treasury and Pensions service, who were shortlisted as finalists at the recent Local Government Chronicle Investment Awards in London. The service was shortlisted in the Fund of the Year (medium size) category with the award judged on a combination of the fund’s annual report, investment strategy and communications. Although the award on the night went to Surrey County Council, Group Manager Phil Triggs was pleased to be considered as a finalist. “Being shortlisted is recognition that the WCC Pension Fund is performing well and we’ll be back next year with an even better entry.”
Warwickshire County Council waste projects officer Caroline Faulkner promoting our recycling campaigns.
Christmas Fire Safety Over Christmas and New Year, we spend more time at home, and while we are relaxing everyday fire risks can increase. Fire and Rescue are reminding everyone to take care as the festivities begin. Last year there were 53 house fires in Warwickshire over the Christmas period (December 2009 to January 2010). A number of which were caused by people being distracted, leaving cooking unattended. By taking a few simple steps this Christmas, you can ensure you stay safe over the festive period: • Check that your smoke alarms are working weekly and don’t remove the batteries to power up Christmas presents! • Don’t leave candles unattended or on flammable surfaces. • Don’t be distracted when cooking, fire starts when your attention stops • Make your plan. Get out alive – plan your escape route for the event of fire and ensure all your guests know where the door and window keys are kept • Don’t leave fairy lights switched on when you go out or to bed For more information on how to apply for a free home fire safety check log onto www.warwickshire.gov.uk/ fireandrescue
Sign of appreciation for foster carers Foster carers who have devoted their lives to young people in Warwickshire have been celebrated at a special event. The ‘Recognition and Appreciation of Foster Carers Awards Event’ was held in Judges House in Warwick with 30 foster carers picking up awards. The carers were joined by Cllr Alan Farnell and CYPF Strategic Director Marion Davis, along with other dignitaries. Discussions allowed the carers to discuss openly with the county’s key decision makers about the highs and lows of fostering and what the authority could do to help. Marion Davis was then joined by councillors who had been hosting the various tables in presenting the certificates.
l to r: Cllr Julie Jackson, foster carer Sarah Perry and Marion Davis, Strategic Director CYPF.
Grotto of Giving is open A Grotto of Giving has opened in Warwick’s Market Hall bringing a little festive cheer to children in need. Warwickshire Museum has organised the Santa’s Grotto with a twist – asking visitors to bring gifts rather than receive. The donated gifts will then be distributed by WCC to children and families in need across Warwickshire this Christmas. Gifts of any value, shape or size are welcome, either wrapped or unwrapped, they just need a label describing who the gift is suitable for. Last year the grotto collected over 200 gifts. The Grotto is open until Christmas Eve during normal museum opening times from 10am to 5pm Tuesday to Saturday and there will be a special post box for you to leave your gifts in. Call the museum on 01926 412500 for further details.
Frock Swap WCCs Waste Projects Team held the council’s first Frock Swap on 14 December. With staff invited to bring in an item of clothing and swap it for another. Every year over 7.5 billion articles of clothing go into dustbins, with most ending up in landfill. The rules were simple: bring at least one item of clothing, making sure it is clean and in good condition and swap for something else you like the look of. The first event was a big success with around 40 swaps made, and the team plan to hold another swap in March. Contact 01926 418088 for more information. Working for Warwickshire is printed on recycled paper and written, edited and designed in-house to minimise costs. For contributions or comments contact:
firstname.lastname@example.org or write to: Sarah Antill, W4W,Customer Service & Communications, P.O. Box 9, Shire Hall, Warwick CV34 4RR • Tel. 01926 476883
Mo’ money for Movember
Steve Lewis Education Officer, CYPF Initially I didn’t get Top lip caterpillars sprout all over WCC sponsored for If any of your male colleagues were sporting new facial hair on growing a their top lip during November, chances are they were supporting moustache, I the Movember UK campaign which raises money for The Prostate did it for a bit Cancer Charity. The campaign initially started in Australia in 2003, of fun and I and has now spread all over the world. This year saw a number of was curious WCC staff take up the challenge of growing a ‘tache over the 30 how it would days of November, and CYPF and CWG staff showed their support turn out too with a fundraising dress down day. having been beard/tache free for nearly 20 years. I was then convinced by a colleague to be sponsored for colouring it - £1 per vote for a colour (neon blue, pink or green) Green was the winning shade, and I sported the dye for a day and a half! My colleagues raised £82 for the Prostate Cancer Charity. Immediately after arriving home the offending item was washed and then shaved off. My wife was most unimpressed throughout November but I’ve now started to successfully rebuild my marriage!
Ranjit Hayer, Workforce Strategy, CWG Generally, I enjoyed growing a mo’, it wasn’t too much hassle at all. Most people have liked it, with one or two exceptions. My two year old daughter likes to touch my face as she’s going to sleep, but got a little sidetracked by the development of the mo! I raised £180 in total through a combination of direct donations and the contributions from a dress down day held in CWG.
Legs out for Pudsey WCC staff didn’t let the side down raising money for this year’s Children in Need appeal. From quizzes, to dressing in PJs, tuck shop treats to leg waxing (really) your endeavours have raised hundreds of pounds! Young people attending Fire and Rescue’s Firebreak or Flare courses (right) undertook the challenge of running out a mile of fire hose to raise money. Ably supported by our fire-fighters, they raised over £250. Ajay Rana, a Customer Service Advisor at Kings House ‘volunteered’ to have his legs waxed (ouch!) for children in need. He bravely faced up to his
challenge without so much as a whimper and raised over £400. Thanks to the colleagues who emailed their totals through to the Intranet, and together raised over £1,700.
Sam Powers (right) and Tom Phillips (left), CYPF “Thank goodness its finished, what a horrible thing I had on my lip! Tom and I both work for the Integrated Disability Service, and between us we raised around £600. Some of my mates also took part and our team ‘The bushy prepubescents’ have raised over £1300.”
News for staff of Warwickshire County Council