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warwickshire news for warwickshire county council staff • November/DECEMBER 2010

Talking about tough times WCC Chief Executive Jim Graham spoke of the tough times facing the council at a series of staff briefing sessions held earlier this month, acknowledging the stress and strain that colleagues are currently facing. The sessions were planned to coincide with the release of information outlining the scale of the council’s financial challenges, and the impact of the Comprehensive Spending Review. Over 600 staff

attended the sessions which were held in Warwick, Rugby, Atherstone, Nuneaton and Stratford. At each event Jim outlined the implications for the next three to four years, in light of the savings proposals released to staff and Elected Members at the meeting of full council on 2 November. This was followed by a Q and A session, where staff were invited to put any questions they might have to the Chief Executive. Key points Although our savings proposals have been released, we will know more when details of our Government settlement reach us in early December. All Elected Members will now be looking in detail at the savings proposals as the budget process begins. Our budget will be finalised at the end of February 2011. ‘Salami slicing’ “I do not underestimate the stress for you, it is a savings from all very difficult place to be. But the county council services is not will be here in four years time, we will be smaller, a viable option, leaner, nimbler and it is going to be tough but we as this risks a will, most definitely still be here. What we must significant dip in not lose sight of is that at our heart is our job to service across support people, and prioritise quality services for the board. The our most vulnerable groups.” alternative course Jim Graham, November 2010 of action is to

do fewer things well, making sure priority services are funded properly and that their quality is preserved. Inevitably this means that other services may have to be reduced or stopped. At this time it is impossible to say exactly how many redundancies there will be – compulsory or voluntary. We need to look at other options like reduced hours, flexible working patterns, reducing our property portfolio, increasing income streams – as ways to potentially avoid compulsory redundancies. We are an ageing workforce, and we are exploring the option of early retirement with a specific group of staff who will be 55 by 31 December 2012. This may help to diminish the number of redundancies we might have to consider. This will require careful planning as there is a wealth of experience and knowledge held by this group of staff. We need to look at downsizing our property portfolio. Buildings are expensive to maintain, and are subsequently a potential cost

saving. We are planning now, with a view to dispose/sell property when the market picks up. We could also start to see different public organisations regrouping into one building, regardless of who owns the property. You can read more about the property rationalisation programme on page five.

Factfile By 2014 we will have to make savings of up to £60million. Savings proposals submitted at full council on 2 November, are based on: • A leaner council – where we aim to deliver £17m savings • Raising income – where we could raise an additional £7m Modernising our services – where we could potentially achieve savings of £20m • The Tough Choices – where around a quarter of our savings may have to come from stopping or reducing the levels of services we provide. See centre pages for more info.


Not your typical council worker Andrew Savage Contract & Policy Manager, County Highways, Environment & Economy

A

ndrew Savage has had a very busy year. He has spent the last twelve months, in his words, “thinking outside the box” as project manager leading and developing the extensive details of the £20 million a year highway maintenance contract that has just been awarded to Balfour Beatty. Always keen to maximise opportunities he has developed new highway partnership working with Coventry City Council and this contract is the first to be subregional, linking neighbouring local authorities in the Midlands, which over a maximum period of nine years could deliver key front line services totalling £200M.

(One particular) project won a Civic Trust award for its contribution to the community.

A Chartered Civil Engineer, Andrew has moved through a diverse range of roles within WCC. Firstly in 1990 as a Bridge Design and Maintenance Engineer to Section Engineer, to Regeneration Project Manager to Network Manager for Highways Maintenance, then Operations Manager and to Contract and Policy Manager in 2009. Andrew says he is guided by a simple ethos of being willing to take an opportunity when offered, even though the role may not at first glance seem to fit with experience gathered along the way. It was the spell in the Regeneration team that really tested his philosophy. Andrew says “The role was way out of my comfort zone, but I knew I had the relevant skills up my sleeve and I happily took on the challenge.” As Regeneration 2

Project Manager his focus was on the regeneration of market towns returning them to the local, vibrant hubs they once were. Andrew worked to bring internal and external bodies together, in many cases to pool funding and get the best possible results from the cash spent. Monthly farmers markets were established, civic pride groups and business forums were set up and tourism promoted. One particular success was in the Abbey Green area of Nuneaton, where 18 months after the regeneration project was completed the average income of the shops was up 50 per cent and 16 new jobs had been created. The project won a Civic Trust award for its “contribution to the community”. Over the years Andrew has managed major weather events and dealt with the aftermath of floods, gales and severe winters. Following the floods of 2007, in true ’Savage style’ he set up the Warwickshire Flood Forum which involved input from the Environment Agency, Severn Trent Water, the District and Borough Councils and WCC’s Emergency Planning team, the aims being to maximise budgets and produce a coordinated approach to the issue of flooding. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and the success of the forum is now being replicated by other authorities. A 7th child (but not of a 7th child!), Andrew grew up on a farm in Gloucestershire, and still helps out with seasonal ploughing or combine harvesting. He has been an active member of Leamington and District Round Table for 15 years, playing a large part in raising over £250k for charities and homeless people, is an Assistant Scout Leader, plays tennis and enjoys foreign travel. So why stay here at the county council for so long? Andrew simply says “There have been challenging jobs to move to, opportunities to be taken and I always keep in mind that job satisfaction is largely about “making a difference”.


Facing the challenge together There is no denying that the next few years present some really difficult challenges for local government and the wider public sector. But, we in local government have shown time and again the skills, innovation and resilience to turn adversity into opportunity and come through stronger and better than before. In his speech of 2 November, the Leader of the Council outlined some of the core areas we will be focusing on: A leaner organisation; raising income; reforming our services; and tough choices. In Environment & Economy (E&E), we have been involved in just these challenges for the last three years. By the end of this financial year we will have made savings of some £13.5 million since April 2008, in order to get our budget in balance, of which around two thirds of those savings are ongoing. Over the next four years we have to find another £12.5m as our part of the spending review targets. We have downsized in staff numbers of over the last three years by between 10 and

15 per cent. However we have continued to deliver well against our business targets and made our annual three per cent efficiency savings. During this time, some services have been reduced and some cut out altogether. Throughout the process our Portfolio Holders have been closely engaged, steering the agenda and providing strong leadership. We have improved our game in a number of areas and we are now very self aware of our strengths and the areas we need to still improve on. Really knowing your business and absolute honesty about your performance is vital to tackling the big challenges ahead. Reforming our services and finding new ways of working within the sub-region and beyond is a high priority in E&E. We have recently conducted a joint procurement exercise with Coventry City Council for our new highways maintenance contract (see page 16). We are working to establish a combined emergency

Paul Galland, Strategic Director, Environment & Economy

management arrangement with Coventry and Solihull. We have had our bid for a Local Enterprise Partnership with Coventry City Council and the local business community approved, helping to drive economic growth with less resources. We are looking to allow Birmingham City Council to deal with loan sharks in our patch as they are national experts in this area, avoiding expensive duplication. There are some really innovative ideas coming forward from E&E staff that will help us continue to provide really good services in spite of spending cuts. And despite the worry about changes and the impact this has on morale, the commitment, focus and performance of the staff in E&E never fails to inspire me and from what I see this is mirrored across the wider council. As we get stuck into these changes and the council transforms to meet the new agenda for public service, I think we can learn a lot from each other. I am interested to see lots more of the exciting and innovative things going on across the council showcased in W4W, because we really are all in this together.

Phil gets ‘taken over’ for the day A revolution is underway and the children are taking over - well, they were for one day anyway. Young people from the Children in Care Council usurped CYPF Head of Safeguarding, Phil Sawbridge, and fired questions at him about services and their needs. Phil spent several hours chatting to the young people about how the council can deliver better services for looked after children while saving money at the same time.

Joining Phil were (pictured left to right) Matt Langsford, Steven Richardson and John Lamb. Takeover Day is a national event offering children and young people across the country the chance to work alongside adults and get involved in decision-making in a wide range of organisations.

COUNCIL

TALK

Local government stories making the national news.

Everyone eligible will get a personal budget by 2013 so they can be in control of their own care and more carers will get breaks, Care Services Minister Paul Burstow has announced. The Government expects councils to provide personal budgets to 1 million eligible people, preferably as a direct payment, by 2013. The Department of Communities and Local Government has published a consultation document: Local Decisions: a fairer future for social housing, outlining plans to reform social housing in England. Minister Grant Shapps said the vulnerable would be protected and councils could still grant tenancies for life. It is expected that Education Secretary Michael Gove, will outline a national funding formula in a new white paper. All state schools in England are to have their funding set directly by central government, according to a draft proposal, which seeks to consult on a “fairer and more transparent” system. 3


News round-up

School wins building of the year Spotlight on school tweets Do you have children at school in Warwickshire? If so the world of Twitter is throwing its spotlight on Warwickshire schools, with a news ‘feed’ to provide local parents, teachers and education experts with regular updates. @wcc_schools, which can be viewed at www.twitter.com/ wcc_schools aims to bring a new world of instant information to its followers. Everything from individual school news, to countywide initiatives and national education bulletins will be updated on the Twitter feed on a daily basis. Cllr Heather Timms, WCC’s Portfolio Holder for CYPF said: “Twitter gives us a way to communicate quickly and effectively with individuals, directly to their phones, home or work computers.”

Tell us your budget priorities WCC has launched an online budget simulator, which allows staff and members of the public to suggest how savings should be made locally. Log on to www.warwickshire. gov.uk/budgetsimulator before Friday 17 December, and you can adjust the budget, and see the direct impact this would have on local services, from road maintenance to looking after the vulnerable. The responses will be summarised in a publicly available report which will be given to councillors before they make final budget decisions on 15 February 2011. Warwickshire is one of around 20 councils across the country to use the YouChoose software which has been made available for free by the Local Government Group and the online polling company YouGov. The budget simulator was first used by Redbridge Council and has gained widespread national recognition. 4

Prestigious award for North Leamington school North Leamington School has been judged Civic Building of the Year, beating almost 100 entries from around the country to the top prize. Buildings from London to Edinburgh competed for the Society of Chief Architects of Local Authorities (SCALA) award for Civic Building of the Year 2010. Experts in design, generally architects who produce buildings for the public sector, judged the competition, and deemed North Leamington to be the best of the bunch. The school opened in September 2009 setting new standards for Warwickshire schools as the most eco-friendly school ever built in the county, accommodating 1,500 11 – 18 year old pupils. Cllr Martin Heatley, Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Resources, said: “This award would not have been possible without great teamwork. Right from the board to the bricklayers,

everyone has worked hard to make North Leamington School a gem. I’d like to thank everyone for facing the challenges and for their contributions.” For more information contact Tony Phillips, (01926) 418641, tonyphillips@warwickshire.gov.uk

Butterfly points the way to transformation The cover story of the last W4W focused heavily on the concept of transformation, outlining what it means, and why, as an organisation, we need to change. In this issue we are focusing very much on the recently announced savings proposals and the scale of the financial challenges facing the council. So where does transformation fit in with the council having to make unprecedented savings of up to £60m by 2014? It is clear from the information released that we will have to change the way we do things.

To help signpost news stories in W4W which have a transformation aspect to them we will be using this butterfly icon.

We need to become a leaner organisation over the next few years, modernising our services to meet the needs of our customers, and to get more for our money. All in all we will be doing things differently, we will be changing, and the role of our transformation programme is to support the council and all staff as we make this journey. Transformation is not about one single thing, it is a combination of a number of different elements coming together. To help signpost news stories in W4W which have a transformation aspect to them we will be using this butterfly icon. Look out for the butterfly in this, and future issues.

Welcome to Wendy New Strategic Director of Adult Services, Wendy Fabbro joined the council on 1 November. Wendy has a long career in public service, having qualified as a Social Worker in 1982, and joins us from her previous post as Director of Adult Social Care in Herefordshire. “A great deal of my career has been around developing services, customer care and getting excellent value for money so I am keen to start tackling our current political and financial challenge to take forward the transformation of adult social care and Putting People First.” Look out for more from Wendy in the next W4W.

I am keen to start tackling our current political and financial challenge.


News round-up

Property rationalisation Maintaining our current buildings represents a huge outgoing

Propert y is exp ensive to run a nd any money w e do hav e needs to be spent on safeg uarding service s.

The current financial challenge is to make the necessary cutbacks whilst continuing to protect front line services. We therefore have to look at issues such as efficient use of property assets to realise some of these savings. £25 billion is spent annually on the running cost of the entire public sector property portfolio, and this represents a vast potential for savings. In Warwickshire alone, £14.7m was spent in 2008/09 on non-schools building related revenue costs (rent, rates, building maintenance, energy costs etc). In response to our savings

challenge, WCC has created the ‘Property Rationalisation’ project, with its primary objective being to realise a £4.41m cut – 30 per cent of the total – over the next three years. A secondary objective is, wherever feasible, to assist teams in moving to more mobile and flexible ways of working. In practice, this means that all WCC’s non-schools buildings will be reviewed to assess whether they can be released, and teams’ working practices will be looked at to assess how they can be modified to fit in with Modern and Flexible Working principles and

Accommodation Standards. Whilst this will undoubtedly cause disruption to staff, we know you will understand why we need to do this work. Property is expensive to run, and any money we do have needs to be spent on safeguarding services. Staff will also benefit from more efficient property that is better suited to 21st century working and that allows our workers a more empowered, flexible work life balance. Further information: David Soanes 01926 736128 davidsoanes@warwickshire.gov.uk

Supporting you through change With the challenging financial climate ahead, how we respond to, lead and manage change successfully will be an important area of work for all of us in the council. In light of this the corporate Learning and Development team have developed a range of tools and activities to support all staff through these changing times. Changes that you experience could include new systems, new team members or office moves, through to changes in the structure of your team or redeployment.

To support you there are resources available on the Intranet, to find them go to HR > Gateway to Learning > Supporting you through change. They include how to communicate change effectively through to ideas of how to personally deal with workplace change. There are also a range of sessions available for managers focused on the skills of managing change, delivering the message and supporting your team. Some of these are bite-

sized sessions lasting only two hours, including those on the legal aspects, so fit well into the working day. For staff affected by redeployment, there are a variety of sessions coordinated through your HR Business Partnership Team. These include interview and CV writing skills. For more information about the resources available contact the Learning and Development team in Workforce Strategy & Development on 01926 47 6605.

Home Fire Safety Checks An increase in home fire safety checks has already helped to save the lives of two Warwickshire families. As part of the Improvement Plan the Fire & Rescue Service has made a commitment to increase the number of home fire safety checks to 10,000 by March 2011. In the last few weeks two fires have occurred where a home fire safety check was carried out by the service. In both instances the families were given early warning by the smoke alarm installed by firefighters during the visit. Home Fire Safety Checks are tailored to individual circumstances and are aimed at managing fire hazards in the home. For further information visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/ fireandrescue

International Day for Disabled People WCC’s Disability Staff Network (DSN) is extending an open invite to all colleagues to an event celebrating International Day for Disabled People on Friday 3 December. Drop into the Shire Hall Ante-Chamber between 10 - 12noon on 3 December to meet DSN members, find out more about occupational health and pensions for people with disabilities, health & safety advice and lots more. For more information about the event contact disabilitynetwork@ warwickshire.gov.uk or call Kazim Datoo on 01926 418681. For more information about our other staff networks email equalities@warwickshire.gov.uk 5


News from where you work Recycle your old Yellow Pages Warwickshire households are set to receive a new edition of the Yellow Pages over the next few weeks, rendering the old ones redundant. The Warwickshire Waste Partnership is encouraging all residents to recycle their old Yellow Pages. Each of the old Yellow Pages weighs 1.464kg, which means that in Warwickshire there’ll be an extra 325 tonnes of paper entering the waste stream! If residents put these in their bins the material will go straight to landfill, but if they send them to be recycled the material will be made into a range of useful materials such as cardboard, packaging, insulation material and newsprint. All Warwickshire districts are now able to collect Yellow Pages in the kerbside recycling container. Yellow Pages can also be taken to any paper recycling bank across the county. Visit www.recyclemore.co.uk

Website Changes

In case you’ve not heard, from April 2011 the current WCC website will be transformed into four new websites – each with a distinct purpose. We will have Warwickshire Direct Warwickshire County Council The Zone Website for staff and partners The Warwickshire Direct website will provide access to, and information about, public council services. The new WCC ‘corporate’ site will contain a lot of information about the council e.g. budget information, meeting agendas, strategy documents, and The Zone will bring together a number of existing sites for children and young people. The E-Services team are keen to use as much feedback as possible from staff to help shape the new websites, and so far have asked for your opinions on proposed page designs and how you think services should be grouped on the new sites. You can follow the latest developments on a dedicated blog: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/ webproject. Any questions? Email webmaster@warwickshire. gov.uk 6

Warwickshire public offer independent views Group trained to review care services The Carer and Customer First team have supported 23 Warwickshire residents to become independent reviewers of health and social care services. Over the summer, the group, which includes older people, family carers and adults with a physical disability, took part in accredited training provided by Coventry University to acquire the relevant skills to review services. To recognise their achievement in acquiring Peer Reviewer status, the group were recently invited to an awards ceremony at Saltisford, where new Strategic Director Wendy Fabbro, presented certificates to the successful students. Customer Engagement Officer Amanda Burn is keen to raise awareness of the reviewers as a useful resource, “WCC now has a team of skilled individuals who can act as independent reviewers of services across adult social care and health, and are ready, willing and able to undertake future projects. “Additionally some of the Peer Reviewers will also be working in partnership with the Warwickshire Local Involvement Network (LINk) visiting a number of residential and nursing homes across the county to talk to residents and relatives

on their experiences of dignity and respect within a care home setting.” If you are interested in finding out more about the Peer Reviewers, and how they can be used to review services contact Amanda Burn, (01926) 742971, amandaburn@warwickshire.gov.uk

WCC now has a team of skilled individuals who can act as independent reviewers

The development of the Peer Reviewer programme is another aspect of the transformation of adult social care. It is anticipated that the Peer Reviewers will play an essential part in the rolling out of the Adult Social Care Transformation Programme. You can find more information about the Transformation Programme on the Intranet >Our Council> Structure & Staff > Adult, Health & Community Services or call 01926 742299.

Cracking down on false alarms A new policy has been launched by fire and rescue in a bid to reduce their attendance to an increasing amount of Automatic Fire Alarms (AFA’s).

This will free up resources during the day for firefighters to deal with life risk incidents.

The policy is being launched as one of the steps agreed in the Improvement Plan which aims to reduce the 1,200 AFA’s the service is called to attend each year. 99 per cent of which, turn out to be false alarms or burnt toast in an office kitchen. The main focus of the new policy will be to change the way the Service responds to automatic fire alarms in commercial and business premises by sending only a single fire appliance, unless a real fire is confirmed. Once successfully implemented, the second phase of the policy will be introduced

which includes a ‘false alarm, no attendance policy’ between the hours of 7am to 8pm, unless the alarm call is backed up with a ‘999’ emergency call, whereby a full attendance will be made on all occasions. This will free up resources during the day for firefighters to deal with life risk incidents such as house fires and road traffic collisions and covers core hours when premises have a key holder on site.


FACING THE

CHALLENGE Warwickshire County Council • November 2010

Message from the Leader of the Council

The facts 1. We will have to make unprecedented savings of up to £60 million by 2014. 2. We have been planning for the challenges ahead and want everybody to know what options are available. 3. We are making significant efficiency savings but the reality is this will not be enough to close the gap. 4. We will have to prioritise vital services and will have to stop delivering some services altogether. 5. Major reform of all services is required.

The new coalition government is focused on dealing with the national deficit. Like all public sector bodies, Warwickshire County Council will play its part. “Although the exact details will not be known until early December, the Comprehensive Spending Review announced on 20 October 2010 indicates a 26% reduction in Government funding to councils over the next four years. A smaller county council is unavoidable. We will have to take difficult decisions but we will prioritise vital services to meet the needs of our communities. We will also have to stop doing some things altogether. As the council downsizes, so will the workforce but we will avoid compulsory redundancies wherever possible. The pace and magnitude of the financial challenge requires large scale reform. We are well placed to do this. Over the last four years the council has been undergoing a transformation programme to do things differently, more efficiently and deliver better outcomes for residents.

Although we don’t have a choice about having to make £60 million of savings by 2014, we will still have a choice about the way we spend at least £220 million a year and we will make every pound of taxpayers’ money count. I have asked council officers to scrutinise every area of spending and investigate fully the choices available to us so that we can continue to provide essential front line services within our reduced budget. Some of the options for consideration are outlined in this document. This is the biggest challenge this council has ever had to face. We believe that it is essential for our council and our community to pull together to tackle the tough times ahead. We will take this opportunity to review, reform and improve our services to put Warwickshire in a sustainable position for the future. We want you to tell us how you think public services could be delivered differently - please refer to the back page to give your views.” Cllr Alan Farnell Leader of the Council

How will we achieve £60 million savings? • Becoming a leaner organisation by making our management, administration and support services more efficient. Approx £17million • Raising income by increasing charges where people can afford to pay for the services they use. Approx £7 million • Reforming our services by continuing with our programme of modernisation so that by doing things differently, we can save money and improve outcomes. Approx £20 million And finally, because the size of the financial problem is so big... • The tough choices of stopping some services completely. Approx £16 million

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A leaner organisation In accepting the need to face the tough choices about making cuts we, and you, must be confident that the council is as lean and efficient as possible in the way it does business. This means making sure our support services, processes and purchasing arrangements are constantly driving down costs through smarter and more efficient ways of working. We are aiming to deliver £17 million of savings in this way. We will do this through: Management and administration savings We have, over the last few years, put into place a leaner management structure reducing senior roles, such as heads of service and strategic directors, by a third. We will continue to ‘de-layer’ our structures by reducing the number of managers and leaving vacant posts unfilled wherever we can. Reducing accommodation costs Our property strategy has a challenging target to reduce accommodation costs (excluding schools) by 30% by 2014. Of the properties that the council keeps, we will increase levels of occupancy and share buildings with partner organisations. This has the potential to cut our overheads and bring in extra money by selling surplus sites. Introducing new IT systems We will introduce new IT systems to support our services, starting with our financial systems. Investment will be prioritised; focusing on those that will provide more timely and accurate information for lower costs and are better able to support our front-line staff.

We will continue to ‘de-layer our structures.

Better purchasing We are already part of a large purchasing consortium to achieve economies of scale with our partners. A full review of all of the council’s procurement activity is being undertaken to achieve further savings.

Raising income We raise about 9% of our income from charging people for the services they receive. The need to make savings has meant we are looking at other areas where we can fairly increase this. This could mean increasing existing charges to reduce the level of any subsidy or by starting to charge for services for the first time. So far we have identified areas where we could raise an additional £7 million. We have already consulted with the public about increased charges for adult social care. Other areas we are looking at include: • Increasing the income we make from our country parks, business centres and gypsy and traveller sites. • Students paying the full cost of transport to faith schools and post-16 transport to schools and colleges. • Increasing income from on-street parking charges.

We raise about 9% of our income from charging people for the services they receive. 8


Revenue Budget

How our revenue budget is currently distributed

By 2014 the Council will have had to reduce its budget by up to £60 million but this will still leave a considerable budget of over £220 million to spend on services. This figure does not include areas where we are unable to make reductions such as the Dedicated Schools Grant.

24% 36% 4% 16%

13% 7%

Reforming our services Our strategy is to transform services to meet the needs of our modern communities and get more for our money. We will do this by: • Introducing new ways of providing services that focus on the outcomes people want and not on the process • Actively working with partners and sharing the provision of services with other local authorities • Maximising the contribution made by communities and voluntary organisations. We have identified the potential to achieve savings of £20 million by transforming the way we deliver our services.

One Front Door

We want people to be able to access the information and services they need as quickly and efficiently as possible. We are already working with other partners, such as borough and district councils and the police, to bring our services together so people can get what they need in a way that suits them – whether that’s face-to-face at a One Stop Shop, over the phone, by email or on the web. This approach is central to our savings plan.

Adult Social Care

Our approach is to ensure older people, adults with disabilities and mental health needs can maximise all opportunities to live independent lives. By working more efficiently and reducing costs, we can ensure that money is spent on those who need it most. Through our free reablement service, in the all important weeks following a hospital stay or time of crisis, people are regaining the skills and confidence to live safely in their own homes. This also reduces demand for costly, long-term care packages. We are making better use of technology and adaptations to people’s existing homes and we are increasing the availability of ‘extra-care’ and supported housing as a preferable alternative to residential care. Where people are eligible for care, we will give them the funds in the form of a ‘direct payment’ so that the customer has the choice and control over the most cost effective service to meet their individual needs.

Sub-regional working

The sub-region of Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire offers an increasing opportunity to radically change the delivery of public services. With a total population of more than one million and a strong basis for partnership working, shared services can be delivered in the future to meet the needs of customers, rather than within geographical or organisational boundaries. There are opportunities to provide services including regeneration, economic development, museums, trading standards, emergency planning, highway maintenance and waste management in this way.

Children’s Services

Through our Early Intervention Service we are working with our partners, such as schools, police and health, to best meet the needs of children, young people and families in Warwickshire. By understanding our pupils, and being able to spot when they need help the most, we can ensure that every individual gets help at an earlier stage and prevent underachievement later on. By intervening early we aim to improve outcomes for young people and avoid expensive measures later on. We are in the process of moving to locality based multi-agency teams to improve our response to children in need.

Local Enterprise Partnership

We will play a stronger role in developing and growing the local economy through the Local Enterprise Partnership, which will replace the existing structure of Regional Development Agencies. This exciting partnership between the private sector and local authorities will help shape the use and allocation of the new Regional Growth Fund – helping to create new private sector jobs over the next three years.

We have identified the potential to achieve savings of £20 million by transforming the way we deliver our services. 9


Tough choices Even after taking all of the savings from greater efficiency, we will not have saved enough to close the funding gap. Around a quarter of our savings will have to come from stopping or reducing the levels of services we provide. Here are some of the options that we may have to consider in the future:

Adult Social Care • Removing subsidies for people who are able to pay for services themselves. • Reducing council-run day centre services and developing options with the private and voluntary sector for less money. • Reviewing council-owned residential care homes and considering closure or selling to external providers. • Reducing high-cost care packages.

Services for Children and Young People • Reducing youth services. • Reducing the Educational Psychology Service. • Reviewing local authority services to schools, which may be decommissioned or offered on a traded basis. • Reviewing provision of passenger assistants on school transport for primary school children. • Removing the subsidy to the County Music Service.

Highways and Transport • Stopping non-statutory road signs and carriageway marking schemes. • Reducing spending on maintaining rights of way and access to the countryside. • Reducing spending on highways maintenance. • Stopping community transport services, subsidised. evening bus services and reducing the bus network serving Coleshill Parkway and Birmingham International. • Switching off street lights overnight.

Community Safety • Reducing speed camera enforcement. • Reducing Trading Standards enforcement and intervention work. • Stopping funding to Warwickshire Police for Police Community Support Officers working on anti-social behaviour.

Community Based Services

• Reducing the opening hours of household waste recycling centres. • Reducing the opening hours of visitor and tourism venues. • Stopping some arts projects. • Reducing library services. • Stopping community regeneration projects. • Scaling down work on economic development and skills.

Feedback We would like to hear your comments Over the coming months the council will be gathering information and views from community representatives about suggested changes to services. We want you to tell us how you think public services could be delivered differently. How can we encourage people like you to get more involved in your neighbourhood? How can the council help you and others make a difference to the lives of people in Warwickshire? We have launched a number of initiatives for example an interactive ‘You Choose’ web budget simulator where you can see how each financial decision impacts on a service. This will be live until 17 December 2010. To give it a try go to:

www.warwickshire.gov.uk/budgetsimulator

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With your help, your views and your suggestions we can focus on the changes that need to be made for the years ahead. For more information Email: youchoose@warwickshire.gov.uk or write to:

You Choose Resources Directorate Warwickshire County Council Shire Hall Market Square CV34 4RR


News from where you work

MiPod from Positive about Young People Young people help shape services in the county

Thousands of potholes filled as county roads are repaired

Jargon Buster • PODS stands for Positive Operational Drop-In Strategy • There are three types of PODS, High, Medium & Low level. High level is a steel unit adapted for young people; medium level is an existing building and low level is where young people already hang out in the community. • All three types of PODS have trained staff who engage the young people through activities and provision of information. • There are 33 PODS in Warwickshire - the aim of PODS is to provide somewhere for young people to meet.

Managing Stress Here at WCC we take the health, safety, welfare and wellbeing of all our employees very seriously. The WCC Management of WorkRelated Stress and Wellbeing Policy has been launched, along with a managers guide, risk assessments, and a health and wellbeing return-to-work checklist. Confidential help, support and counselling is also available to staff through the Staff Care Service. Staff Care is available to any member of staff*, either by self-referral, through your line manager or the HR Advisory Service. Further information on the policy, risk assessments, Staff Care Service and advice to improve your general wellbeing can be found on the Intranet > HR > Health, Safety and Workforce Wellbeing. For managers wanting to access training on the management of work-related stress & wellbeing, please contact Diane Smith at dianesmithcl@warwickshire.gov.uk * Fire & Rescue colleagues access this service via their own Staff Wellbeing Adviser & Counsellor and school staff access it via their HR Advisor.

The countywide Mi POD Council has gone from strength to strength since it was formed in December 2009. The council is made up of young representatives from the county’s individual POD councils and other Positive about Young People programmes. They meet each month to discuss local issues that affect them. As a countywide voice for young people, Mi POD has already been recognised for achieving positive outcomes in their communities by helping to shape new services, revitalise existing ones and resolve local issues. Examples of their work include developing a selfesteem programme, tidying up the overgrown Hilltop POD memorial garden, and

campaigning for better safety measures for the skate ramp near Whitnash POD. Hugh Disley, Head of CYPF Development Programme, recognised the Mi POD group as ‘Trailblazers’ in the involvement of 8-13 year olds in decision making and Mi POD have agreed to be one of the focus groups that is consulted over the development programme going on within the directorate. Mi POD is keen to invite senior managers and others from across the council to take up the ‘hot seat’, allowing the young people to find out more about local authority services, how they might influence providers, and what is on offer for young people. For more information please contact Sonia Brench on 02476 754183.

Mi POD is keen to invite senior managers and others from across the council to take up the ‘hot seat’

County Highways teams filled almost 15,000 potholes between January and April to repair roads which were damaged during harsh winter weather. The extent of the operation, which cost around £200,000, has been revealed as the county council launches its preparations for the coming winter months. Warwickshire received a £1.12 million grant from the Department for Transport as part of a national winter emergency funding grant to address the damage to Warwickshire’s 3,820km highway network by ice and snow. Since April, County Highways has been able to employ up to nine road patching gangs across Warwickshire to deal with the vast backlog of winter potholes and localised winter damaged sections of highway. Arrangements are now in place for the coming winter months and 14,000 tonnes of grit had been stockpiled in case the weather takes a turn for the worse. For more information go to: www.warwickshire.gov.uk/ roads

Any bright ideas? If you have anything you’d like to contribute or simply tell us what you think about W4W email: workingforwarwickshire@ warwickshire.gov.uk 11


News from where you work Extending records delivery service The Records Management Service (RMS) and Library Transport Service have begun a pilot which will offer a records delivery service to teams outside the Warwick/Leamington area. The pilot runs until January, and if successful, will be rolled out fully. Using the existing library van routes the RMS will be able to offer a delivery service to teams outside the Warwick/Leamington area for the first time. Teams will also be able to return records using this service. Records can be picked up and left, in secure areas, at the service team’s closest library. Small deposits of records can also be made by prior arrangement via this service. Corporate Records Manager Craig Ferguson said, “As a small service we’ve previously only been able to deliver to customers in Warwick and parts of Leamington. The agreement with Libraries now means that we are able to offer a wider service to customers and ensure that services working in the wider county can deposit records securely with us and know that they can have them delivered.” Call 01926 738585 or email recordsmanagement@ warwickshire.gov.uk

It’s not all about complaints Learning from feedback - good and bad

You might think that to be a member of the council’s Customer Relations Team, means spending your days dealing with disgruntled customers eager to air their complaints. But this couldn’t be further from the truth as Customer Relations Officer Dena Allen explains: “It’s not all about complaints! We deal with all customer feedback which includes comments and compliments, and it’s important to us as an organisation that we learn from what people are telling us to help improve our services moving forward.” When it comes to complaints the team support both staff and the complainant throughout the process, there is a statutory complaints process to follow for Children and Adults’ Social Care, and a wide range of complaints come in corporately too. The team undertake training with staff in AHCS and CYPF in complaints handling, and in the event of a complaint being upheld the team make sure the relevant information is passed on in order to improve the service.

Why contact the team?

• You might not be 100% sure if a complaint has been made (there can be a fine line) • Advice on what to do on certain aspects of complaint • Dealing with difficult situations

Newdigate Primary Wins Educatering Award

Young People’s Initiative Manager Warwickshire County Council’s Arson Reduction Team welcomes Richard Hitchins to the post of Young People’s Initiative Manager. Richard has been involved in youth and community work since 1990, where he began his career as a volunteer at a youth club. For the last eight years Richard has specialised in street or detached youth work engaging with NEET (not in education, employment and training) and ‘difficult to reach’ young people on the streets of the West Midlands. Richard said: “The main aspect of my role will be to work with young people aged 17 to 25 to reduce young driver casualties. I hope to add to the work that both the fire service and the council do with reducing risks for young people.” 12

Photo l-r Educatering Magazine’s Editor Jane Renton, Award’s Sponsor from Dr Oetker, Newdigate Primary School’s Tracey Marshall.

Well done to Bedworth’s Newdigate Primary School who have won the Educatering Magazine’s Primary School of the Year Award. This is a national accolade, awarded to an establishment that demonstrates significant achievement in its catering provision. The London ceremony saw the Bedworth school take the

title with the award presented to Newdigate’s Catering Supervisor Tracey Marshall. Warwickshire County Caterers were also represented at the ceremony by Chef Manager, Anita Hellyer from St. Benedict’s Catholic School, which was in the final three for Secondary School of the Year, but was pipped at the post.

• Advice on process and procedures to follow • Advice on responses and letter templates Call the team on – 01926 414102 See case study below.

Case Study: Using complaints to improve services The complaint: A complaint received from a young person whose personal belongings went missing during a placement move, and was subsequently found to have been destroyed. The improvement: When it was established that the belongings had been accidentally destroyed the council thought not just about the financial cost of the items lost, but about the emotional impact of the loss on the young person. As well as money towards to cost of replacing the items lost, the team undertook to contact family members and previous carers to put together an album of photographs and memories for the young person to keep. As well as this, the young person was given money towards an activity of their choice as a way of apologising for the loss of their belongings.


News from where you work NHS Partnership highlights good practice Warwickshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service is helping lead the way when it comes to protecting some of the most vulnerable people of the community. Working with NHS Warwickshire in Nuneaton, crews have joined health officials to provide visitors to the George Elliot Hospital and the Medical Centre in Camp Hill with home fire safety advice. The initiative, created by Crew Manager Paul Whittaker from the Nuneaton Area Risk Team, provides some of the hardest to reach members of the community with access to health and fire safety advice in one place. Leaflets and posters have been created with simple tips to reduce the risk of fire and explain what to do if a blaze does break out in the home. Due to its success, the partnership project has been recognised as an example of good practice at an NHS conference in Manchester.

Road Safety on tour Pictured: Poonam Pathania, Cllr Mike Gittus, Chris Fossey

WCC and Warwickshire Police have been visiting shopping centres across the county to promote vital road safety messages to the community. The Road Shows focused on the dangers of speeding and the importance of wearing of seat belts as well as promoting a number of educational road safety campaigns. Police and WCC Officers were on

hand to offer advice to the public and give out free wheelie bin stickers bearing the message ‘slow down in our community’ as part of the Road Safety Partnership’s Speeding Wastes Lives campaign. If you would like a set of bin stickers contact: Chris Fossey, Road Safety Liaison Officer, chrisfossey@warwickshire.gov.uk, 01926 418612.

A heritage shared

Hardeep Singh Kohli pictured with Shearon Williams, CYPF Equality Officer.

A cultural exhibition created by school children to celebrate Black History Month toured the county’s schools in October, highlighting our society’s shared heritage and offering curriculum ideas to other Warwickshire schools. The exhibition was launched at a special preview event on 30 September at Stratford Civic Hall where an audience of over 130 guests heard from keynote speaker Hardeep Singh Kohli (left) and were entertained by groups of young performers. The work on display was from Water Orton Primary School in North Warwickshire, Rugby’s Northlands Primary, Nuneaton’s St Joseph’s Catholic Primary and St Anthony’s in Leamington Spa and included facts, pictures, models and interactive elements. The schools were supported in their projects by CYPF’s Equality and Diversity Officer and the Intercultural Curriculm Support Service.

Successful partnership achievements Warwickshire’s Drug Alcohol & Action Team (DAAT) are seeing the real benefits of partnership working with the release of figures for 2009/10. The work of DAAT is partnership focused as they commission and promote services which are provided by a range of treatment providers. These providers then engage drug users in treatment. The 2009/10 figures show that 1,140 problematic drug users were in effective treatment, exceeding the target number by 77. Positive news for our Community Safety team came with Home Office confirmation that the Warwickshire Prolific and Priority Offenders (PPO) Scheme has achieved a massive 29 per cent reduction in the offending rates of PPOs during 2009/10. This is significantly above the reduction target of 19 per cent. DAAT are represented on the partnership steering group which oversees the scheme, and Community Safety Project Officers are involved in the local partnership subgroups which discuss the individuals who are, or should be, managed by the scheme. For more information contact Katie Whitehouse, Partnerships Performance Manager, katiewhitehouse@warwickshire. gov.uk

Old Ways of Working?

Are you are still travelling around the county for meetings that could be conducted over the telephone? Are you aware that the facilities available on the telephone system may save your department time and money? The facilities on our telephone system allow a conference call of up to six participants, internal or external. The only costs involved would be any calls in the conference which are external. For further details and to check whether your site has these facilities please contact the ICT Service Desk on (01926 41) 4141 13


Team Focus • Integrated Disability Service - Autism Team CYPF The council’s Autism Team sits within the Integrated Disability Service that operates across the county from three bases at Lancaster House in Coventry, Orion House in Leamington and Faraday Hall in Rugby. The team consists of a range of professionals that each brings areas of specialism vital to offering a holistic service. This includes: • Two Autism Managers • Specialist Teachers (and Lead Consultant Teacher) • Teaching Assistants • Inclusion Assistants • Social Workers • Youth worker • Flexible Learning Co-ordinator • Educational Psychologist input

For some young people with autism, the traditional educational experience can be incredibly stressful.

The Team also has strong links with Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services, Speech and Language Therapy and Occupational Therapy. The team offers a range of services to schools and families including: • Providing relevant training for school staff and families • Advice and support to schools • Long term support and

co-ordination of provision of services to families. • Short term intensive support to schools and families at times of crisis • Flexible learning packages Some of the work of the team focuses on supporting children and young people diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder within a school setting, supporting their education and development. However for some young people with autism, the traditional educational experience can be incredibly stressful, and their heightened anxiety levels have led them to stop going to school altogether. A very different approach is then required to engage with young people in this situation, which is where the work of the Flexible Learning team comes in.

a flexible response to autism Flexible Learning Part of the wider Autism Team in the Integrated Disability Service, the Flexible Learning Team work specifically with young people age 14 – 19 diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The main focus of the team is on young people who display particularly long term, chronic symptoms, which have led them to drop out of school, and subsequently may struggle to leave their home. John Hassall, Flexible Learning co-ordinator explains further: “School can be an incredibly stressful experience for a young person with ASD. In some cases they will drop out of school quite suddenly, in many cases there appears to be no gradual build up, and without the routine of the school day it becomes all too easy for them to retreat into their own world, not leave their home 14

and have very little interaction with anyone outside of their immediate family.” At this point where the young person has stopped going to school, steps are taken in county to address this, working with the school and other agencies to engage with the pupil. But, as John explains this does not always solve things. “In some cases where the pupil has ASD this does not always work. This is where we can step in with a more flexible, community based approach.” John first piloted the programme around two and a half years ago, working with Mike*, a young man not attending school or accessing any social or educational

opportunity. The team is still working with him and he has now made significant progress. Following its success it has been rolled out further with up to ten places available at any one time. How does it work? Flexible learning is very much focused on the needs of the young person and in particular the impact of their ASD diagnosis. After an assessment the team will put together a bespoke package of support, designed to meet their individual needs. “We look at whatever the young people need and that will move them on, it can be trial and error to some extent as we don’t always know what will stimulate

their interest initially, or keep their attention.” says John. “Our starting point may be looking at what we can do to get them out and about, to leave their bedroom and the house and start talking to and trusting adults again. We’ll then look at activities which can help further their development, improve their life skills and help to reduce their anxiety.” The support required by each young person will be different. They might get involved in: • Developing their life skills both at home and in their local communities. • Direct work helping them to gain a better understanding of their diagnosis and its impact. • Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) that uses horses to build confidence and improve communication skills.


Team Focus • Integrated Disability Service - Autism Team CYPF

Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) uses horses to build confidence and improve communication skills.

• Expressive arts e.g. photography, painting, drawing or film making. • Attending youth clubs, going on trips and accessing local projects. • Gaining work experience and accessing volunteering opportunities. • Completing ASDAN awards and qualifications. The team work closely with the families of the young people, involving them in regular reviews and asking them to assess progress and reflect on any positive changes or developments. “There is no real time limit on our work; we will work at the pace needed to help each young person meet their own personal goals. We are very much there for the long term which is wonderful.”

Case Study: Mike’s* story

Case Study: Will Shakespeare

“Mike started working with Flexible Learning two and a half years ago. We were able to employ an inclusion assistant, who worked directly with Mike. He wouldn’t leave his house or talk to any one new. We used really good autism practice to present opportunities to Mike. In time he warmed to us. Since starting he has become a confident horse rider, has completed an Expressive Arts course culminating in an exhibition of his work alongside another student in an art gallery and is accessing a local youth project.” At a recent review his mum said, “Mike wouldn’t be where he is today if the autism team hadn’t got involved. He is a much more confident young man who has a much brighter future.”

“I’ve been working with Mike since he started on Flexible Learning. When I first met him two and a half years ago he was very socially isolated and struggled to interact with anyone new. We got over this barrier by talking about his interests in “Transformers” and computer games which he felt confident enough to talk about to me. Being able to work with Mike over a long period of time has given me the opportunity to develop an effective learning relationship which has helped Mike feel safe and confident in tackling some of the difficulties and challenges he has faced. We’ve helped him to reflect on our sessions and draw attention to the successes that he has achieved no matter how small.” *Name has been changed.

Team Stats John Hassall Flexible Learning Co-ordinator Helen Scoffham Specialist Teacher Julie Bates Youth Worker William Shakespeare & Louise Aviles Inclusion Assistants Did you know? • 1 in 100 young people have ASD • It is more common in boys by 4:1 • Aspergers Syndrome tends to get diagnosed later than classic autism • As many as 8 out of 10 could be diagnosed with a recognised anxiety disorder 15


News from where you work Food for thought

The catering team at Canon Maggs Junior School (above) took a step back in time earlier this month as part of National School Meals Week, 8 - 12 November. The annual campaign to promote healthy school meals was once again supported by WCC’s County Caterers, who put together two special themed menus. A 1940s ‘Get Remembering’ wartime themed lunch marked Armistice Day on 11 November. Pupils had the chance to sample Lord Woolton’s Pie, this was a dish of layered leek and potatoes, named after the World War Two food minister. This was followed by a ‘Get Giggling’ lunch on Friday 12, highlights included the funny face pizza with wibbly wobbly mousse for pudding! For more information about the menus or National School Meals Week contact countycaterers@warwickshire. gov.uk or call 01926 414157.

Yao culture comes to Warwickshire

In a first for Warwickshire and the UK, a delegation of twenty performers from Ruyuan Yao, a county of Guangdong Province, China, took to the stage at North Warwickshire and Hinckley College and at Stratford College in September to showcase a traditional festival of music, dance and costume to rapt audiences. Each performance followed workshops in song, dance, paper folding and stick skipping where pupils from eight local primary schools worked with the performers on traditional art and crafts.

The performances were part of a well established exchange programme involving a number of the county’s schools. Links with the Ruyuan schools were forged in 2008 as part of CYPF’s international school development programme. Since then the schools have been communicating and developing innovative ways to support language and cultural learning through comparing and contrasting the two countries. This visit was funded through the Chinese Government, HSBC bank and the British Council.

Warwickshire and Coventry join forces for new £100m highways contract The Cabinet has awarded a prestigious £100 million five year highway maintenance contract to Balfour Beatty. Following a competitive tendering process, the new contract is in partnership with Coventry City Council and will deliver better value for money to the taxpayer. Balfour Beatty will commence the initial five year contract when the current highway maintenance contract with Carillion ends on 5 May 2011, with the option to extend the contract for a further four years subject to performance, making the total contract worth up to £200m over nine years. Strategic Director Paul Galland revealed that the contract is one of the first of its kind in the Midlands region, in that highway work will be delivered by one provider across two local authorities Warwickshire’s highway network stretches to 3,820km and Coventry’s network extends to 820km. The contract covers the county’s planned and routine highway maintenance, street lighting, bridgeworks and other transport projects up to the value of £250,000.

Christine’s award The Law Society recently held their annual excellence awards, and WCC was represented well on the night as Christine Williamson (pictured second left) who works in Young People’s Legal Services, won Most Highly Commended Legal Executive of the Year. Christine was nominated by her manager Fay Ford, for the innovative and quality advice she has given to clients and Warwickshire schools over the last 20 years. “I was thrilled to learn I had been shortlisted for a Law Society Excellence award, let alone nominated!” said a delighted Christine. 16


People

Waller great idea

Andrew raises the flag

By day Andrew Gambrill is a Social Worker on the Adult Reviewing Team but outside of work he is the Head Coach of the Coventry Jets Flag Football Academy (think the American football version of Tag Rugby). Andrew recently led his team to victory in the British Championship in Worcester. After brushing aside local rivals the Cougars in the semi final, the Jets knew the London Blitz were going to be a much sterner test. Showing no signs of big match nerves, Gambrill’s charges leapt to an early two score advantage which they never surrendered, Andrew said: “Sure, it’s a nice feeling to achieve such success, but to realise you have just played a part in one of the biggest days in their lives is really special.” Volunteers from the County Record Office’s national award winning project ‘Outside the Box’ came together for a special reception recently. The project which involved collation of 1,700 Waller family documents dated from the 12th century to the 1930s won the Highly Commended award at the Archives & Records Association (ARA) in 2009 in the category of the National Archive Volunteering Project of the Year. In recognition of

Mousumi held to account Mousumi Bose, Administrative Officer, with the Interpretation and Translation Service (Customers, Workforce and Governance) successfully completed her AAT Technician Level in June 2010. Mousumi not only completed the accounting qualification she was also presented with the Warwickshire College Best Student Award for AAT Technician Level 2010. This was presented to Mousumi on 15 October at a special awards evening held at the college’s Trident Centre.

this, Environment and Economy’s Heritage and Culture Service hosted an event at Shire Hall to acknowledge the work and dedication of the 30 project volunteers. Mark Ryder Head of Trading Standards, Heritage & Culture thanked the group for all their valuable contributions. He said: “The project would not have been possible without the support of our enthusiastic volunteers who

worked in their own time on the Waller documents, collectively clocking up 271 working days over the project lifespan. “The result of their work goes beyond the collection - a book has been published, a recipe booklet and map have been produced, more visitors have come to heritage education venues and a small group of the volunteers have set up their own history group.”

Cleaning Service scoops customer service award Congratulations to Resources’ Cleaning Services who have just become the first WCC service to achieve the Customer Service Excellence (CSE) accreditation which replaces the old Charter Mark award. In September the CSE assessors visited Cleaning HQ at Montague Road in Warwick and also carried out a number of site visits. They were particularly impressed with the way Cleaning Services view

their customers as critical to their success, “You clearly have a customer focused approach to delivering services and there is a real commitment displayed by the management team to putting customers first.” By achieving the CSE government standard, we join nine other local authorities in the West Midlands, including our neighbours at Solihull and Coventry.

Keith hangs up his boots A Warwickshire youth worker who has spent almost half a century guiding young people through the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has hung his walking boots up for the final time, and retired from his role. Keith Asbury first became involved in the scheme, now managed by WCC’s Youth and Community Service (Outdoor Education), when he became the first person in the county to achieve the Gold level back in 1959. Since then, he has devoted 46 years of service to helping 14 to 25 year-olds in Warwickshire do the same. Keith was awarded an MBE for Services to Young People in the Queen’s New Year Honours list in 2007. Although Keith quickly pointed out that if such awards were presented to teams, there would be none more deserving than his. 17


People Sharon is a champion dragon boat racer Sharon Wilkins in Resources’ ICT represents Great Britain at international level in the sport of Dragon Boat racing. The GB Premier Women’s team (pictured below) have recently won three gold medals at the European Championships in Amsterdam and are now officially the best women’s dragon boat team in Europe! Sharon’s manager Sarah Randell, takes up the story: “We’ve known that Sharon takes her holidays in some pretty interesting destinations, and that she’s ultra fit. But just how fit I don’t think any of us realised until she came back from her last break. Sharon is never one to blow her own trumpet, but she did let slip that the team had pulled off the triple gold medal achievement “ “Sharon also recently attended an outrigger race in the South of France which went on for six hours, involved a relay with a support vessel with 40 minutes racing, 20 minutes rest - with crew changes being made from the water. It sounded like a very strenuous way to enjoy the South of France. The team won there as well. We wish them all the very best for the World Championships in Tampa next year.”

Celebrating success

Photo Back row, l-r Jim Graham, Cllr Alan Farnell, Ben Campbell-Gibbons. Front row l-r Anna Stowe, Claire Batsford Cllr Jose Compton, Julie Quinn, Lisa Mowe.

Future leaders and aspiring managers from across the organisation have been congratulated for successfully completing the CMI Management Diploma in First Line Management. A celebration event was held at Shire Hall with the Chief Executive, Jim Graham, Leader of the Council, Cllr Alan Farnell and the Chair of the County Council, Cllr Jose Compton on hand to personally congratulate the managers on their success. The group were the first to represent Warwickshire County Council in a joint training programme run by Coventry University in partnership with Coventry City Council.

WOW! Awards success Asylum Seekers Project has the WOW! Factor

Our Asylum Seekers Project surpassed finalists from Edinburgh City Council, Merseyside Police and Homes for Haringey to pick up the ‘WOW! You Changed My Life’ Award at the ‘WOW! Awards Gala Ceremony’ this month. The national award, presented by Radio Four’s Liz Barclay, recognises those who have changed the lives of others by going above and beyond what would usually be expected from them. Team Leader Anwara Ali moved judges with the story of a young teenager who arrived in the UK as an unaccompanied asylum seeker from Albania. With support from the Asylum Seekers Project he was able to fulfil his dream 18

of qualifying as a solicitor with distinction! He said of the team: “What you do is remarkable and what you stand for is absolutely amazing. The causes you have fought for over the years have changed people’s lives forever – especially those most in need” The WOW! Awards are the UK’s only national award for outstanding customer service based purely on customer nominations.


My Warwickshire Life

Maria Smedley • Community Fire Safety Manager - Fire and Rescue

Maria has been with the County Council for four years. With her team, she works with communities, partners and the public to try and change habits and actions when it comes to reducing fires & improving community safety. What’s the best thing about your current role? The ability to innovate….. and of course the positive outcomes of the work. I’m able to imagine new ways of engaging and educating on the wisdom of thinking about fire and community safety. Whether it’s getting messages to vulnerable people about the risks of fire, or helping communities to reduce the risk of deliberate fire setting or engaging with new young drivers instil good driving habits, my role ultimately sees people at less risk from fire & rescue related incidents. What was your first ever job? I’ve always been mad about horses and used to teach riding at a school in Corley Moor at weekends and after school. I went on to take professional exams when I left school and become a full time qualified instructor. What irritates you? Having to take a luke warm bath when the hot water runs out. The biggest rows in our house when I was a teenager were about the lack of hot water when I arrived home

after a day at the stables very grubby and sweaty and in need of a really hot soak. What is your greatest fear? Tidal waves. I have a recurring dream that I’m in a tsunami. Maybe I should get that one analysed. What’s your scariest moment? I’m at an event and faced with huge fences on a young, inexperienced horse. You get a cold dread that you could be in for some serious injury or worse. More recently, I was at the top of a mountain, about to take on red run on a snow board I’d not yet mastered. That certainly got the heart beating. What is the one item you would take to a desert island? My Technics 1200 turntables and my record box. I used to be a house-music club DJ and still love a bit of mixing. What’s your idea of heaven? A farm with some land where I keep a few horses; nice weather to enjoy it; some mountains in the background and a beach about 30 minutes drive away. Who would you most like to be stranded on a desert island with? Johnny Depp. Is there another answer? Who would you least like to be stranded on a desert island with? Gail Platt (now McIntyre) from Coronation Street. She’s my nemesis and the most annoying person on the planet. Except, Patrick Kielty, he’s really irritating too!

If you could choose any job in the world what would it be? I’d be a festival organiser: great music, original foodie outlets, camping etc. It would be the perfect outlets for all my latent creative expression plus I love to see people having a brilliant time.

Music? My favourite track would be Where Love Lives by Alison Limerick, but I’ve got a real eclectic taste including funky house and the Stereophonics, Mumford & Sons, Smoove & Turrel, Oasis, The Beatles and The Jam all feature. Place in Warwickshire? Although I lived in Nuneaton, I spent most of my time in Corley Moor and I feel great sense of nostalgia about the place from the great pub to the lovely woods that few people seem to know about. Food? A great Sunday roast featuring lamb and lots of mint sauce. Film? I loved Armageddon, an American sci-fi disaster film which follows a group of blue-collar deep-core drillers sent by NASA to stop a gigantic asteroid on a collision course with Earth.

What do you never leave home without? Decent shoes. Any claims to fame? I had tea with Larry Grayson. He was a neighbour so I didn’t think it was anything unsual at the time. We lived on the same road and my little gang used to ride our bikes around his front garden. What do you do in your spare time? As you can tell from previous answers, quite a lot of riding. When I’m not occupied by the kids, I go to the gym, surf and snowboard as often as I can. What’s your motto? I’m not a fan of the wannabe celebrity culture, so it would be something along the lines of ‘Live you own life, not someone else’s’.

TV Programme? Emmerdale – I’m a country girl at heart. What wouldn’t we guess about you? I can play the trumpet and even got up to Grade 7.

Have you any unfulfilled ambitions? I would love to be really successful at running a business. What’s your favourite: Holiday destinations? Whistler in Canada for snowboarding and Croyde Bay in Devon for summer holidays. Book? Enid Blyton’s The Famous Five series was a great favourite as a child and I’m about to bring them down from the loft for my children to start on. 19


Competition To win a fab iPod shuffle, simply answer the following question (the answer is in this edition) and email your answer to: w4wcompetition@warwickshire. gov.uk Q. How many potholes were filled between Jan-April 2010?

A dressed down coffee morning Staff across the county enjoyed a cuppa and slice of cake recently, all in the name of charity. WCC supported Macmillan Cancer Support and their world’s biggest coffee morning event on 24 September, with an organisation-wide dress down/dress green day and a number of coffee mornings in different offices around the county. A fantastic £1450 was raised in total, with all directorates helping to contribute to this grand total. Ann Hancox, (pictured below) a cancer survivor who works in Learning & Development, organised the dress down fundraising and together with other colleagues from across the council, shared their stories of how cancer has affected their lives.

Stuck for gift ideas?

Looking for unusual and unique Christmas gifts this year? Warwickshire’s country parks and museum may have just what you are looking for. Handmade and individual crafts are now for sale, at Warwickshire Museum’s winter exhibition ‘Fine and Unique’. The work on display includes paintings, jewellery, textiles, handmade Christmas cards and much more. Prices start at £1.50 so there is something to suit all pockets, and you can be sure that your gift will be one of a kind. The exhibition runs until 15 January at Pedlars Gallery in Warwickshire Museum, Market Place, Warwick. Tuesday – Saturday, free admission. The gift shops at Kingsbury Water Park and Ryton Pools Country Park stock a range of unusual gift ideas, from walking sticks to pens, wooden bowls, dog whistles and nutcrackers – all made by a local woodturner from wood from our own parks. Gift vouchers are available, and Country Parks can take your order and payments over the phone, and deliver to main WCC offices. All purchases will go towards the costs of keeping the parks running. Contact parks@ warwickshire.gov.uk or 01827 872660 for more details or to place your order. Working for Warwickshire is printed on recycled paper and written, edited and designed in-house to minimise costs. For contributions or comments contact:

w4w@warwickshire.gov.uk or write to: Sarah Antill, W4W,Customer Service & Communications, P.O. Box 9, Shire Hall, Warwick CV34 4RR • Tel. 01926 476883

Ann is happy to share her story with W4W readers “I was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2008 when I was 44 years old. I had to have two operations, chemotherapy and radiotherapy over the next year.” Ann Hancox

“The day I found ‘something odd’ in my breast, I was at the doctors within an hour, with no appointment! I would urge others, who find a lump anywhere, or have some worrying symptoms to go to the doctors immediately. In the vast majority of cases, it won’t be cancer, but if it is, the sooner you have the diagnosis and treatment the better. I have met people who have put off seeing a doctor - some have got away with it, but others not. “It was a huge shock and obviously somewhat scary for me and my family, but I got fantastic support and treatment from both Warwick and Walsgrave hospitals. The support and information from charities such as Cancer Research and Macmillan are also invaluable to those living with cancer and their families.

“I am well now and hope to remain that way and, although it can be seen as a cliche, I now love life more and feel a lot happier than I did before this experience.” www.macmillan.org.uk

Working for Warwickshire November 2010  

News for staff of warwickshire County Council

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