County Council Report February 2015

peterhudsonCounty Council report from Cllr Peter Hudson

Councillor Hudson’s report for February includes the following topics:
– Library service transformation proposals supported
– Cambridgeshire and Suffolk Library Services team up to provide greater choice for customers
– Exciting opportunities for businesses at Cambridge Park & Ride sites
– A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon Improvement Scheme
– Adult Learning and Skills report 2013/2014

Library Service Transformation Proposals Supported

The future of Cambridgeshire Library Services was discussed at the Highways and Community Infrastructure Committee on 20 January 2015.  The proposed Strategy looks at transforming the service to meet a broad range of Council priorities, future trends, efficiency savings and how the service can work more closely with communities to help deliver library services.  Councillors unanimously supported the Strategy.  The next stage of the review is to finalise plans for the engagement process due to start in February 2015.

Contact: Christine May, Head of Community & Cultural Services

Cambridgeshire and Suffolk Library Services Team Up to Provide Greater Choice for Customers

Library customers from Cambridgeshire and Suffolk can now reserve and borrow items from both library services as part of the joint Cambridgeshire and Suffolk Shared Partnership in the East (SPINE) catalogue.  Customers will be able to borrow items from any library in Suffolk or Cambridgeshire for free and return library loans to any Suffolk or Cambridgeshire library.  Library customers will also be able to reserve items and request for them to be sent to their nearest library for a £1 charge to cover costs.

Contact: Nicola Fairweather – Stock and Distribution Manager

Exciting Opportunities for Businesses at Cambridge Park & Ride Sites

Businesses are being invited to look for opportunities to use Cambridgeshire County Council’s seven Park and Ride sites which are visited by 3.3 million customers annually.

Cambridgeshire County Council is keen to develop proposals that enhance the facilities, support business and broaden the range of commercial activities at the Park and Ride sites.

The Council held a Supplier Open half-day on 24 February 2015 between 10am – 11am at Shire Hall, Cambridge, followed by a visit to Trumpington Park & Ride. This event is the first step in mapping out the potential benefits of commercial development to both existing and new customers using these sites. Cambridgeshire County Council officers will be on hand to offer guidance and advice to all attendees.

Peter Hudson, local County Council, said: “This is a real opportunity for businesses to step forward with ideas that will create commercial opportunities and added benefits for our millions of passengers. The move is part of the Council’s policy of supporting business, providing high quality services and looking for income to help support frontline services. We have already been contacted by a number of businesses who will be attending and look forward to hearing from more.”

Following the supplier event, development of viable commercial options will take place. A formal procurement process will follow. The tenders will be advertised on Source Cambridgeshire according to current procurement thresholds and interested businesses will be invited to bid.

A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon Improvement Scheme

On 27 January 2015, the Planning Inspectorate accepted the Development Consent Order (DCO) application for the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme for examination

There will shortly be a round of parish/town council updates (2, 4 and 5 March 2015) along the route. Councils have been divided into three groups which relate to the central, western and eastern sections of the scheme. Given the number of councils involved, they will be restricted to a maximum of two representatives per council i.e. one representative from each council and another to a non-parish council member ideally someone with close ties to the local community, for example a teacher or a leader of a community group etc. This update will focus on the DCO process including opportunities to get involved and have your say as well as providing attendees the opportunity to ask the team questions on the night.

The Planning Inspectorate have advised that registration as an ‘interested party’ closes at 11.59pm on Thursday 12 March. Registration on the Planning Inspectorate website is the mechanism by which interested parties will be able to make representations about the scheme proposals later in the year. Once registered, the Planning Inspectorate informs interested parties of all opportunities to a say during the examination process.

For more information about the scheme and process please refer to the website below.

Adult Learning and Skills Report 2013/2014

Executive summary
The Focus for the Adult Learning and Skills Services (AL&S) is to help individuals, communities and businesses achieve their goals, by helping them access learning and skills development. The service aims to offer a consistent, high quality experience for people wherever they engage with us and to work with partners to ensure we reach those furthest from learning. The teams within the service offer effective careers advice and guidance, assessment, initial and advanced skills learning and a range of support for skills development and routes into employment. The service takes a strategic role in the development of skills throughout the county.

The report evaluates this work and its impact on learners, employers and communities. The evaluation involves and is contributed to by staff in the service partners and learners.

Although Adult Learning and Skills has a universal offer, in some circumstances learners are targeted where they are farthest from learning in the most deprived communities and in the hardest to reach circumstances, but also, where they or their employer have not been able to fulfill their potential. The community learning offer includes in its target outcomes the opportunity for individuals to combat social isolation and improve health and wellbeing. An outcomes framework is being piloted with this work.

The Service is very well represented at national and regional level and it has worked with colleagues across the county council to develop a skills strategy that embraces the transition of young people into the adult learning and skills stage of the journey to employment. The Strategy has been agreed by the county council members and is supported by a range of stakeholders and business and statutory and voluntary sector partners.

The AL&S budget is approximately £3.4 million broadly divided into £1.7m (50%) community learning trust (CLT) fund and £0.5m (15%) accredited provision funded by the Skills Budget. £278k learning service (LS) and £380k adult careers service (ACS).Successful tendering has secured European, and NIACE funding of around £291k.In addition Cambridgeshire County Council supply the learning Service with £172k to support their work in Fenland.

AL&S’s overall effectiveness, rated as good in the full Ofsted inspection in March 2011, continues to improve with increased resources targeted at disadvantaged/vulnerable adults in line with government priorities. It has a very clear strategic direction and vision, with a 3-yr trend that indicates improvements in key areas that impact on learners.

Achievement is consistently good at 95%. Success rates for learners taking qualifications through the Skills Budget are good at 82% (CLT) and very good at 90.7% in the learning service (LS). Overall learner numbers have been retained over 3 years against a national backdrop of decline. 95% of learners are very satisfied with their experience. Teaching and learning have improved substantially with 78% of tutors graded as good or outstanding up over 3 years from 62% in 11/12.

In line with Adult Learning providers nationally, tracking progress and destination information continues to present challenges with the SFA (Skills Funding Agency) outcome incentive funding being used by the service to set up an appropriate tracking model. A NIACE (National Institute for Adult Continuing Education) sponsored project is successfully working with large
numbers of learners though partner organisations to measure health & well-being related wider outcomes from learning.

Another key focus has been to engage learners and non-learners through the learner involvement strategy and this has developed a wider range of engagement that is having an impact on programme planning. A variety of methods to enable learners to choose the right learning programme have been implemented with knowledgeable front line staff, good quality information and advice and a good county-wide web site, – being increasingly used by adults to find courses to suit them.(50,000 hits a month)

The well-established CLAS (Community Learning and Skills) district partnerships are increasingly effective in enabling local planning to meet local needs. This partnership structure has developed enough for members to be able to actively participate in the commissioning of learning and skills activity, planning the curriculum offer and undertaking needs analysis.

The highly successful Quality Mark has raised aspiration throughout the Service, with those centers having achieved the award demonstrating much higher standards of professional practice, improved learning programs, and stronger quality standards particularly in teaching and learning. The strong provider body within the Service is benefitting from more robust and more extensive data reports for programme planning although progression data is a priority for further development.

Staff development is good, with increasing numbers of tutors and managers taking (preparing to teach in the lifelong learning sector) PTLLS qualifications. Excellent tutor events attract large numbers and provide effective knowledge and skills that are targeted on improving teaching, learning and assessment. A good web site provides a full range of resources for tutors. Twenty experienced tutors have trained as peer observers, and with local and county managers provide an effective team of observers that have raised the numbers of tutors with outstanding and good observations.

The Service has taken a lead role in developing the Cambridgeshire Skills Strategy and the Skills element of the City Deal and has a clear role in bringing partners together to contribute to the growth of the skilled workforce in the County.

Safeguarding and health and safety arrangements are good and equality and diversity is close to outstanding with a range of provision that makes a very strong impact on a growing number of vulnerable adults with diverse needs.

The County Council’s strategic objectives are embedded in all AL&S policies and plans and the service plays a significant role in helping the council achieve its objectives.

To give your points of view on any of these issues, contact me by email at: As Your County Councillor I welcome hearing from you on these and/or any other issues that affect our community.

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