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Your Residents Association Newsletter

Community Matters - July 2018

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

This right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights
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Brokenshire says no
DCC Breaks Even
More from our MP
Police Merger
The Boundary Commission
The Judicial Review

Communities secretary James Brokenshire has failed to make firm commitments to lobby the Chancellor for more money in the next Spending Review. Speaking at a Local Government Conference, Brokenshire dodged all questions from the audience regarding the sector’s incredibly tight purse.

On the same day an independent report showed that across the country councils face a funding gap of almost £8bn by 2025, with this money needed just to keep services afloat – not even accounting for growing demand or the need to expand and innovate.

Brokenshire admitted that money has been extremely tight and that councils have already made huge efforts to delivery efficiencies. He conceded that the current formula needs fixing and that an innovative approach is required.

What he didn’t say is that the Treasury continues to call the shots and they are determined to see local authorities reorganise themselves. However, they have given DCC £1.5 million to patch the roads. Between October 2017 and April 2018 more than 16,000 potholes were identified across Dorset and repair work has started.

DCC performance against budget for the year to 31 March 2018 was an overspend of £4.9m.  This was offset by savings made elsewhere giving a break even result for the year

The Council identifies savings through its Forward Together programme, which is managed by the Forward Together Board.  2016-17 was the first year in which savings targets were not achieved, with a shortfall of £2.7 million. 

The Council also fell £3.4 million short of its £18 million savings target in 2017-18 though it is important to note that other short-term measures to reduce costs were taken during the year. DCC is aiming to make savings of £18.8 million this year 2018-19

Adult and Community Services is the largest spender. In 2017/18 it accounted for £126.2 million, 49% of the County Council’s total budget. It is already over budget in 2018.

In line with national trends, the cost of providing care for children continues to be a challenge.  It too is already over budget in 2018.

There are more children, with increasingly complex needs being placed in higher-cost, residential placements or in independent fostering placements.  This has led to increased focus on modernising the County Council’s fostering service; to increase the number of foster carers available locally and to ensure they can meet the needs of the most vulnerable children. 

It’s not just in Dorset, by the way. Somerset is still teetering on the financial edge whilst closer to home, Emma Rawson, headteacher at Stourfield Junior School in Southbourne, has told parents her school can no longer afford to provide a hot school meals service because of budgetary pressures.

If you're a working parent and your child will be 3 or 4 years old by 31 August, you could be eligible to receive up to 30 hours free childcare from September. Check your eligibility and apply to DCC now to get your code, before the summer holidays!

With Tax-Free Childcare, for every £8 a parent pays into their childcare account the government pays in £2. It's worth up to £2,000 per child, per year and you can use it to pay for all registered childcare, including holiday clubs and childminders during the school holidays.
The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been rated as Good overall by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Outstanding in leadership, following its inspection in March.
The inspection covered urgent and emergency care, medical care, maternity and surgery – areas that had previously been rated as requiring improvement in the last inspection in 2015. The CQC also looked specifically at leadership and how the Trust used its resources.  

The CQC report commented on the significant improvements that had been made in all areas inspected and how they had observed a deeply positive and embedded culture of caring.  

Tony Spotswood, Chief Executive Officer at RBCH, said:

'We’re delighted with this set of results – they reflect how hard we’ve worked to make improvements to benefit our patients. Building on our last set of CQC results has been a true team effort, with everyone bringing ideas to the table and embracing new ways to improve patient care.

We’re so proud of our staff and their continued commitment to quality care for the people of Bournemouth, Christchurch, and the surrounding areas.'  

You can read the full report here

More News from Westminster

Andy Slaughter, MP for Hammersmith where Grenfell Tower can be found, introduced a private member’s bill to make it easier to obtain key information from organisations like Carillion, Serco, and G4S that managed that and similar towers.

All he wanted to do was make both public contractors and housing associations subject to the Freedom of Information Act. Sensible, you might think.

But fresh from stopping the up-skirting bill, guess who also stopped this one. Why our very own local MP Sir Christopher Chope. What a great day's work for our representative in Westminster!

The chief constables of Devon & Cornwall Police and Dorset Police have been progressing with the proposal to merge the two forces since the announcement was made last September.
Police and Crime Commissioners Alison Hernandez (Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly) and Martyn Underhill (Dorset) have launched a public survey to know what the public think of the plans for a merger of the two forces.
There is an established strategic alliance programme between the forces which has seen significant efficiencies and increased collaboration since March 2015. Around 25% of staff are already operating within the strategic alliance, including some areas of specialist policing such as roads policing, firearms and dogs. Many staff already working with the alliance feel strongly that a merger is the natural pathway of what is already a demanding collaborative landscape.
A single leadership will reduce the number of chief officers and police and crime commissioners: one Police and Crime Plan, one vision, one mission.
In a joint statement Chief Constables Shaun Sawyer (Devon and Cornwall) and James Vaughan (Dorset) said, “The merger is set in the context of an ever increasing local, national and international demand on policing which requires investment and new approaches. This, in addition to the increasing financial challenges which the PCCs are actively seeking to address, is amongst some of the arguments in favour of a merger.
We believe the proposed merger is also the right thing to do, not only for our communities but also in respect of the wider South West landscape and our workforce who are actively managing those increasing demands on a daily basis.
For more information about the proposed merger and to take the survey
click here: 

The Boundary Commission wants to hear from you:

In May 2018, the government decided to create a new local authority called Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council. The council will replace the existing authorities of Bournemouth Borough Council, Christchurch Borough Council and Poole Borough Council.

The Commission is now carrying out an electoral review of the new council to decide the number of councillors that should be elected to the authority as well as the names and boundaries of council wards.

We have an open mind about further suggestions from local people to change and improve these recommendations. We will consider all the submissions we receive whoever they are from and whether your evidence applies to the whole of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole or just a part of the area.

Click here to have your say

In May 2018 we reported that after meeting in secret session with the public and press excluded, CBC launched a plan to halt the reorganisation of local government within Dorset.

CBC is claiming that the Secretary of State does not have the legislative authority to implement Future Dorset, the plan to abolish all nine councils and to replace them by two unitary authorities. That Judicial Review is due to be heard on 30th July with the result declared a few days later.

We still believe that it was fundamentally wrong to potentially commit an estimated £800,000 of taxpayer’s funds to such a project in this clandestine way.

We approached the firm that audits the CBC financial books, Grant Thornton. They have now confirmed to us that this expenditure has never been discussed by the CBC Resources Committee and no written risk assessment has been completed.

We asked Grant Thornton on what basis CBC ignored standard procedure and launched an irrational project which, if CBC lose will see taxpayers out of pocket to the tune of several hundred thousand pounds and if CBC win, will result in local DCC services deteriorating and our council tax for years to come being considerably higher than it needs to be.

The reply that we received from Grant Thornton local representatives was so unsatisfactory when viewed from a tax payer’s perspective that we referred our questions to their higher management. They are now investigating.


Over the last few months of these newsletters we have aimed to share with you detailed information relating to critical issues involving these reorganisation plans that directly affect residents.

If we have given the impression that we are only interested in political machinations, we apologise. We would love to report on some lighter hearted community activity but as Harold MacMillan didn’t say when asked what is most likely to frustrate one’s plans – events happen!
Community Matters is produced and edited by a team of local residents who try to present you with the facts that will both keep you informed and enable you to make up your own mind on local issues
Jumpers and St Catherine's Hill RA

We are run by a committee of volunteers and a team of helpers who give their time free of charge in an effort to protect the environment that we all enjoy whilst living in this beautiful area
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