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Press Release from West Berkshire Council - dated 30th May 2019
West Berkshire residents invited to take part in National Highways & Transport Survey
Local people are being asked for their views on West Berkshire's highways and transport services – from the condition of roads and footpaths to the quality of cycling facilities.
West Berkshire is one of 111 councils to sign up to a special survey on highways and transport. The survey, run by National Highways and Transport, is the largest collaboration between Local Authorities offering the opportunity to compare results, share in best practice and identify future opportunities to work together.
Their answers will be compared with the views of other members of the public across England and Scotland, as part of the National Highways and Transport Public Satisfaction survey, a unique collaboration between Local Authorities across England and parts of Scotland with a common agenda – service improvement.
The questionnaire will be sent to a minimum random sample of at least 3300 West Berkshire residents from 7June, followed by a reminder, with local and national results to be published in late-October 2019. Since the survey is based on a sample, residents that receive a copy are being urged to take part.
The results will enable National Highways and Transport to find out what people in West Berkshire think about these important services and help the Council to assess how it is performing.
Richard Somner, West Berkshire’s Executive Member for Highways and Transport said: “We are pleased to be taking part in this survey as it is a clear way for us to hear and react to the views of our residents.
"It provides the opportunity for them to say which services they think we should prioritise and improve which will help us to better understand the needs of local people and work to deliver the most satisfactory and efficient outcomes for them.”
West Berkshire Council
Today West Berkshire Council begins a public consultation on budget proposals which affect some frontline services. They are keen that as many residents, groups and organisations as possible have the opportunity to review the proposals and respond if they want to.
The information can be found at: www.westberks.gov.uk/budgetproposals
Or if you would prefer you can request a hard copy by calling 01635 503043.
Consultation on proposed term dates for 2019/20
Term dates for community and voluntary controlled schools are set by West Berkshire Council following a consultation process. West Berkshire will ‘propose’ term dates and would recommend that schools consider aligning term dates with other schools in the area, for example, secondary schools with primary schools, in recognition of families with children at different schools.
In West Berkshire, the set dates traditionally include a common INSET at the start of the Autumn Term. Therefore, 191 days are set with recommendations for the remaining 4 INSET days.
The 2019/20 proposal for West Berkshire sets a common INSET day on Tuesday 3rd September 2019 with four further training days to be selected from outside specified pupil’s days.
The proposed dates for 2019/20 have been through our internal consultation process and are now available for public consultation. The consultation runs from 8 January until 16 February 2018. The deadline for feedback and comments is 16 February 2018.
There are 2 options proposed with the difference being a later holiday in October.
Take part in this consultation opens 9am on 8 January until 16 February 2018
Link to survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/terms1920
Please note that we cannot accept consultation responses from school by email, and your formal response to the consultation should be made via the online form (link above). We will however, clarify any points and maintain FAQS through the consultation period, based on feedback we receive.
Please share with your families/parents via your usual communication methods.
Survey on an increase in council tax to help protect operational policing is launched
The Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Thames Valley, Anthony Stansfeld, has today launched a survey seeking public views on an increase in the police element of the council tax by £1 a month (for a band D property).
On Tuesday 19th December the Home Secretary announced a substantial £450 million increase in police funding across England and Wales. However, this funding package assumes that all PCCs will raise the police element of council tax by £1 a month (or £12 a year) for a band D property which, collectively, will raise £270 million of the £450 million increase. This settlement will allow forces to continue to provide an effective service in their critical work to fight crime and protect the public.
At present around 60% of Thames Valley Police’s £393 million annual policing budget is funded by central government, with the policing element of council tax making up the remainder. Since 2010/11 the police grant has been cut by around 38% in real terms which has resulted in Thames Valley Police (TVP) having to make £99 million of savings in order to balance the budget. These cuts have already led to a manpower reduction of over 1,000 full time equivalent posts, including more than 450 police officers.
Anthony Stansfeld, Police and Crime Commissioner said: “Setting the budget for 2018/19 needs to be considered in the context of an already constrained financial position as well as the additional pressures policing faces as demand in some of the most complex and challenging areas continues to increase.
“This includes rising reports and cases of hidden crimes such as domestic abuse, child abuse, sexual offences, serious violence and exploitation have all increased the pressure on police resources.
“Needless to say this is proving to be extremely challenging and without the increase of £12 per year in council tax, as recommended by the Home Secretary, we would have to make further significant reductions in police officers and staff which will affect the level and quality of policing service we are able to offer you.
“In November 2017 TVP was judged by the Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) to be ‘outstanding’ in the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. This includes an ‘outstanding’ for its understanding of demand and its use of resources to manage demand, and its planning for future demand was judged to be ‘good’. Thames Valley Police was one of only two forces nationally to have been awarded an overall rating of outstanding.
“Ideally I would not choose to consult over the busy Christmas and New Year period and particularly on such an important issue, however, the Chief Constable and I only received the provisional police grant settlement for 2018/19 from the Home Office on Tuesday 19th December.
“Unfortunately due to budget decisions needing to be finalised by the end of January I am only able to run the consultation until 11th January.
“I apologise for the timing and length of the consultation period but I hope you will take the time to complete the survey which will help the Chief Constable and I to make an informed decision on the budget for 2018/19.”
The short online survey and further background information can be found on the Thames Valley PCC website:
Closing Date: Midday Thursday 11th January 2018
Those residents who do not have access to the internet can write to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Thames Valley Police Headquarters, Oxford Road, Kidlington, Oxon, OX5 2NX with their answers to the below questions.
Do you think an extra £12 per year in council tax, for a Band D property, to help protect operational policing in Thames Valley would be money well spent?
If not, please explain why and what annual increase you believe is justified and will enable Thames Valley Police to do their job effectively?
Please note that all postal responses needs to be received by midday on Thursday 11th January 2018
Impact on different Council Tax bands
The figures quoted are based on a Band D household. The impact on residents living in properties with a council tax banding of A to H are set out below.
Council Tax Band
A = £8.00
B = £9.33
C = £10.67
D = £12.00
E = £14.67
F = £17.33
G = £20.00
H = £24.00
Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner
Thames Valley Police Headquarters
Kidlington OX5 2NX
West Berkshire Council has begun a consultation on proposals affecting some frontline services as it prepares to set its budget for 2018/19.
Next year West Berkshire Council will have around £123m to spend on services in communities across the district. However, an increasing demand for these services and a reduction in central government funding means the council will have to find savings of around £10m in order to deliver a balanced budget.
The council began preparing the budget earlier this year and has worked hard to minimise the impact on frontline services. Most of the savings will be found through the council becoming even more efficient, generating additional income and through a possible increase in Council Tax. However, around £1m will impact on services delivered in communities across the district with proposals which include:
Speaking ahead of the consultation Councillor Graham Jones, Leader of West Berkshire Council, said: "Every year our communities are asking more from the services we provide but we are receiving less money to provide those services. We have looked first at how the council can work differently by becoming more efficient and by working more closely with other local authorities and with our communities. Our priority has been to protect those services which support the most vulnerable people in our communities but it's inevitable that there will be an impact on some other services. Although we have set out our proposals for next year it's important we give communities the chance to tell us how they will be impacted and what might be done to alleviate the impact of any decisions before we decide how to proceed."
How local authority funding is changing
Over the past eight years West Berkshire Council has had to find savings worth £55m while at the same time responding to an increase in demand for its services. This is because of a reduction in funding from central government which has seen the Revenue Support Grant (worth £33.7m to the council in 2011/12) fall to just £100,000 in 2018/19.
Read our infographic to see how West Berkshire Council is funded and how money is spent.
In finding the savings for 2018/19 the council has sought to protect frontline services as far as possible. This has primarily focused on becoming an even more efficient council, which over the last twelve months has included:
The Downland Practice, Chieveley is asking patients on their views on a future 7 day-a-week service from the practice. They have prepared a survey and would be grateful if as many patients as possible could complete it.
You can download the survey here:
Once complete please return to Reception or email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you
The independent Local Government Boundary Commission for England is carrying out an electoral review of West Berkshire Council. The review will draw new council ward boundaries across West Berkshire. The commission has announced that the will be 10 less councillors for West Berkshire Council, taking the total down to 42. They are asking local people to suggest the new ward boundaries, considering where you identify as your local community, and where you access local facilities. Full details of the review can be found here, along with interactive maps: www.consultation.lgbce.org.uk
The Chairman of Royal Berkshire Fire Authority, has notified the Parish Council that between Monday, 12 December and Monday, 13 March 2017, Royal Berkshire Fire Authority will be consulting with the public, its staff and other stakeholders on proposed changes to the way in which Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service delivers services to our residents. We are actively encouraging as many people as possible to have their say on a range of options outlined in the consultation document and supporting evidence, available on the Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service website. www.rbfrs.co.uk/consultation/
This is written by the Parish Clerk with input from the village.
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