From Deputy Police & Crime Commission, Matthew Barber - In this month's edition:
Community conservation award launched for 2018
Community groups with projects aimed to improve their local area for both people and wildlife have the chance to win cash to help them succeed with their vision.
The Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust are calling on all local community projects which are beneficial to local people and wildlife to apply for the bi-annual Dorothy Morley Conservation Award 2018. Applicants will have the chance to win the award with £1000 to go towards the winning project. One runner up will also receive £500.
The award scheme which has been running since 2000 is a tribute to the memory of the dedicated conservationist Dorothy Morley. The continuation of the award scheme has been made possible through the outstanding generosity of the Morley family.
Daniel Akam, Berkshire Community Wildlife Officer explains: “This is a great award scheme aimed at highlighting all the great work done by volunteers for the benefit of their local community and wildlife a lot of which many off us don’t even know is going on”
“We want any group involved in such projects to apply, no matter how big or small or where they are located within Berkshire, the key element is that it must be in a publicly accessible place. Over the years we have had some great winners which have had a really positive effect on their local green spaces and for the communities which use them”
2016 winners were the St Paul’s Churchyard Tree Succession Project in Wokingham: Andy Clark from the project commented “We are all absolutely delighted with this award. It has been a great pleasure to be involved in a real team effort, with everyone contributing their different interest and expertise.
“In securing the future of the trees in the churchyard we have a growing appreciation that not only was the site home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, but also that this existing biodiversity could be greatly enhanced with careful planning and action.”
Full details about the Dorothy Morley Conservation Awards are on the Wildlife Trust’s website www.bbowt.org.uk/dorothymorley Application packs are also available from the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust, Woolley Firs, Cherry Garden Lane, Maidenhead, SL6 3LJ.
Interested groups have 4 months to apply with the closing date for applications on 29th June, with the winners being announced in late August.
For more information: Daniel Akam, Community Wildlife Officer, email@example.com 01628 829574 Ext. 202
Date: 08 March 2018
West Berkshire Council 2018/19 budget
West Berkshire Council passed its 2018/19 budget at its full council meeting on 1March.
This year’s budget sees investment in a number of areas including highways, education and infrastructure as well a Council Tax increase of 2.99% from West Berkshire Council, with a 3% Adult Social Care precept. The Council Tax increase will raise £2.7m and the precept will raise a further £2.7m, which will be ring-fenced to meet growing demand adult social care.
Graham Jones, Leader of West Berkshire Council, said: “To put this budget into context, over the past five years we have faced increasing demands on our core services, coupled with reduced funding. In 13/14 our grant from central government was almost £24m. That grant is now virtually zero. Taking inflation into account there has been a real terms reduction in our spending of £10.5m each year compared to 2013/14.
“Our budgets are particularly under strain as a result of the spiralling cost of adult social care, which represents almost 40% of the council’s budget. It is estimated that within 20 years there will be two adults of working age for every one retired. We must address this as caring for our most vulnerable is the most important thing we do as a council.”
Dear Parish Councils
Sat 3rd March: Scout Association Winter Challenge event on Ridgeway
We will email you the Ridgeway events calendar for 2018 soon but, in the meantime, please note that there is a Scout Association event involving around a thousand youngsters taking place this Saturday – they will be walking along The Ridgeway from Foxhill to West Ilsley. This event takes place every year so you may be aware of it already.
I am informing local people of events on the Ridgeway so that people can plan any visits to the Trail accordingly. Events should not prevent others from using the Trail but those seeking peace and solitude may want to avoid locations and dates of big events.
I welcome feedback about any event on The Ridgeway so that I can work with event organisers to ensure the Trail is a great place for everyone. (In case of emergencies or accidents or safety hazards relating to the event, please contact the event organiser directly and urgently.)
Sorry that I did not inform you of this event sooner but hopefully the event organiser spread the word earlier.
The Ridgeway National Trail Project Officer
Press Release Date: 12 February 2018
Budget Proposals 2018/19
West Berkshire Council's Executive are being asked to recommend to Council their budget proposal for council services for 2018/19. The budget is due to be considered at the meeting of Full Council on 1 March.
The Revenue Budget proposes a Council Tax increase of 2.99% from West Berkshire Council this year, with a 3% Adult Social Care precept. The Council Tax increase will raise £2.7m and the precept will raise a further £2.7m ring-fenced for adult social care.
Adult Social Care makes up over a third of the Council’s net revenue budget. The precept will go towards funding the mounting pressures faced in the areas of learning disability, demographic increases and increased costs.
In order to arrive at a balanced budget for 2018/19, £5.2m of savings and income generation proposals have been recommended.
The £125m revenue budget is funded 75% from council tax, 18% from retained business rates and 7% from government grants and other funding such as the Better Care Fund. The Revenue Support Grant has been reduced by £24 million since 2013/14 and we will receive only £120 thousand in 2018/19.
The £191m five year capital programme helps deliver the key priorities for improvement in the Council Strategy 2015-2019 by proposing investment over the next five years in the following key areas.
£69.8 million for new school places and improvements to school buildings; £55.5m for maintenance and improvement of the district’s roads; £3.7m for maintenance and improvement of parks, open spaces sporting and cultural facilities and £0.5m for grants to support community projects.
A further £15.7m has been allocated for occupational health equipment, home adaptations and supported living for vulnerable adults and looked after children and to improve the supply of temporary accommodation for people at risk of becoming homeless.
£4 million has been earmarked to complete the delivery of superfast broadband across West Berkshire and £30m for investment in commercial property in order to generate revenue income to help meet the running costs of Council services.
Councillor Anthony Chadley, West Berkshire’s Executive Member for Finance said: “West Berkshire is facing huge financial constraints, as are all councils. This means that unless changes are made to the way we deliver services and income generated from sources apart from the Government Grant, more services will be impacted.
"Your council is adapting during the current financial challenges to help ensure that West Berkshire continues to be a great place in which to live and work.”
View the proposals.
The Thames Valley Police January Newsletter can be found here:
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
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