SCC News Update – December 2014
Suffolk leaders secure £3.35m government funding
The story: A major bid by Suffolk’s public-sector leaders (SPSL) for £3.35m government funding to invest in new ways of collaborative working that support communities, reduce costs and generate benefits for residents, has been successful.
The SPSL group, which brings together public sector leaders including SCC, district and borough councils, as well as members from NHS England and Suffolk Police among others, were notified on Thursday 27 November by the government that they had been successful in securing the extra funding. The Suffolk group were also given the green light to have restrictions on spending of £1.8m of their own capital receipts lifted. This will mean that funds raised by the sales of the councils' assets can be spent in different ways to help the transformation. The award will be invested in new ways of collaborative working that support communities, reduce costs and generate benefits for residents over the next ten years. The government were impressed with the bid which has the sole principle of putting Suffolk residents at the heart of everything. The size of the award reflects the scale of the ambition set out in the bid. The funding is expected to generate in excess of £19m of benefits over the next ten years. Residents can expect, among other things: quicker access to the help that people need (regardless of which agency delivers it); increasingly, one front-door to services and advice in local areas; more homes and jobs by accelerating the delivery of major sites already allocated for development.
Key message: When money is hard to come by, we need to be much more imaginative and innovative in how we provide the services that people in Suffolk value. People expect Suffolk’s public sector bodies to be working together to save money and provide better services. That’s exactly what we’re looking to do. This new funding is clear recognition that our approach is the right one.
Views wanted on council spending priorities
The story: With increasing pressure on funding, SCC is asking the people of Suffolk what their priorities are, ahead of decisions being taken on spending plans for the coming year.
People have until the 8th January in which to answer a range of questions that will help to shape decisions taken in February next year. In 2015/16 the council has to make savings totalling £42 million. It is therefore more important than ever that available funding is focused on the areas that are important to Suffolk people. A range of proposals were considered by the county council’s Scrutiny Committee last month, and finalised proposals will be discussed by Cabinet in January before the proposed budget is debated at a meeting of all the councillors in February. An on-line survey has been set up where residents are asked to rank their spending priorities. It is also possible to give views via e-mail and post. Jenny Antill, SCC’s cabinet member for resource management, said: “There are difficult decisions to be taken but we are working hard to make sure that we minimise the impact to services on which people rely - services may be delivered in different ways, or by different people, but the important thing is that residents can still access the support they need.” For more information, including access to the on-line survey visit the county council’s consultation web page www.suffolk.gov.uk/consultations.
Key message: In meeting the financial challenges we face, it is vital that we listen to the people of Suffolk, and ensure that the way we re-design services in the years ahead leads to a council that is lean, flexible and in tune with the needs and aspirations of people in Suffolk. We urge everyone to take time to participate in this important consultation, and help shape the future direction of Suffolk services.
UK’s first Youth Employment Centre opens in Suffolk
The story: The UK’s first-ever dedicated youth employment centre opened last month in Ipswich.
The MyGo centre will offer all 16-24 year olds in Ipswich and the surrounding area free training, career and employment support. The project is funded through the Greater Ipswich City Deal - the government’s flagship programme to devolve power to local authorities and businesses to put them in control of economic opportunities and challenges. It will be staffed by Jobcentre Plus, EOS and Tomorrows People employees working together in an integrated manner so that young people can access all the help they need in one place. Speaking about the new centre, SCC’s cabinet member for education and skills said: “This presents our local young people an important opportunity not yet available to anyone else in the country. It is vital that we capture the attention of all young adults locally, explore their interests and build on their talents, better to prepare them for the world of education, training or work. Through the Raising the Bar initiative we’ve identified the importance of young people learning about the wide range of local career options available to them. I very much look forward to seeing the benefits this innovative centre will bring to Ipswich and the surrounding area.”
Key message: We are committed to working with our partners to support young people as they seek a foot on the career ladder. That first step can be the hardest, and we will continue to do all we can to help people get into work.
‘Raising the Bar’ Community Fund launched
The story: Local community groups are being encouraged to apply for grant funding to support the wider aspirations of Raising the Bar.
The Raising the Bar Community Fund is designed to provide grants to projects led by organisations other than schools, such as charities and social enterprises, who have a role in supporting the development of Suffolk’s children and young people. Following the launch of the Raising the Bar Challenge Fund, which provides seed-funding to projects managed by groups of schools to raise educational attainment, SCC and the Suffolk Community Foundation are working together to deliver the Raising the Bar Community Fund. The fund aims to encourage organisations to collaborate with schools to focus on addressing the needs of local areas and support two of the objectives set by Raising the Bar; ‘Every child reaches their potential’ and ‘Every child is given the best preparation for life before and beyond school’. Project plans have to show how they will engage with local schools and parents and are aimed at children and young people between the ages of 0-16 years old. The maximum amount if successful for grant funding is £5000. For more information on the funding available please visit: www.suffolkcf.org.uk/grants/raising-the-bar-community-fund
Key message: Raising educational attainment and skill levels is our number-one priority. In achieving this, our Raising the Bar project is reaching out, not just to classrooms, but beyond, to generate a movement for educational excellence. This community fund taps into that desire we know is out there
Multi-million-pound investment in skills secured
The story: Businesses and local councils are joining forces with the government to invest more than £18 million in equipping people with the skills local businesses need.
The investment will be used to fund projects set out in the Greater Ipswich City Deal including a new youth employment centre in Ipswich and an incentive scheme to encourage businesses to invest in training. The announcement follows a successful bid led by Ipswich Building Society and supported by SCC as part of the government’s Employer Ownership Pilot to secure a £5 million grant that will be used in conjunction with other financial commitments agreed in the Greater Ipswich City Deal. The money includes at least £4.5million to be invested in skills and training by local businesses in Suffolk and Norfolk and will fund employer-designed projects that will aim to halve youth unemployment in the Greater Ipswich area over the next two years.
Key message: While money for local councils is tight, there are still funds available for those organisations which are ready to seize the moment and tackle the major challenges we face. Ensuring young people have the training opportunities they, and our economy need, is one of the most important issues we have. This new investment is another sign that Suffolk is open for business and a great place to study and train.
Calling all rural entrepreneurs
The story: Rural entrepreneurs are being encouraged to come forward with their proposals for nine locations within the county council’s farms estate that could offer prospective new tenants with a range of exciting opportunities.
The scheme being run by SCC, and supported by the Eastern Enterprise Hub and Easton & Otley College, is aimed at encouraging rural entrepreneurs to put forward business propositions based around agriculture or rural industries and to take up a tenancy of a site within the council’s farms estate. The locations were identified following a period of consultation with budding businessmen and women about possible rural business ideas. Sites are between 10 and 50 acres in size with suitable buildings available, and in some cases accommodation. Expressions of interest for the sites must be submitted on-line via the Eastern Enterprise Hub’s website no later than the 10th December 2014. Shortlisting will be carried out before the end of the year. Information about all the sites and how to express an interest are available online via: www.eehub.co.uk/programmes/grow-your-future-programme.aspx For those interested in finding out more about the scheme and what to include in an expression of interest, information sessions have been lined up on the following dates: Wednesday 19th November, 5:30pm-6:30pm (Eastern Enterprise Hub); and Tuesday 2nd December, 5:30pm-6:30pm (Easton & Otley College – Otley Campus). To book your place at one of the sessions, please contact email@example.com
Key message: Suffolk has a rich rural and agricultural economy. This scheme presents a great opportunity for anyone looking to develop a business idea and capitalise on Suffolk’s great natural resources.
County Council gets the biggest bite of Green Apple awards
The story: Suffolk and Norfolk councils dominated the local authority category of the national Green Apple awards at the House of Commons last month.
All were named as category winners in this national competition to find Britain’s greenest companies, councils and communities. In the face of tough opposition, and competing against over 500 other nominations, SCC won first prize in the ‘Energy Reduction’ section, Breckland Council triumphed in the ‘Community’ category and Norwich City Council was named Champion within the local authority category. Suffolk’s winning project SABRE, offered small and medium-sized businesses and social enterprises the opportunity to discover their potential to generate renewable energy. It provided them with independent advice on investment opportunities created by Feed-in Tariffs and the Renewable Heat Incentive. This partnership project between SCC, Groundwork Suffolk and the Suffolk Climate Change Partnership has supported 120 businesses and enterprises over the last three years. The winning Suffolk and Norfolk projects support the New Anglia LEP’s ‘Green Economy Pathfinder’, an initiative to promote green growth, helping businesses create new jobs and prosperity whilst minimising environmental impact. These latest successes reinforce the local area as national leaders in the field.
Key message: Helping businesses reduce energy consumption enables them to grow, create jobs and reduce costs at the same time. These awards are a great accolade for all involved in this excellent work.