Staffordshire County Council predicts a £3.7m underspend

Stoke-on-Trents neighbours at Staffordshire County Council have today announced and underspend for 2011 – 12 of £3.7m.

The council’s strong financial position was detailed in a performance report presented to their Cabinet. The report provides further evidence of its drive to deliver value for money services to local people.

Departments cross the authority have spent less than budgeted for at the start of the financial year. The final figure will be confirmed in June alongside discussions about how best to use the underspend to deliver on the council’s priorities. Continue reading

Something for nothing- private health and the N Staffs Health Economy

Something for nothing- private health and North Staffs Health economy

There is much talk in the media nowadays about ” something for nothing” society and “welfare dependency”. Usually these comments are directed at someone who has been on benefit for a long time and is deemed as putting nothing in to the community. And barely a day goes by that the newspaper exposes someone for fraud.

There is another form of dependency, which costs the taxpayer far more than those felons reported on in the pages of the Sentinel. Continue reading

Staffordshire youngsters called up to help celebrate a 50th anniversary

Young people aged 16 and 17 from across Staffordshire are being called upon to help continue a 50 year friendship in the spirit of peace and reconciliation.

For half a century, young people from Staffordshire and the city of Bremen in Germany have come together each summer to tend the German and Commonwealth War Graves on Cannock Chase.

This August will see two weeks worth of celebrations between the German War Graves Commission and Staffordshire County Council, and young people from across the county are being asked to join in. They will have the chance to improve their language skills, build new friendships, learn more about the history of World War II, and be involved in projects that concentrate on the theme of peace and reconciliation. Continue reading

Anger at idea to merge council

Members from Newcastle Borough Council have scoffed at the idea of merging with the city.

They roundly rejected the suggestion that Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Staffordshire County Council should form one super-power.

The hostility came as the public were invited to a discussion at Staffordshire University’s Film Theatre about whether Stoke-on-Trent should merge with the County Council based in Stafford.

Members of the audience from Newcastle expressed anger at the idea of merging any council in the area with Stoke-on-Trent City Council. Continue reading

Clampdown on motorists who use mobile phones while driving

picture of a police car with light bar on stopping a carThe Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership in conjunction with the Staffordshire Police Roads Policing Team and local policing teams is carrying out the campaign which aims to highlight the dangers of using a handheld mobile phone while behind the wheel.

Over the next 2 months the team will be out in force in the highly visible yellow vans, capturing on camera people who are flouting the law.

Motorists caught using a handheld mobile phone while driving are given a £60 fine and three points on their licence. Police records show that 8,039 fines costing motorists over £480,000 were issued in Staffordshire between January 2010 and December 2011. Continue reading

Stoke-On-Trent City Council and Staffordshire County Council sign to support business growth

Stoke-On-Trent City Council and Staffordshire County Council have committed to support businesses through the planning process in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire by signing a Planning Charter Mark to commit to support businesses through the planning process.
 
The charter was signed infront of more than 130 business representatives at the New Vic yesterday. The event organised by the North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry on behalf of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP was fully booked and saw all local authorities in the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire area sign up to the charter.
 
Councillor Mark Meredith, Stoke-On-Trent City Council cabinet member for economic development, said
 
The city council is committed to helping to support existing businesses and encourage new investment in the region. The charter is the council’s pledge to help businesses flourish by providing a red carpet service to guide firms through the process as quickly and effectively as possible.
 

The charter which aims to make development in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire flourish will focus on five main areas

 
  • clarity and consistency
  • effort and focus
  • competence and respect
  • accuracy and fairness
  • dialogue and understanding

to create clear advice for businesses looking to expand or develop.

County Councillor Ben Adams, Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Enterprise, said
 
This valuable and unique Planning Charter Mark is part of the red carpet that authorities are rolling out to businesses looking to grow and thrive across Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire. The pledge demonstrates that pace, professionalism and good customer service underpin our planning processes and help us to all play our part in delivering jobs, growth and sustainable developments. This business friendly approach is one of the reasons that big names are investing in the area
 
Stephen Dixon, LEP board member and managing director of Johnson Tiles, was also be joined by fellow board member Sue Prince and founder of Beechenhill Rural Enterprise to talk about the work so far of the LEP and the support the partnership can provide.
 
As part of the commitment all of the councils are signing up to have their planning policies reviewed annually to check whether they fulfil the criteria and can keep the charter mark.
 
Sara Williams, North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the move was welcomed by businesses saying,
 
Businesses will welcome anything that makes the planning process easier and quicker. Enabling business to concentrate on growing and creating jobs, not bureaucracy, is something we all want to see.
 
Maitland Hyslop, chair of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP, said
 
The Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP is committed to supporting businesses to grow and welcomes any move which helps to increase investment in the region. The key to this charter is the fact that all of the local authorities have joined together to pledge their commitment making Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire the place to invest.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Staffordshire County Council To Create Joint Investment Team

Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Staffordshire County Council are funding a joint inward investment service with the aim of attracting in excess of 10,000 jobs over the next three to five years.

The service, which is launching a new website outlining the city and county offer, is aimed at attracting investment and assisting existing major companies to expand in the region.

The Make it Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Investment Development Team will operate across the city and county and will incorporate the existing inward investment support in both areas.

The service aims to introduce innovative ways of marketing Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire to potential investors. The team will target companies in growth sectors in which Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent have a key selling point such as advanced manufacturing and medical technologies.

The move has been backed by the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and is supported through a program of European Funding.

Councillor Mark Meredith, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for economic development, said

The Mandate for Change is dedicated to supporting existing businesses and encouraging investment opportunities. By working together we will be able to maximise resources in order to promote Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire as open for business. The team will be focusing on key growth sectors to target investment and provide a red carpet service to potential investors.

The team, which will have an office in Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford, will see both councils working side by side to target and drive investment in the region. It will be responsible for

  • marketing Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire
  • supporting companies considering relocating or expanding to the area
  • de-risking the investment process for companies committed to investing in the area

Maitland Hyslop, chair of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP, said

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire is a prime location for investment and it is important that we work together to maximise this potential. I look forward to supporting the team in their delivery of a prestigious red carpet service for the region.

 

Staffordshire County Councillor Ben Adams, cabinet member for economic growth and enterprise, said

Creating jobs and prosperity for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent in this tough economic climate must be – and is – our top priority.

Staffordshire has a brilliant offer in terms of its support, environment and skills and our work across the regions is already paying off, which is why world-class companies such as Amazon and Jaguar land Rover have chosen Staffordshire for major operations.  

But in a highly competitive global market we have to make the most of our potential. Through this new service, and by working in partnership across the region, we are better placed than ever to bring thousands of jobs to the county and city.

 

The service will be a one stop shop for businesses looking to grow or relocate to the region and will provide a red carpet service to make every step of the process as easy as possible. The service aims to build on the success for 2011 whereby Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire created in excess of 2,000 new jobs through inward investment.   

More information on the team is available at www.makeitstokestaffs.co.uk or by calling the team’s one number on 0300 111 8005.

 

 

Business Support Number Goes Live

The single number helpline to give businesses in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire the support and advice they need to develop and prosper has launched today.

The new number 0300 111 8002 which was first announced at the beginning of the year, will act as one point of contact and make it easier for businesses, big or small, to get the advice they need with minimum fuss.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council Leader Mohamed Pervez said 

This one point of contact will make it easier for entrepreneurs, big or small, to get the information and advice they need with the minimum of fuss. With the business support line we will have one voice when helping businesses to cut through the bureaucracy and simplify things for them

The number is part of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s drive to lay out the red carpet for business, making it easier for existing and new business to grow in the area. Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Staffordshire County Council and the Chambers of Commerce have all backed the project.

 

LEP Business Development Chairman Stephen Dixon said the partners were working together to put business interests first. 

What business wants is a clear route to information and support. At the moment there are several sources of information and it can be confusing. We are determined to break down barriers to enterprise. The one number will be the single simple gateway to business expertise.

 

 North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Sara Williams said

In a survey conducted by the Chambers of Commerce (on behalf of the LEP), businesses were asked what would be of value to their business. The majority of respondents asked for a single point of contact for business advice.  It is really exciting that the LEP is able to respond so quickly to businesses needs.

Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth and enterprise leader Ben Adams said the business support line would be a building block of the red carpet treatment for business in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. 

Our focus on business, jobs and prosperity is really paying off. Big international names like Jaguar Land Rover, Amazon and Nestle are choosing Staffordshire. We are leading the way nationally for job creation. That’s because the joint team is dedicated to doing everything we can to help businesses thrive – whatever their size

The number which is on a six month trial will operate from 8am – 8pm Monday – Friday and 9am – 6pm on Saturdays.

Stoke-on-Trent Businesses To Get Single Number Advice Line

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire business leaders have signed up to support the development of a single number advice helpline to give businesses the support and advice they need to develop and prosper.

It’s all part of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s drive to lay out the red carpet for business – making it easy for entrepreneurs to invest and grow in the area.
 
Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Staffordshire County Council and the Chambers of Commerce have all backed the project, which will kick off a six month trial in February.
 
LEP Business Development Chairman Stephen Dixon said the partners were working together to put business interests first saying,
 
What business wants is a clear route to information and support. At the moment there are several sources of information and it can be confusing. We are determined to break down barriers to enterprise. The one number will be the single simple gateway to business expertise.
 
Ben Adams Staffordshire County Council’s economic growth and enterprise leader said
 
The business support line would be a building block of the red carpet treatment for business in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.
 
Our focus on business, jobs and prosperity is really paying off. Big international names like Jaguar Land Rover, Amazon and Nestle are choosing Staffordshire. We are leading the way nationally for job creation. That’s because the joint team is dedicated to doing everything we can to help businesses thrive – whatever their size.
 
Stoke-on-Trent City Council Leader Mohammed Pervez said the initiative was about a seemless service for potential investors in our region helping to support the wealth creators saying,
 
This one point of contact will make it easier for entrepreneurs, big or small, to get the information and advice they need with the minimum of fuss. With the business support line we will have one voice when helping businesses to cut through the bureaucracy.
 
North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Sara Williams said
 
The new service was a direct response to what businesses said they wanted.
 
In a survey conducted by the Chambers of Commerce (on behalf of the LEP), businesses were asked what would be of value to their business. The majority of respondents asked for a single point of contact for business advice.  It is really exciting that the LEP is able to respond so quickly to businesses needs.
 
The new single number advice line is due to be launched in February

 

 

Age UK Teams Up With Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire Adult Safeguarding Partnership

The Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Adult Safeguarding Partnership have teamed up with the country’s largest charity for older people to raise awareness of the abuse of older and more vulnerable people.

Last year 3,100 cases of financial, emotional, institutional, discriminatory and physical abuse and neglect were reported in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, but experts believe the issue is still underreported, especially with regards to abuse against older people.

Now the partnership has teamed up with Age UK North Staffordshire on The Signs Were There campaign to help people recognise the signs of financial and emotional abuse, and neglect, and help them report it.

We know that awareness of financial abuse is particularly low amongst the public which is worrying because it’s of growing concern nationally. It’s often the hardest to spot, which is why it’s all the more important we raise awareness of the issue, and give people the information on where to report it.
Around 80% of the calls that we receive about possible abuse come from professionals. But we know friends, families and neighbours spend more time with vulnerable adults than professionals do. Sometimes they notice something which is not quite right but they don’t recognise it as possible abuse.

We want to increase awareness about the signs of neglect, emotional abuse and financial abuse. Without calls from friends, family, neighbours, the problems might go unreported and people will suffer. We want everyone in contact with older adults and those with disabilities to recognise the signs of abuse and to know how to report these.

The city council is working with all interested parties to make sure that vulnerable adults are safe wherever they live and whoever is caring for them.

So if you see it, please make that call to the safeguarding professionals. Even if you suspect abuse, that enough evidence to make that call.

We welcome this campaign in the county to highlight the risks and tackle the problems of financial and other abuse facing older people. Making information and support more widely available is vital, and we are pleased to play our part in making this important campaign a success. We urge anyone concerned about actual or possible abuse of an older person to ring the safeguarding number without delay.
”Teaming up with Age UK has been tremendous, it’s allowed us to get right into the heart of communities and spread the message. Sometimes financial abuse might show itself by the vulnerable person suddenly not being able to pay bills, personal possessions going missing, or people being unusually interested in what someone owns.

Anyone who is concerned about a vulnerable adult being abused should:

contact the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Adult Safeguarding Partnership on:

0845 604 2886 in Staffordshire (local call cost)

People with a hearing impairment can use the Minicom on 01785 2876207 or text on 07814 191 111

0800 561 0015 in Stoke-on-Trent

Or 999 in an emergency

Or any Age UK outlet