Top level commitment, efficiency and partnership working have resulted in Dorset County Council coming runners-up in the ‘30 Hours Team’ award at the national Childcare Works Awards 2018.
The award recognises the work of local authorities in providing and promoting the national ‘30 free hours’ childcare scheme, which enables eligible parents of three and four-year olds to continue to work by saving on the cost of childcare.
Thirty-four local authorities were nominated for the award, and were judged on their whole team approach, commitment, effective and efficient local delivery, and partnership working.Liz Curtis-Jones (left) and Tina Ironside pick up the 30 Hours Award on behalf of the county council.
Several county council teams were involved in delivering the 30 free hours scheme. The award was accepted by Liz Curtis-Jones (Early Years and Childcare Service) and Tina Ironside (Family Information Service). Tina said:
“We were proud to pick up this award on behalf of all the superb teams at the county council who got behind this agenda. We are passionate about the 30 free hours scheme which gives a few thousand Dorset parents more cash in their pockets, so they can afford to work and provide for their family.”
Cllr Deborah Croney, Dorset County Council’s Cabinet member for education, learning and skills, said:
“I am delighted that the county council has been recognised for the hard work and dedication of our teams, and their collaborative cross-department working. We are proud of their commitment and achievements.
“The 30 free hours scheme has a positive impact on families, taking huge pressures off their finances. It will benefit children and families, both now and in the future.”
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Are you unsure exactly where the Weymouth Peninsula is? Or perhaps it has been a while since you last strolled around it? Here is a short video featuring a sped up walk around the area.Where is the Weymouth Peninsula?
The Peninsula occupies a prominent location at the end of the Esplanade and contains the Pavilion Theatre, harbour facilities, the former ferry terminal and a surface car park. It is close to the beach and forms part of the setting of the Nothe Fort, which is a Scheduled Monument.
Our aim is to bring new facilities to the Peninsula which will expand Weymouth’s leisure offer and add to its year-round attraction. We are therefore proposing a mixture of new, indoor-leisure buildings, hotels and restaurants which will complement other attractions in the town.Share your views
We intend to make an outline planning application and we want to hear your views before we complete our design. Remember that you still have time to share your views on the proposed development via the online survey. The survey will be live until Friday April 6.
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A statutory order has come into effect which will means the upcoming elections for Weymouth and Portland Borough Council have been cancelled.Weymouth & Portland Borough Council Elections cancelled
One third of seats were due for election in May 2018 but were postponed due to the recent Local Government Reorganisation decision. This will be overtaken by the structural change order when Weymouth & Portland Borough Council is dissolved on 1 April 2019.
Cllr Jeff Cant, Leader of Weymouth & Portland Borough Council, said:
“This Structural Change Order will establish the transition from existing councils to a new authority for the Dorset area and will set out the election cycle. Members of the Dorset Area Joint Committee have agreed in principle to adopt the same election cycle as the other large predominately rural unitary councils in England with the first elections for the new ‘Dorset Council’ scheduled for May 2019.”
The change will see councillors for the new council serve for two 5-year terms. It is proposed for all town and parish councils within the Dorset area to be in harmony with this. The new ‘Dorset Council’ will consist of 82 Members.By-Election to take place
A notice of election has now been published for Weymouth the Weymouth West by-election. The by-election is taking place following the resignation of Claudia Moore, who has taken up a new role as Chief Operations Officer for the Weymouth BID.
Landlords could be fined up to £5000 per property if their Energy Performance Certificate rating is F or below.
The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 establish a minimum level of energy efficiency for privately rented property in England and Wales.
This means that, from April 2018, landlords of privately rented domestic and non-domestic properties must ensure that their properties reach at least an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E before granting a new tenancy to new or existing tenants.
These requirements will then apply to all private rented properties in England and Wales – even where there has been no change in tenancy arrangements. This will be implemented from 1 April 2020 for domestic properties, and from 1 April 2023 for non-domestic properties.
Cllr Graham Carr-Jones, Leader of North Dorset District Council and Portfolio Holder for Housing, said:
“Now is the time for landlords to take action and ensure their property meets a higher standard.”
Cllr Tim Yarker, West Dorset District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing, said:
“New regulations have been brought in as part of the continuing drive to improve standards and reduce costs for tenants.”
Cllr Gill Taylor, Weymouth & Portland Borough Council’s Briefholder for Housing, said:
“Landlords should check the available guidance and contact our Housing Improvement Team for any assistance or advice.”
Landlords can contact Housing Improvement by email at email@example.com by phoning 01305 251010.
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Help is available to those who are worried about managing their Universal Credit journal online.
Universal Credit is a payment towards living costs for those on a low income or out of work. It is being phased in to replace a number of state benefits.
Claimants must manage their account online, including their journal. This keeps a history of everything throughout the life of a claim.
A number of Dorset organisations have now come together to offer free training and support to those without the digital skills to manage their online Universal Credit journal.
This could range from switching on a computer and setting up an email address, to helping people use the dedicated website.
The free and friendly digital help is currently available at:
• Weymouth Library, Great George Street – Wednesdays between 10am and 12.30pm
• The Outpost, 77 Fortuneswell, Portland – Wednesdays between 10am and 1pm
• Dorchester Library, Charles Street – Wednesdays between 10am and 12.30pm
Sessions will follow in other parts of the county. The latest research shows that around 150,000 Dorset adults need help with digital skills and 70,000 are offline.
For more information about the computer support sessions call 01305 221048.
Universal Credit will replace the following benefits:
• Child Tax Credit
• Housing Benefit
• Income Support
• Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
• Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
• Working Tax Credit
You don’t need to do anything until you hear from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) about moving to Universal Credit, unless you have a change in circumstances.
Members of Purbeck District Council have voted unanimously to object to proposed toll increases for the Studland Ferry and the Leader of the Council has written to the Secretary of State for Transport to make the Council’s objections clear.
The ferry company is consulting on proposals to increase the tolls up to the year 2022.
In his letter, Councillor Gary Suttle expressed the Council’s concerns that the proposed increases would have a detrimental impact on local residents who rely on the ferry to get to and from work; and therefore on the local economy.
Councillor Suttle said: “The rate of inflation as of December 2018 was 3%. All of the proposed increases, with the exception of books of tickets, in April 2018 are above 3% with some as high as 33%. With Purbeck having some of the lowest wages in the South West and with a significant number of jobs in the tourist industry that are traditionally low paid this adds an additional cost in getting to and from work, in some cases an extra £21 a week by 2022.”
Councillor Suttle also stressed the effect the proposed increases would have on residents of Studland and Swanage who need to get to Poole (and vice versa) and who would be less inclined to use the ferry if the increases were enforced. He said:
“The only alternative route is a 20 mile road trip on a road that passes through several villages that are already congested at peak times, but particularly in summer months. The additional road traffic will contribute to increased pollution, and would contradict the Government’s policy of improving air quality.”
It is up to the Secretary of State to decide whether or not to approve the ferry company’s application to raise the tolls. However, the Council believes the Secretary of State would be acting unreasonably if he were to approve them.
Councillor Suttle has also drawn the Secretary of State’s attention to the company accounts which show that a significant dividend has been paid to shareholders over the years, with no prudential allocation to ferry reserves despite the company knowing it will eventually reach the end of its useful life in 2026.
He also pointed out that the public notice of the application for an increase is misleading by not showing the tolls current at the time that public notice was given; rather it showed the tolls as at 1 April 2018. The percentage increases are as a consequence greater than suggested.
Councillor Suttle concluded: “While the Council understands that some increases are necessary to meet operational costs and a ferry reserve is required, it requests that the company re-submit their application to propose fare increases that are closer to inflation with some of the costs for the new ferry financed by a reduced dividend to the shareholders.”
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