January 2015

Since I last updated this page a great deal has been happening at the County Council. I have put a piece on the front of this website but here is a little more, a snapshot, about where I have been trying to make change or drawing attention to issues which affect you at a local, County or national level.

Community Transport. I called the County Council ‘to account’ via the elected member Audit and Scrutiny Committee following concern that community transport was not being given the priority that the elected members wanted as guided by you. The report is due out shortly but I can tell you it is now part of the holistic transport review, which I have made sure I am involved with and sit on the Board. So many residents have received a wonderful service from the County Car Volunteer Scheme, it is a service by local volunteer drivers which must be promoted where access to traditional public transport is not viable or provides the most needed person to place service which many require.

I have been elected as the Chairman of the Dorset Health and Wellbeing Board, a new board but incredibly influential already in its first year as the place which provides a really active working committee for senior practitioners, elected members and directors of all four areas of public service delivery, senior officers for community safety (fire, police) to look at and direct what is needed to at an early stage of what the residents of Dorset do and will need to help the adverse affects of matters such as childhood obesity, cardiovascular disease, lack of affordable housing, mental health, safety in the home, access to primary healthcare etc.

The Holistic Transport Review is very important and is looking at how to make the most of all the transport provided for many public services currently individually, but can be working together.

Highways, there are some great changes taking place which connects highways to the NFU, LEP and rural business groups. More later on this but I am hopeful some really good common sense approaches to keeping the roads clear, pothole free (?) gullies clear and water/debris at a minimum are now being implemented.

Children and Families, safety and early help. This is fundamental to shaping the future and I am forging links between many organisations, charities, individuals and schools to raise the issue since I feel many people would like to help. My blog highlighted a few of the issues we need to be alert and address such as child sexual exploitation, and child neglect. I would really like more people to come forward to help schools either by being Governors or volunteering with those children who need a little more help with reading, for instance.

Work Experience. Key for young people. How can the County Council help small businesses give young people work experience or an apprenticeship? I would really like to hear what you might need to help a young person. So many businesses do want to help but find the red tape too much. What can I do to help? Please let me know.

Community Safety is another area which I focus on. As Chairman of Dorset Fire Authority, the lead emergency service in prevention and working with young people, the DFRS is at the forefront of partnership working and is nationally recognised as such. Dorset is the second County to have a county wide civil contingency unit, and you will see a great deal more in the next months about local community resilience for times of flood and other emergency planning need.

I am really trying to link up different services which have perhaps worked in silos too much in the past, hence my involvement in many areas of DCC. It’s busy and I will keep at it.

There are local elections this year in West Dorset: parish, town and district. If you are interested in standing for a very rewarding and challenging role to support your community, I would be very happy to answer your questions about what it involves.

Thank you for your support and I do appreciate your advice and involvement. Keep in touch.

Rebecca

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