County Councillor Carl Les thanked the Chairman for the invitation to attend the committee. He said that he welcomed the feedback from committee members on what was happening in their local area and the issues that are important to them and the electorate that they represent.
County Councillor Carl Les noted the apologies for County Councillor Gareth Dadd and then updated as follows:
· Welcome the positive engagement with the PFCC
· Local Government Review is progressing with the Structural Change Order being finalised. Work is also underway on warding arrangements for the new Council, based upon 89 or 90 councillors
· The transition from the existing structures to the new would need to be as smooth as possible and there is a need to reassure both staff and members of the public
· Covid remains an issue and is likely to be the focus of work for the coming months. Infection rates are up but the level of hospital admissions has not risen at the same rate and people who are vaccinated tend to be less ill
· Renewed focus upon work to mitigate the effects of climate change and reduce Carbon Dioxide emissions in the county
· Rural Commission report was a fresh look at known issues associated with living in rural areas of the county. The Executive will consider the recommendations in due course
· Interest in the demand responsive travel pilot and what this may mean for the future of bus services in rural areas of the county
· As part of the work on the establishment of a new unitary authority, there will be an opportunity to review the role and responsibilities of the Area Constituency Committees and what they do as a locally responsive and accountable element of the new council.
County Councillor Michael Harrison updated as follows:
· There are strong budgetary pressures in social care, particularly adult social care and concerns that there may be a bubble of unmet need, linked to the pandemic and lockdowns, that is now starting to work its way through the health and social care system
· There is a risk that the Government requirement that all care staff are fully vaccinated may exacerbate existing adult social are staffing shortages in the county.
County Councillor David Chance updated as follows:
· The Community Support Organisations continue to work with people in the community. The focus is upon building confidence and self-reliance
· Work is underway as part of a national effort to resettle Afghan refugees, following the withdrawal of Coalition Forces.
County Councillor Patrick Mulligan updated as follows:
· Preparations are well underway for a return to school next week. Public Health have been actively involved in supporting schools
· The removal of bubbles in schools will help manage school attendance as the knock-on effect of a positive covid test will be lessened
· It is likely that there will be some disruption but it is hoped that things quickly settle back to normal and children and continue with their education.
County Councillor Gareth Dadd was able to attend the meeting and updated on the budgetary pressures faced by the Council, particularly around adult social care.
County Councillor Mike Chambers MBE summed up and thanked the Executive Members for attending and updating the committee on key issues and priorities.