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Posts tagged South Hams
South Hams District Council is looking at new ways to move forward with their recycling and waste service.
The South Hams has enjoyed a high recycling rate for some years and is currently second in the Devon ratings, however changes in legislation, rising market costs and decreases in the value of recycling material, make it more and more difficult to meet ever-changing needs without a change to our service.
Many other councils already enjoy a weekly collection of recycling materials from the kerbside. In order to improve our current service we need to increase the number of materials we collect from the kerbside weekly to include glass, textiles, plastic pots, tubs and trays and offer a weekly food waste collection service.
The Council is looking to align its service with our Devon neighbours to make sure we divert as much useful recycling material as possible from incineration. This means, a service will be designed which has the greatest environmental and cost benefits we can operationally achieve, and which is similar in design to that of other councils in the area.
By having a similar recycling and waste system across the county, it will make the service easier for residents if they move between authorities. It also helps us to benefit from economies of scale when selling recycling materials and helps the County Council to provide cost effective disposal routes.
The move to the Devon Aligned Service is likely to be in place by the end of September 2020 to allow time for changes to take place with the least disruption to residents.
A procurement project is also currently underway to look at testing our frontline services for recycling and waste, street and toilet cleaning in the market place. This means a company could be contracted to deliver these services on behalf of South Hams District Council if they can offer better value for money and a better quality of service can be achieved. The Council is doing this to improve both the cost and quality of services to householders.
Cllr Rufus Gilbert, Portfolio Holder for Commercial Services, said: “We are working really hard under very difficult economic circumstance to deliver a quality service which is cost effective and environmentally friendly. By looking at the potential benefits of outsourcing our services and aligning to the Devon waste and recycling service, we will be addressing both of these targets.
“It is a really exciting time and it’s important to us that we get it right for our residents.”
In May this year the Councillors from South Hams District Council approved a high level corporate strategy to guide how they deliver council services over the next five years. Against a backdrop of reduced funding from central government, they wanted to set a realistic overarching vision of what they would like to achieve in the District.
Now they want to share these high level themes with the public, and for the public to share their thoughts on what they think the council should prioritise under each of them.
Leader of South Hams District Council, Cllr John Tucker, explains: “Earlier in the year councillors got together to discuss and agree how we could have a positive impact on the lives of our residents by providing good value and easy to use services. So we set ourselves six key themes to help us categorise that work: Council, Homes, Communities, Enterprise, Environment and Wellbeing.
“Now we would like to hear from you, our residents and businesses, under each of our carefully considered themes, what do you think we should prioritise?”
Starting during Democracy Week for eight weeks South Hams District Council is asking residents and businesses to complete a short Survey. Once complete the Council will share its findings and use them to guide how they plan to deliver services over the next five years.
Cllr Tucker continued: “There is no better time than Democracy week to launch this survey. We are really keen to build strong bonds with our communities and our residents. Good, meaningful engagement is the future for us and we would encourage all of our residents to spare just five minutes of their time to tell us what they think.
As one of this year’s inaugural Democracy week slogan says “every voice matters” and we want to hear yours.
“Regardless of who we are or where we are from, we must work together to make sure that every member of society has an equal chance to take part in our democracy and to have their say.” The Cabinet Office #talkdemocracy
To find our more visit our new engagement portal: Join The Conversation
Access the survey: Corporate Strategy – Have Your Say
A five year transformation programme by South Hams District Council and West Devon Borough Council is now complete, saving just under £4.5 million combined for both councils each year.
In 2013, South Hams District and West Devon Borough Councils recognised that they would together be facing a potential funding gap of £4.7 million over the five year period up to 2018. The councils were adamant that they did not want to cut front line services, so both authorities agreed to start an ambitious and challenging Transformation Programme (T18) to remodel how the councils worked.
The councils boldly challenged the traditional local government model, by being at the forefront of radical change and innovation. In 2007, the two councils began to share a Chief Executive, which started their journey into shared services. The next shake-up followed in 2011, when the Management team was streamlined and shared between both South Hams and West Devon.
In the next pioneering move, the T18 Transformation Programme began. The original Business Plan was approved in 2013 which aimed to continue to deliver quality services for their customers and communities. The Transformation Programme has been total and radical and has left no service untouched.
Since the T18 Programme started five years ago, the total annual savings realised are £2.9 million for the South Hams and £1.5 million for West Devon, with the majority of these savings made through staffing savings. Between 2014 and 2015, the majority of employees at both councils went through a rigorous recruitment process and the workforce was reduced by 30%. The overall yearly savings were the equivalent of 25% of the councils’ budgets.
West Devon Borough Council’s Leader, Cllr Philip Sanders, said: “Peoples’ lives, along with technology, are constantly changing and we must change with them. We have had a radical transformation in the way that the councils have worked for more than 40 years. Our workforce was reduced significantly and all staff roles changed to become flexible and responsive to the needs of the customer.
“A new agile way of working was introduced, with the creation of a hot desk environment in both the main offices. This new way of working also included the flexibility for staff to work on an agile basis. This way of working is an important factor in retaining key people.
The success of this project is testament to the skill and determination of the staff, and they have the thanks of all of the elected Council Members.”
Leader of South Hams District Council, Cllr John Tucker, said: “All of the changes which enable staff to work from any location, meant that during the recent Storm Emma, when other councils were unable to work and had to close, our workforce continued to operate from the safety of their own homes.
So, if you wanted to liaise with officers about Planning, Environmental Health, Benefits or Council Tax, among many of our other services, then you could continue to do so. With the exception of our manual workers who, along with local residents, were advised to stay off the roads, residents would not have noticed any reduction in our services.
“It really was a fantastic response by our team, with over 210 staff dialling in remotely to carry on with their daily work. I know that I speak for all of the Members of the Council, when I say that the staff have worked exceptionally hard to overcome the challenges that the transition has brought and we are thrilled at its success.”
The reduction of office-based staff has also meant a reduced need for lots of office accommodation, with many areas of our Council offices now leased to partner agencies.
The Aune Conservation Association, an environmental charity charged with conserving the Devonshire Avon, and Bigbury News, your parish news magazine, have both been accepted as worthy organisations for participation in the new SHDC/WDBC, Sea Moor Lotto. Tickets for the lotto will be available from 27th June to help support local causes of your choice. See the link below for more information:-
Toilets around the South Hams will be kept open thanks to a decision made by the District Council’s Executive this week.
A pay on entry system will now be installed around the District at many toilets; this will go towards their running costs and protect them from closure.
During their recent budget setting process, South Hams District Council agreed to look in detail at what it does with the non-statutory services. Public toilets are one of the services that the Council provides, but are not required to provide. Despite this the Council dearly wants to provide public toilets for the benefit of their residents, tourists and local businesses. This proposal will enable them to do so.
South Hams District Council currently spends close to £1m per annum providing and maintaining public toilets. With a predicted budget gap of £0.3 million, a pay on entry scheme is a way of helping to close the gap but continuing to provide a valuable service.
Cllr Rufus Gilbert, Executive Portfolio Holder for Commercial Services, said: “There’s no doubt that continuing to provide public toilets is important for residents, visitors and businesses in the South Hams. As a result the council was determined to find a way to protect them, despite the enormous pressures on our budget. Many local authorities throughout the UK have had to close their public toilets and rely instead on businesses to provide them – Manchester City Council, one of the largest councils in England, only have one council run public toilet!”
“As the Executive member with the responsibility for public toilets, I take my role very seriously and I have said before that the last thing that I want to do is to be responsible for closing toilets. I visit many of the toilets around the District while I am out and about, when I see something that is not satisfactory I speak to the team to make sure any issues are resolved to the best of our physical and financial ability. Securing additional funding for our toilets will not only help us keep them open but also in good working order.”
The proposed fee is 20p. The busiest toilets have been chosen to have the pay on entry system installed as these have high running costs:
- Creek, Salcombe
- North Sands, Salcombe
- South Sands, Salcombe
- Coronation Road, Totnes
- Steamer Quay, Totnes
- Civic Hall, Totnes
- Fore Street, Kingsbridge
- Slapton Line
- Glanvilles Mill, Ivybridge
- Mill Bay
- Ferry Steps
Councillors also agreed to look again at the Hope Cove toilets which receives a similarly high number of visitors in peak season.
The pay on entry system is expected to generate £16,000 in 2018/19 and £36,000 by 2019/20, income which will be used to continue to run the toilets.
Mill Bay toilets are a recent addition to the list, while Slapton Memorial toilets have been removed. The recent storm damage at these toilets has left the septic tank very close to the beach and at risk of failing in another storm. This could cause a serious pollution incident. Relocating the tank is unlikely to solve the problem, as well as being very expensive and so these toilets, sadly, will have to close.
Cllr Gilbert continued “The decision to close the toilets at Slapton Memorial has not been taken lightly. Storm Emma had a huge impact on the area and the beach has receded a long way inland very quickly. The old septic tank is now dangerously close to the beach. Relocating it would only be a very expensive temporary measure and so reluctantly, we will have to close the toilets to prevent any risk of pollution on the shore.”
Devon Building Control Partnership has launched a new-look website, making it even easier for homeowners and professionals to book site visits, submit applications online, request a quote and much more.
The website has been created to be more accessible and easy to use through desktop computers, mobile phones or tablets. Building professionals and homeowners will be able to access information quicker and will be able to subscribe to newsletters, access a property register for Building regulations, look up fees and charges and find out about business events
Devon Building Control Partnership is made up of Teignbridge District Council, South Hams District Council and West Devon Borough Council. The experienced team of chartered surveyors, building engineers and fire engineers cover all three districts and offers a fast, reliable service for plan checking and inspections through a highly experienced team with vast local knowledge.
The Partnership works closely with the building industry to ensure that buildings are designed to comply through pre-application advice, plan checking and an inspection programme.
Cllr Michael Hicks, Vice Chairman of South Hams District Council and South Hams’ representative at Devon Building Control, said: “This new look website will be invaluable in informing and advising customers of the services provided by Devon Building Control, and is much easier and quicker to navigate. If you’re in the middle of a challenging and stressful building project, a clear and understandable website is essential. I’m certain that customers will be very pleased.”
Andrew Carpenter, Head of Devon Building Control Partnership, said: “I am delighted with the new look website. We know that people now want to use websites on phones and tablets so we’ve revamped the design to make it much easier for people to use on those devices as well as a laptop or mobile. The previous website had served us well but was starting to show its age. We’ve simplified things and made it faster to use and easier to navigate. Information is now much clearer and understandable.
“The redesign is aimed to make sure the site is much more accessible to customers and meets modern expectations as well as being a place where people can find out more about our services. This an online ‘shop window’ will help us improve how we promote and sell activities across the area we cover and operate more commercially and effectively in a very competitive industry.
“Our new website is part of our commitment to providing a great service to customers as well as showcasing the Partnership as a business populated by friendly, qualified surveyors and skilled officers who can offer impartial advice and assistance to homeowners, agents, architects, developers and other professionals on matters relating to building regulations.”
The bespoke website was built by IT professionals working in Strata Service Solutions Ltd, the joint ICT partnership shared across Teignbridge, Exeter and East Devon councils, with expertise and support from officers working for Teignbridge. The look and feel was designed by Made With Maturity, a web design and digital marketing company based in Plymouth.
Laurence Whitlock, IT Director at Strata Service Solutions Ltd, said: “This project gave Strata an excellent opportunity to work with Devon Building Control Partnership to use our experienced web developers to produce a professional and commercial quality web site.”
The website also contains details about the team and a section where people can leave feedback.
Tell your Council what you think
The quality of the air in South Hams and West Devon is generally very good. However, there are three locations in South Hams where the air quality fails to meet the national and international levels for Nitrogen Dioxide. These areas are categorised as Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs).
Both Councils have a legal responsibility to produce an air quality action plan and because of this both South Hams District Council and West Devon Borough Council are exploring ways that we can protect and improve air quality with a focus on the Air Quality Management Areas.
To enable them to do this they have produced a Clean Air Strategy, which brings together all of the councils proposed actions for managing air quality.
The strategy was scrutinised by ‘Executive’ at South Hams and the ‘Hub’ Committee in West Devon, with an agreement to carry out a public consultation before any decisions are taken about what course of action might be the best way forward.
Now the Councils are about to embark on an initial 8 week consultation on the Clean Air Strategy, looking at the proposals and considering what we can do about it together.
Leader of South Ham District Council, Cllr John Tucker said: “We have been working with Devon County and Highways England as well as our own officers to produce this document. If is a really important piece of work that recognise the role that Planning Authorities can have in off-setting the impact of developments.”
Leader of West Devon Borough Council Cllr Philip Sanders added: “This is an opportunity for you to not only tell us what you think of the strategy but also to tell us of any ideas you may have for potential solutions to poor air quality. So please do give us your thoughts and ideas and we will discuss them with our partner agencies after the consultation closes.”
The Councils’ recognise that national policy is promoting ultralow emission vehicles and in light of this the strategy also seeks to support the infrastructure that is required to make this possible, such as electric charging points for cars.
It also recognises the benefits that cycling and walking can have both on air quality and on the health of residents and as a result the councils will also be exploring ways to improve cycling and pedestrian networks between villages, towns and communities.
The consultation starts on the 20 April and runs to the 20 June. All of the comments and ideas will be explored and discussed before a final Air Quality Strategy is presented to both Councils later in the year.
The air quality team are happy to discuss the options available, and hope to attend Town and Parish Councils in the air quality management areas.
To provide feedback please email: air.quality@swdevon.
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