EyeSpy Oh how the mighty are fallen!

David Conway was not the only one with a big smile on his face Friday morning as Labour awoke to the short sharp judgement of the residents of Springfields and Trent Vale. Whilst it might not stop the move, the backlash against the move to the CBD was apparent, which raised the spirits of many council officers on Friday morning. Parking in Stoke may not be perfect, but the thought of a daily game of ‘musical parking spaces’ followed by a forced tutorial on how you should cycle to work rather than moan about paying £25 a year to spend 20 minutes looking for a parking spot before abandoning hope and parking in Tesco, is a step too far for some.

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Well we are in to the final week of campaigning for the much sought after seat of Springfields and Trent Vale, all the main parties have been up here pounding the streets over the past few days. Everything but the kitchen sink & PCC Candidate Joy Garner has been thrown at S&TV by Labour, even Council Leader ‘part time’ Pervez has been leafletting. Continue reading

Stafford Hospital Report ““ Reflects County Council’s Concerns

The report into Stafford Hospital by Robert Francis QC has reflected concerns raised by Staffordshire County Council’s administration.

Matthew Ellis, the county council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said:

“Robert Francis has today delivered an in-depth and robust report into failings at the hospital. The report, for the first time, nails the reasons for these failings. We must however never lose sight of the fact that people lost loved ones which is a very personal tragedy.

“I met with Robert Francis before he started his inquiry and made clear my views on the failings that resulted in this terrible tragedy. This was a lethal combination of failings in both national and local regulation. In short a lot of organisations looked at Stafford Hospital but nobody saw what was happening. I am pleased that Mr Francis has reflected these views in his findings and recommendations.

“After taking office back in June, we took steps to strengthen the safeguarding of vulnerable adults in Staffordshire. This included taking back responsibility and relaunching the failing Local Involvement Network ““ Staffordshire LINKs. This gives local people a stronger voice in how health and social care services are delivered. I have also appointed a new independent chair of the safeguarding board who reports directly to me.

“Taking account of today’s report, I now urge the Staffordshire Health Scrutiny Committee to strengthen their role in ensuring a tragedy of this scale can never happen again.”

Staffordshire leads the way in call for review of personal care proposals

Staffordshire County Council’s Social Care leader Matthew Ellis has joined forces with other leading councillors to express concerns at “unclear, unfunded” Government proposals for free personal care at home.

County Councillor Ellis has been working behind the scenes with a small group to write and gain support for the letter to the government that appears in today’s Times and as their front page lead story. He is joined by his counterparts in Hertfordshire, Essex, Kent, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Leicestershire and Surrey. The letter is supported by over 60 other councils from across the political spectrum.

He said:


“We are all in favour of the principal of free personal care, but this has to be done properly and the money needs to be there to pay for it.


“The figures the Government have used to rush through this proposal are hopelessly inaccurate and could lead to a £330 million black hole in local government finances. If these plans were forced on authorities they would have two stark choices – massive cuts elsewhere or a big hike in Council Tax. We want neither. What we want is properly thought-out and considered policy.


“For so many councils of all political shades to come together like this is proof that this is about care and not about politics.”


Report praises safeguarding vulnerable adults approach in Staffordshire

The progress made by Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent in relation to the safeguarding of vulnerable adults has been praised in its annual report.

Improvements in training, an increase in the number of referrals received and a stronger multi-agency approach has led to tackling this issues in a more strategic way across the county.

The word safeguarding means abuse to many people. But it’s not only physical abuse that can happen. It’s also about neglect in an emotional or financial way. Traditionally, the safeguarding of children tends to be higher up the agenda than adults is. But it does still happen.

“We’re pleased that people are becoming more aware of their responsibility to recognise adult safeguarding issues,” said County Councillor, Matthew Ellis, Cabinet Member for Adults and Wellbeing. “Everyone needs to speak up if they feel someone is being neglected in some way. This increase in awareness is reflected in the higher number of referrals we’ve seen over the last 12 months. These have been investigated wherever appropriate ““ so people are definitely getting the message here in Staffordshire.”

Referrals have risen nearly 50% during the past year. Previously 600, these went up to 1,000, a reflection of the awareness message clearly beginning to get through.

The majority of vulnerable adult referrals relates to older people. Although the next highest category was people with learning disabilities. A high profile Dignity in Care campaign was also launched in Staffordshire last year. This helped raise awareness of this increasingly important issue and make it clear that abuse does not just happen to children alone. Inspectors also recognised that Staffordshire’s safeguarding process demonstrated good practice, after a survey of the County’s vulnerable adults was carried out based on their experiences.

An independent review of the Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Board has led to a restructure which will introduce a new Executive Board. “This will help to create a more engaged, effective and accountable partnership, in terms of safeguarding work,” said Matthew.

Care conference squares up to the challenges of swine flu

By Pits’m’Pots Reporter.

Over 250 representatives from the private care sector attended a Staffordshire Swine Flu Pandemic Conference yesterday.

The event at Uttoxeter racecourse was jointly organised by the county council and the Joint Commissioning Unit, a partnership between Staffordshire County Council, South Staffordshire Primary Care Trust and NHS North Staffordshire.

Delegates learned how private care homes should prepare for dealing with swine flu. It featured three workshops dealing with specific issues relating to the pandemic.

County Councillor Matthew Ellis, Cabinet Member for Adults and Wellbeing opened the conference.

Matthew Ellis

Matthew Ellis

He said, “Swine flu offers enormous challenges, both to the country and for Staffordshire. By working together the independent, voluntary and public sectors can help mitigate the effects. Today’s conference has helped people understand what help is available and how they can prepare their organisations.

“It is vital that we do everything we can to maintain essential social care and health services, and our community partners have a crucial role to play in responding to the needs of Staffordshire residents.

“Today’s event was filled to capacity which shows how seriously it is being taken by carers from all sectors. Maintaining services during the pandemic is currently Staffordshire County Council’s top priority.”

Other speakers were Allison Heseltine, Infection Control Lead at South Staffordshire Primary Care Trust (PCT), Andy Marshall, Director of Staffordshire Civil Contingencies Unit and Ian James, Director of the Joint Commissioning Unit.