Residents breakdown the barriers to work
Tuesday, 06 February 2018 16:43

Organisers hope to repeat the success of the latest Arun Skills and Jobs Fairs which saw more than 200 people attend and get valuable career advice.

Record numbers of people attended the two most recent events in Bognor and Littlehampton, hosted by West Sussex County Council’s Children and Family Centres.

The fairs enabled people to meet training centres and employers face-to-face.

Held in conjunction with Bognor and Littlehampton Job Centre Plus, the events also offer support to residents to overcome the barriers to work such as interview skills, training and childcare options.

Sharon Howard, Chief Executive Officer for Safe in Sussex, said: “The jobs fair was a great opportunity for us to talk about our services and for potential volunteers to come forward. It was an added bonus finding a new member of staff too.”

The next Arun Skills and Jobs Fair is being held at The Littlehampton Children and Family Centre, at the Wickbourne Centre, in Clun Road, from 10.30am to 1pm on 22 February 2018.

Stephen Hillier, County Council Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “I am pleased to say that the feedback from previous events has been so positive that we are hoping to hold four skills and jobs fairs in 2018 starting with the one in Littlehampton.

“There will be experts on hand to help with a range of worries including confidence building and finance support. I would encourage anyone who is worried about work to not be afraid and come along. “

There will be four Arun Skills and Jobs Fair held in 2018 with plans for a special event specifically for young people in Bognor Regis on April 24. There will also be events in Littlehampton in September and in Bognor Regis in November.

To find out more, contact 01903 276840 or visit the Facebook pages @arunwestnorthcfc and @aruneastcfc.

A very significant day for all women
Tuesday, 06 February 2018 16:39

As both a woman and a politician I am acutely aware of the privileges I hold by virtue of when I was born and what I owe to those who have come before me.

This week holds a very significant day for all women - the 6th February.

A date which has real significance for all women because of what it led to.

100 years ago when the 1st World War was coming to a close, an Act of Parliament was passed known as the Representation of the People Act 1918 – 4th Reform on the 6th February.

It acknowledged that all men over 21 should have the vote; at the start of World War 1 only 60% of the men had the right to vote so millions of men returning from the 1st World War, many with life changing injuries mental and physical, would have had not had a vote.

Included in the Act was the right for Women over the age of 30, or if married or a member of the local Government Register or home-owner, could vote – not true parity but a start anyway. In November of that year was a qualification for Women to stand as MPs and councillors.

The significance of this was giving women a political voice as well as a vote. One without the other simply wouldn't work.

The legacy of World War 1 was not only that we remained as a free nation, but it changed the social order and this Act of Parliament was the first step in how our world has changed. In the 1st World War women became a more visible part of society. They were driving our buses, working our land, they were on the production line in our factories, another kind of front line.  Women played an important  part on the home front and it is right their work was acknowledged by having the vote.

The Act was passed by 385 to 55 not unanimous!

On the 1st December 1919 Nancy Astor became the first woman to take a seat as an MP, it must have been quite something to be the only women amongst more than 500 MPs at the time.

At West Sussex County Council two women were elected to the County Council in 1919; Ellen Chapman from Worthing and the Honorable Evelyn Gladys Cecil from Bognor Regis. I can only imagine the stir that must have caused in the Council Chamber!

Over the years more women County Councillors have come forward from all parties, but at present we are still no way near 50% representation or 35 Women – in May 2017, 22 women were elected.

In 2001, when I was elected on to the County Council we elected a woman Chairman for the first time, the Late Margaret Johnson, an exemplary County Councillor and role model. She encouraged and supported all the new councillors and was very kind making sure all women councillors settled into their roles.

Today we have made such great strides, it is rare I consider my gender as I make decisions, set strategy or plan a way ahead, it is rare but it is not non-existent. With the crucial roles women play in every day life it is of paramount importance that we continue to make sure our voice is heard, in parliament, industry, health across all the employment areas. That's why I have been so insistent that a celebration of the suffrage movement must not be a look back but a push forward to make sure we make the powers women in history fought so hard for, continue to mean something today.

Best wishes,


Leader calls for long term funding solution from government Recommendations on council tax have been put to the council’s Performance and Finance Select Committee
Tuesday, 16 January 2018 00:00

The future of vital services will be at risk if government does not take a long term view on local authority funding.

That’s the stark message from Leader of West Sussex County Council Louise Goldsmith who this week has taken the ‘incredibly hard’ decision to recommend a further rise in council tax of 1 per cent to help cope with rising demand for core services including child protection and adult social care.

Recommendations to take advantage of the extra 1 per cent as offered by government earlier this month were put to the council’s Performance and Finance Select Committee for scrutiny by councillors yesterday (Thursday January 16) .

This would bring the council tax raise for West Sussex residents to 4.95 per cent – that’s the equivalent of an additional 12.6p per week for the average Band D council tax payer.

The committee endorsed the Medium Term Financial Strategy and draft revenue budget for 2018/19. The proposals will now be discussed by the County Council’s Cabinet on January 30 and voted on at the Full Council meeting on February 16.

Louise Goldsmith said: “It could be easy to forget just how wide reaching the services we provide are. We are there for our residents from the day they are born until the day they die. We are the biggest provider of care, bar the hospitals, in the county. We keep our older people safe from harm and independent for longer, we keep children safe, in care and at home, we protect them and support them and we educate them. We are the Fire and Rescue service, keeping people safe in an emergency and preventing those emergencies in the first place. We are there to keep our county moving by keeping our roads running, our potholes filled.

“One way or another there is little part of life in West Sussex that we are not responsible for or involved in. None of this we do lightly. But we need to plan, we need to be able to continue to evolve and grow as the issues and demands change and we simply can’t do that with a short term view of our finances.

“It is wrong for us, and County Council’s across the country, to continue to have to be reliant on taxing our residents in the current piecemeal way every year to attempt to plug the gap left by central government.

“We have played our part well when Government asked us to and taken more than 30 per cent out of our budget at exactly the same time as demand and need rises. It’s time that the Government supports us with a properly funded long term settlement that enables us to plan and prepare for the challenges we know are ahead and in particular to help our growing elderly population. We are not alone in West Sussex this is a national problem that deserves a national answer. I, and many other council leaders have been asking for years for a long term solution to local government finances.

“It is against all my instincts for me to consider taking the incredibly hard decision to raise council tax when I know some residents are struggling with their own finances but it would also be against my instincts for me not to offer the high quality services that our residents deserve.”

Mrs Goldsmith added: “This decision would mean that vital services can continue to run and be developed without us having to make extremely difficult decisions about the future of some those services we know our residents rely on. It would also mean we can move forward more quickly on key priorities as set out in our West Sussex Plan to support those people who are struggling and the most vulnerable in our society. This includes proposals to tackle homelessness in the county, working with our local authority partners to increase the amount of temporary accommodation available, improving the safety of our roads, accelerating our programmes on solar energy, adding to the hardship fund we hold to help residents when they need it the most, developing a programme of volunteering in the county as well as developing our infrastructure locally and making sure we support our residents by developing their life chances.”


Care market on agenda at select committee
Monday, 15 January 2018 00:00

Are there enough care home places in West Sussex to meet demand? Are new homes being built in the right place? What courses are available at colleges to train people for a care career?

These are some of the questions to be looked into at a meeting of West Sussex Health and Adult Social Care Select Committee (HASC) this week.

Among those who will give evidence to the select committee are representatives from local colleges, district and borough planning teams, charity Skills for Care and West Sussex Partners in Care, which represents a number of care homes in the county.

The meeting takes place on at 10.30am on Wednesday 17 January at County Hall in Chichester.

The meeting will be webcast via the County Council website here.

The select committee will:

  • assess and comment on the County Council’s actions to develop and support the care market in terms of demand, capacity, capability and quality
  • identify any gaps or issues to be addressed and
  • identify any issues for further/future scrutiny.

Bryan Turner, Chairman of the Committee, said: “The County Council is facing unprecedented growth in demand for adult social care due to increasing numbers aged between 75 to 84 and at 85+ in West Sussex.

“Helping everyone in West Sussex to live long, active, independent and healthy lives whatever their circumstances is a key priority for the County Council and it is important for this committee to look in depth at capacity in the care home market and make sure any gaps are being addressed.”


OFSTED - West Sussex Schools are Improving
Monday, 11 December 2017 17:10

Recent judgements following OFSTED inspections of schools in West Sussex are showing that more pupils are attending a school rated Good or better, compared with the same time last year. At the end of Oct '17, 84% of pupils in West Sussex were attending a school rated Good or better, up from 81.5% in Oct '16.

There are now 41 schools in the County which are rated lower that Good, compared to 46 at this time last year.

The Council will continue to support those schools to achieve a higher standard of teaching, through the Education and Skills Service and by challenging them to improve.


We’re so glad you’re here
Thursday, 20 July 2017 18:24

It’s Friday afternoon, not my usual time to write a blog but I wanted to let you know about my huge sigh of relief today.

In a meeting that has just finished Katy Bourne, Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for Sussex, has told us she plans to leave the governance of West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service with the County Council.

Last year Government asked police and crime commissioners across the country to look at the governance of fire services to make sure they were efficient, effective and collaborative.

Since the announcement we have been sharing with the PCC our plans for our fire service and our reasons as to why it absolutely should stay where it is in its home at the County Council.

I am delighted to report that Katy has listened to us on this.

So why did it matter so much and why am I so very relieved and delighted that our Fire and Rescue Service is staying here?

Back in 2014 we made a conscious decision to fully embed the service within the County Council. So much of our preventative work is carried out by our fire service; they go in to see residents to carry out home safety checks but, while they are there, they can do so much more. Their work around flood prevention and resilience has helped so many communities which have had their lives blighted by flooding; something lauded nationally. Trading Standards is part of the service to help protect residents from some terrible scams. Their FireBreak sessions - activity courses with the fire service for young people who need support and help - are so appreciated by their families. These are just some examples of the list of things our Fire and Rescue Service does daily for our communities.

As a fully integrated service it is efficient and effective and our residents praise it. It offers good value for money. Yes, we have had to take savings out of our Fire and Rescue Service and have redesigned the way the service runs – but we are now in a period of stability and have some innovative plans for the future.

Last year we did a consultation where we asked our residents ‘what matters to you?’ The top priority was residents want to feel safe. If we did a survey tomorrow that message would probably be the same – these are uncertain times and at such times we need stability – not change for change’s sake.

And of course our Fire and Rescue Service is always there in an emergency.

Certainly, in August 2015 that promise was tested like it has never been tested before. The tragic Shoreham air crash was devastating for everyone involved. Being a close observer I was so humbled by the utter dedication and selflessness of fire fighters; being there for the communities they serve, no matter what.

Even as I write the memory of the tragedy, their response and the support long after the news cameras had left is so very emotional. I learned that in tragic times fire and rescue services across the country are a very large family, they come forward with offers of help and support.

I saw how all our brilliant emergency services worked together to make sure we are there for our residents when they need help.

I recall standing on the Old Shoreham Toll Bridge for a minute’s silence; a moment I will never forget. I witnessed the role our Fire and Rescue Service played in the aftermath – the recovery phase - and again I remain so proud that what they learned from that experience meant they could recently extend help to London in the wake of their own tragedy.

Fire and rescue services across the land are a united group serving residents when they most need it.

Our Fire and Rescue Service is there for you in an emergency, there to serve you so you don’t have an emergency and there to support the communities in West Sussex every hour of every day.

That’s why I love our Fire and Rescue Service and why I am so very glad we are keeping it close to home – home in West Sussex County Council.

Best wishes,


Unemployed young people secure jobs with leading infrastructure company
Thursday, 20 July 2017 18:20

A course offered to young people who are not in education, employment or training has helped four locals to secure jobs in the construction sector

Four local young people have secured jobs in the construction sector following a new work experience programme provided by Balfour Beatty Living Places, in partnership with West Sussex County Council.

The six week course offered young people aged 16 - 25 who are not in education, employment or training (NEET), real-life work experience designed to prepare them for employment or an apprenticeship in their chosen field.

The programme covered a variety of capabilities and skills including leadership, First Aid, construction site set up, risk assessments, and health & safety.

The young people also received regular mentoring from on-site Balfour Beatty Living Places construction workers and were given the opportunity to gain a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card which provides official proof that the individual has the required construction training and qualifications for the type of work they are undertaking. A CSCS card is required to work for most principal contractors and major house builders.

Of the young people who took part, two secured apprenticeships with Balfour Beatty Living Places, one obtained a full time position with a construction, property and engineering recruitment agency and another earned employment through a local provider, as a result of the Balfour Beatty Living Places training.

Stephen Hillier, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, commented: “We are always on the lookout for new opportunities for West Sussex young people and this was perfect. Those who took part were enthusiastic and proved that they deserved a chance.

“Their efforts speak for themselves as they overcame the stereotypes attached to poor educational attainment and four of them went on to secure paid employment. Our thanks go out to Balfour Beatty for providing this opportunity and we would encourage others to do the same to make our community stronger and fairer.”

Steve Phillips, Contract Director for Balfour Beatty Living Places, said: “We are pleased to be working with West Sussex County Council’s Children and Young People’s Service on an initiative which has successfully equipped local young people with the skills required to place them in long term employment.

“Together with our commitment to the on-going training of our workforce through Balfour Beatty’s membership of The 5% Club, an employer-led movement which champions investment in the next generation through workplace training, we will continue to enable our workforce to provide West Sussex’s local community with a pleasant environment to live and work.”

Stronger mental health support for young people
Thursday, 20 July 2017 18:14

More than 2,250 young people aged 11 to under 18 receive emotional support via the Youth Emotional Support Service.

Extra specialist support, early preventative help and innovative new projects are all being used in West Sussex to assist children and young people with emotional wellbeing and mental health issues.

An annual report into commissioning for children and young people's mental health and emotional wellbeing outlines a range of work being done to support all children and young people in the county.

The Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Commissioners look after the specialist child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) and also develop a wide range of other services on behalf of West Sussex County Council and three NHS clinical commissioning groups - Coastal West Sussex, Crawley and Horsham and Mid Sussex.

The report, ‘Making progress, making a difference’, highlights that more than 2,250 young people aged 11 to under 18 receive emotional support via the Youth Emotional Support Service (YES) which helps tackle emotional wellbeing issues, from low mood and anxiety feelings to anger, confidence and relationship difficulties.

The YES team currently sees around 200 new young people every month and on average less than 3% go on to require a referral to CAMHS.

A 17-year-old from West Sussex said: “YES has changed the way I think and feel about things and helped me control my anxieties.”

Dr Patience Okorie, NHS Crawley CCG Clinical Lead for children, families and young people, working in partnership with NHS Horsham and Mid Sussex CCG, said: “This service has really improved access to mental health and emotional wellbeing services for young people in our communities. Previously there was a gap for those who needed help now with feelings like stress, anxiety or depression but weren’t at the stage where they needed a referral to mental health services. YES is ideal for this.”

Another new service launched in July 2016 has seen more than 100 children and young people aged two to 18 years old, access therapeutic support for sexual abuse. Provided by Lifecentre, the service offers pre-trial therapy, face-to-face counselling for young people and their families and play therapy for younger children, supported by telephone and text helplines.

Stephen Hillier, County Council Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “We know that poor self-esteem and confidence in childhood years often leads to poor health and wellbeing issues throughout adult life which is why it is very reassuring to see such a range of support services on offer from early support to enhanced access to innovative therapies.

“I have a particular passion for the work done by Free Your Mind – an action group of 11-18 year olds who tackle the stigma around mental health. They have become a vital voice for all young people accessing services in West Sussex. I have also heard first-hand from users of YES and was so pleased when they explained how it had changed their lives.”

Another success is in schools as there is now an established a network of named emotional wellbeing leads in every secondary school in the county and there are plans to expand this into primary schools.

Dr Sue Torry, GP and Clinical Lead for mental health at NHS Coastal West Sussex CCG, said: "The YES service is a fantastic support for children and young people in West Sussex.

“Before YES was launched there was only limited help and support for young people with emotional needs who didn't meet the criteria for mental health services but now they can receive personalised support tailored to help them."

Young people who have questions about emotional wellbeing and mental health are encouraged to visit www.yourspacewestsussex.co.uk.

stephen hillier

Cabinet Member Stephen Hillier

Think Before You Throw – Waste costs. Recycling earns.
Thursday, 20 July 2017 18:07

We would like you to help us save £3 million. Can you do it?

On average a fifth of our household rubbish bins are filled with recycling.

And the cost is huge. Over one year, throwing away all that recycling is costing us £3 million a year that we don't need to be spending.

West Sussex County Council is launching its ‘Think Before You Throw’ campaign to help residents make some quick wins and ultimately save the County Council money to put back into core services.

So what items are getting missed?

  • Aerosols

  • Tin foil

  • Trigger sprays (e.g kitchen and bathroom cleaners)

  • Glass jars

  • Food containers (e.g plastic fruit/vegetable trays, yoghurt and ice-cream tubs)

  • Squeezy bottles (e.g. tomato ketchup)

  • Plastic pill packets (e.g. headache/hay fever tablets)

The County Council went through thousands and thousands of bags of rubbish to see exactly what ended up in people’s bins.

The fifth that gets thrown away, which is recyclable, adds up to 32,000 tonnes a year – a mountain of waste which could be avoided.

Waste costs. Recycling earns.

West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Deborah Urquhart, said: “This is so simple.

“We know in West Sussex there are huge numbers of residents who are doing a great job recycling.

“It’s just people don’t realise the extra items you can put in your recycling.

“So empty aerosols, tin foil, trigger sprays, glass jars, drink containers, squeezy ketchup bottles, empty packets of Nurofen, they can all go in.

“If they need washing, all you need to do is rinse them out.

“They don’t need to be spotless.

“Then put them in the recycling bin loose, not in plastic bags, and help save millions of pounds as well.”

For more information and to watch the film visit www.thinkbeforeyouthrow.co.uk or follow the waste prevention team for more tips and advice at www.facebook.com/westsussexwaste.

Vote Simon Oakley for Chichester East on May 4th
Tuesday, 11 April 2017 18:27

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