Community invited to SaTH engagement events

Two community engagement events are being held next month for residents served by Shropshire’s two acute hospitals.

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), which runs the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) and Princess Royal Hospital (PRH) in Telford, is hosting the Community Working Together sessions on 3 and 5 September.

Residents will be able to hear about what the Trust is doing following last year’s CQC inspection and the work that is taking place to move out of special measures. The Lead for Patient Experience at SaTH, Ruth Smith, will also be hosting a workshop focusing on patient strategy. The two events are being held on:

  • Tuesday 3 September 2019 – 10am until 12noon – Meeting Point House, Telford
  • Thursday 5 September 2019 – 10am until 12noon – Hamar Centre, RSH

The agenda includes:

  • Urgent Care Update (including A&E)
  • NHS Long Term Plan                        
  • Patient strategy
  • CQC and special measures update                                   
  • Questions from the community        

The meetings are open to everyone living in the areas served by both hospitals. Anyone who would like to sign up can do so via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/the-shrewsbury-and-telford-hospital-nhs-trust-24564280682

Two further events are planned for December whenMedical Director, Dr Arne Rose, will give an update on medical staffing and his first six months with the Trust. They will be held on:

  • Tuesday 3 December 2019 – 10am until 12noon – Meeting Point House, Telford
  • Thursday 5 December 2019 – 10am until 12noon – Hamar Centre, RSH

Kate Ballinger, Community Engagement Facilitator for SaTH, said: “We are committed to working with our communities to make sure we deliver the best healthcare for people living in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Mid Wales.

“These Community Working Together meetings in Telford and Shrewsbury are open to everyone who wants to come along and find out what is happening at their hospitals. They will also be able to talk to the team about anything that they think we need to know.”

A5 closures 25 September – 12 October

FROM HIGHWAYS ENGLAND

What we’re doing and why? What are the benefits?

We’ve identified a number of improvements that we need to complete along the A5 between Weirbrook and Five Crosses. We need to improve the emergency lay-bys, drainage and carry out some resurfacing. We will also renew the road markings in the area. This will improve the safety of the road by improving the emergency lay-bys, provide a smoother surface, improve drainage and clearer road markings.

When will this work take place?

We plan to complete the work from 19 September to 11 October. To minimise the disruption to road users work will be completed at night between the hours of 20:00 and 6:00. Our days of work will be between Monday to Friday. During total carriageway closures a traffic lane will remain accessible for emergency vehicles, access to frontages will be maintained with the use of escort vehicles.

Phase 1A:

19 September – 20 September (2 nights): We will be working using traffic lights just south of the Queens Head junction

Phase 1B:

23 September – 24 September (2 nights): We will need to close the A5 between Mile End and Holyhead Road at Weirbook.

Phase 2A:

25 September – 27 September (3 nights): We will need to close the A5 between Mile end and Queens Head

Phase 2B:

30 September – 11 October (10 nights): We will need to close the A5 between Mile End and Five Crosses

Whittington Road will remain open between Oswestry and Whittington. Signage will be provided in Oswestry to advise traffic not to use Whittington Road to gain access to the A5 or diversion route.

Between Whittington and Five Crosses a 24-hour 40mph speed limit will be in place for the duration of phase 2B.

During the closures we will provide a signed diversion route.

Diversion 23-24 September

(Phase 1B – 2 nights)

Diversion 25 September – 11 October

(Phase 2A & 2B – 13 nights)

Access for emergency vehicles will be maintained throughout the closures.

I would also like to apologise in advance for any inconvenience or disruption to those living close to the work. We’ll make every effort to carefully manage noise levels and additional lighting to minimise the impact.

Find out more

If you have any questions, or if you would like to know more about our work, please call us on 0300 123 5000 or email info@highwaysengland.co.uk. You can also visit our website at highwaysengland.co.uk/roads/ or write to us at Highways England, National Traffic Operations Centre, 3 Ridgeway, Quinton Business Park, Birmingham, B32 1AF.

Outcome of Judicial Review into the takeover of Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service

The decision from Mr Justice Garnham on whether the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, was right to grant governance of Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service to John Campion, the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia, will be/has been delivered in the Royal Courts of Justice today.
Shropshire and Wrekin Fire and Rescue Authority, along with fire authorities from Hereford & Worcester and Cambridgeshire raised the judicial review because they didn’t feel that the Home Secretary had paid adequate attention to public safety and didn’t consider efficiency, effectiveness and economy as separate, equally important, factors in arriving at her decision to dissolve the existing Fire and Rescue Authorities in favour of PCC control.

Mr Justice Garnham found that he believed the Home Secretary had taken adequate consideration of public safety but she had not followed the proper ‘tests’ in arriving at her decision. However it was the view of the Judge that had Ms Rudd followed the correct test she would most likely have arrived at the same decision – as such the claim of the Fire authorities has failed.

Cllr Eric Carter, Chair of Shropshire and Wrekin Fire and Rescue Authority said “I think I can safely speak for my whole Authority in saying how disappointed we are with this ruling; we still firmly believe the best way of governing a fire service is by locally elected representatives who really know their communities.” Cllr Carter continued “I believe there is more at stake here than just saving money and the recent report of the Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabularies and the Fire and Rescue Service backs this up by awarding Shropshire a “Good “ rating across the board. This says we are good at delivering efficiency, effectiveness and looking after people. I am not sure what a change in governance would do, but I am sure Mr Campion’s business plan would put all that in danger.”

Cllr Carter said “the judicial review has helped to clear up some technical and legal issues but the fact remains that Mr Campion’s business case is flawed. It said savings would be made through using a joint support service centre, which even the police have now pulled away from. It also said that we would only collaborate if he was in charge – which clearly
isn’t true because we already share a number of our stations with the police and we have a really strong alliance with Hereford and Worcester Fire Authority. It just doesn’t stack up.”

Shropshire and Wrekin Fire Authority are considering whether to appeal the finding of the judicial review and have already asked the current Home Secretary to look at the business case afresh. They believe it is in the public interest to keep governance as it is, with Shropshire money being spent by Shropshire people, in Shropshire, to keep our communities safe.

Cllr Chris Mellings, Vice Chair of the Authority said “As an Authority we still believe in the strength of leadership and governance we have given Shropshire Fire Service for 22 years but we need to know what the public think. In order to do this we have set up a survey on our website for our communities to give their views – it’s never too late. We have only ever
wished to act in the best interests of the people we serve and your views are important to us!”
The survey can be accessed by the following link and the Fire Authority hope enough people use it to enable them to get a clear view and maybe send a strong message to the Home Secretary to listen to local people before they decide to put the change in action.


https://www.surveygizmo.eu/s3/90159381/SWFRA

Whittington Level Crossing Upgrade Work

Information from Network Rail

Overview of the work

As the current level crossing surface is life expired, we plan to replace the crossing with a much harder wearing rubber material which will reduce noise when traffic passes over it and will be easier for cyclists to cross.

Dates and times of the work

From 22.30 on Friday 30th August until 07:30 on Monday 9th September, the road at Whittington Level Crossing will be fully closed to road vehicles whilst we undertake this essential work. However, we will only be working at the crossing when trains aren’t running.

·         Preparation work

This will take place overnight on Wednesday 28th, Thursday 29th and Friday 30th August. Materials and machinery will be transported from Gobowen Yard, adjacent to Gobowen Station, down to Whittington Level Crossing.

·         Core work

This will take place:

Ø  from 23.55 on Saturday 31st August until 05:15 on Monday 2nd September

Ø  each night from Monday 2nd September to Friday 6th September (inclusive)

Ø  from 23.55 on Saturday 7th September until 05.15 on Monday 9th September

To carry out this essential work safely and effectively, we need to keep the road closed for the full nine days. Pedestrian access will be maintained across the level crossing when we are not actively working on it. 

We have developed a diversionary route in conjunction with Shropshire Council which will divert traffic via the B5009 south to Wootton. The route will be fully signposted throughout the road closure. We understand that closing the road for this length of time is inconvenient and we would like to thank the local community in advance for bearing with us during this time. Our advice to road users is to plan ahead and allow additional time for travelling.

Changes to rail services

On Sunday 1st September and Sunday 8th September, we need unrestricted access to the level crossing. During this time trains will not be running between Shrewsbury and Wrexham and there will be a rail replacement bus service in operation between the two stations. We advise all passengers to check www.nationalrail.co.uk before travelling.

Further information

I would like to invite you to a drop-in event we are holding on Tuesday 30th July between 3pm and 7pm in The Senior Citizens Hall, Whittington, Oswestry, SY11 4BW. Members of the project team will be on hand to answer any questions – no appointment is necessary. I hope to see you there.

Review of Polling Districts, Polling Places and Polling Stations Consultation

SHROPSHIRE COUNCIL
NOTICE OF REVIEW OF POLLING DISTRICTS,
POLLING PLACES AND POLLING STATIONS

Shropshire Council is conducting a review of polling districts and polling places in accordance with the Representation of the People Act 1983 (as amended by the Electoral Administration Act 2006).
The Returning Officer for Shropshire Council will make comments on existing arrangements and suggested amendments.
In addition, representations are invited from other relevant sources such as the electors within the Ludlow, North Shropshire and Shrewsbury and Atcham Parliamentary constituencies, elected members, local political parties and organisations that have expertise in relation to access to premises for people with different forms of disability. Persons or bodies making representations about specific polling station venues should give alternative places that may be used as polling places.
This consultation period will commence on 1st July and needs to be completed in sufficient time to enable the Elections Office to make any alterations necessary to the register of electors when it is next fully revised on 1st December 2019. Therefore, all comments should be received by 12th August.
The postal address, email address and website address at which relevant information and documents can be inspected and representations made are as follows:
Postal address: Elections Office
Shropshire Council
The Shirehall
Abbey Foregate
Shrewsbury
SY2 6ND
Email address: registration@shropshire.gov.uk
Website address: http://www.shropshire.gov.uk
Please telephone 0345 678 9015 if you require further information about this review.
Claire Porter, Returning Officer, Shropshire Council

Accounts for year end 31.03.19 – Notice of Public Rights

WHITTINGTON PARISH COUNCIL

NOTICE OF PUBLIC RIGHTS AND PUBLICATION OF UNAUDITED ANNUAL GOVERNANCE & ACCOUNTABILITY RETURN

ACCOUNTS FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 MARCH 2019

Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 Sections 26 and 27

The Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/234)

NOTICE
1. Date of announcement         16th June 2019 (a)
2. Each year the smaller authority’s Annual Governance and Accountability Return (AGAR) needs to be reviewed by an external auditor appointed by Smaller Authorities’ Audit Appointments Ltd.  The unaudited AGAR has been published with this notice. As it has yet to be reviewed by the appointed auditor, it is subject to change as a result of that review. Any person interested has the right to inspect and make copies of the accounting records for the financial year to which the audit relates and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers, receipts and other documents relating to those records must be made available for inspection by any person interested. For the year ended 31 March 2019, these documents will be available on reasonable notice by application to:   (b)   Amy Jones, Parish Clerk and RFO to Whittington Parish Council   Hawthorn Cottage, Porthywaen, Oswestry, SY10 8LX T: 01691 829571 E: clerk@whittingtonpc.com   commencing on (c) Monday 17 June 2019     and ending on (d) Friday 26 July 2019  

3. Local government electors and their representatives also have:   The opportunity to question the appointed auditor about the accounting records; andThe right to make an objection which concerns a matter in respect of which the appointed auditor could either make a public interest report or apply to the court for a declaration that an item of account is unlawful. Written notice of an objection must first be given to the auditor and a copy sent to the smaller authority.   The appointed auditor can be contacted at the address in paragraph 4 below for this purpose between the above dates only.

4. The smaller authority’s AGAR is subject to review by the appointed auditor under the provisions of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014, the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 and the NAO’s Code of Audit Practice 2015.  The appointed auditor is:   PKF Littlejohn LLP (Ref: SBA Team) 1 Westferry Circus Canary Wharf London E14 4HD (sba@pkf-littlejohn.com)   5. This announcement is made by (e) Mrs Amy Jones, Parish Clerk & RFO  

LOCAL AUTHORITY ACCOUNTS: A SUMMARY OF YOUR RIGHTS

Please note that this summary applies to all relevant smaller authorities, including local councils, internal drainage boards and ‘other’ smaller authorities.

The basic position

The Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 (the Act) governs the work of auditors appointed to smaller authorities. This summary explains the provisions contained in Sections 26 and 27 of the Act. The Act and the Accounts and Audit Regulations 2015 also cover the duties, responsibilities and rights of smaller authorities, other organisations and the public concerning the accounts being audited.

As a local elector, or an interested person, you have certain legal rights in respect of the accounting records of smaller authorities. As an interested person you can inspect accounting records and related documents. If you are a local government elector for the area to which the accounts relate you can also ask questions about the accounts and object to them. You do not have to pay directly for exercising your rights. However, any resulting costs incurred by the smaller authority form part of its running costs. Therefore, indirectly, local residents pay for the cost of you exercising your rights through their council tax.

The right to inspect the accounting records

Any interested person can inspect the accounting records, which includes but is not limited to local electors. You can inspect the accounting records for the financial year to which the audit relates and all books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers, receipts and other documents relating to those records. You can copy all, or part, of these records or documents. Your inspection must be about the accounts, or relate to an item in the accounts. You cannot, for example, inspect or copy documents unrelated to the accounts, or that include personal information (Section 26 (6) – (10) of the Act explains what is meant by personal information). You cannot inspect information which is protected by commercial confidentiality. This is information which would prejudice commercial confidentiality if it was released to the public and there is not, set against this, a very strong reason in the public interest why it should nevertheless be disclosed.

When smaller authorities have finished preparing accounts for the financial year and approved them, they must publish them (including on a website). There must be a 30 working day period, called the ‘period for the exercise of public rights’, during which you can exercise your statutory right to inspect the accounting records. Smaller authorities must tell the public, including advertising this on their website, that the accounting records and related documents are available to inspect. By arrangement you will then have 30 working days to inspect and make copies of the accounting records. You may have to pay a copying charge. The 30 working day period must include a common period of inspection during which all smaller authorities’ accounting records are available to inspect. This will be 1-12 July 2019 for 2018/19 accounts. The advertisement must set out the dates of the period for the exercise of public rights, how you can communicate to the smaller authority that you wish to inspect the accounting records and related documents, the name and address of the auditor, and the relevant legislation that governs the inspection of accounts and objections.

The right to ask the auditor questions about the accounting records

You should first ask your smaller authority about the accounting records, since they hold all the details. If you are a local elector, your right to ask questions of the external auditor is enshrined in law. However, while the auditor will answer your questions where possible, they are not always obliged to do so. For example, the question might be better answered by another organisation, require investigation beyond the auditor’s remit, or involve disproportionate cost (which is borne by the local taxpayer). Give your smaller authority the opportunity first to explain anything in the accounting records that you are unsure about. If you are not satisfied with their explanation, you can question the external auditor about the accounting records.

The law limits the time available for you formally to ask questions. This must be done in the period for the exercise of public rights, so let the external auditor know your concern as soon as possible. The advertisement or notice that tells you the accounting records are available to inspect will also give the period for the exercise of public rights during which you may ask the auditor questions, which here means formally asking questions under the Act. You can ask someone to represent you when asking the external auditor questions.

Before you ask the external auditor any questions, inspect the accounting records fully, so you know what they contain. Please remember that you cannot formally ask questions, under the Act, after the end of the period for the exercise of public rights. You may ask your smaller authority other questions about their accounts for any year, at any time. But these are not questions under the Act.

You can ask the external auditor questions about an item in the accounting records for the financial year being audited. However, your right to ask the external auditor questions is limited. The external auditor can only answer ‘what’ questions, not ‘why’ questions. The external auditor cannot answer questions about policies, finances, procedures or anything else unless it is directly relevant to an item in the accounting records. Remember that your questions must always be about facts, not opinions. To avoid misunderstanding, we recommend that you always put your questions in writing.

The right to make objections at audit

You have inspected the accounting records and asked your questions of the smaller authority. Now you may wish to object to the accounts on the basis that an item in them is in your view unlawful or there are matters of wider concern arising from the smaller authority’s finances. A local government elector can ask the external auditor to apply to the High Court for a declaration that an item of account is unlawful, or to issue a report on matters which are in the public interest. You must tell the external auditor which specific item in the accounts you object to and why you think the item is unlawful, or why you think that a public interest report should be made about it. You must provide the external auditor with the evidence you have to support your objection. Disagreeing with income or spending does not make it unlawful. To object to the accounts you must write to the external auditor stating you want to make an objection, including the information and evidence below and you must send a copy to the smaller authority. The notice must include:

  • confirmation that you are an elector in the smaller authority’s area;
  • why you are objecting to the accounts and the facts on which you rely;
  • details of any item in the accounts that you think is unlawful; and
  • details of any matter about which you think the external auditor should make a public interest report.

Other than it must be in writing, there is no set format for objecting. You can only ask the external auditor to act within the powers available under the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014.

A final word

You may not use this ‘right to object’ to make a personal complaint or claim against your smaller authority.  You should take such complaints to your local Citizens’ Advice Bureau, local Law Centre or to your solicitor. Smaller authorities, and so local taxpayers, meet the costs of dealing with questions and objections.  In deciding whether to take your objection forward, one of a series of factors the auditor must take into account is the cost that will be involved, they will only continue with the objection if it is in the public interest to do so. They may also decide not to consider an objection if they think that it is frivolous or vexatious, or if it repeats an objection already considered. If you appeal to the courts against an auditor’s decision not to apply to the courts for a declaration that an item of account is unlawful, you will have to pay for the action yourself.

For more detailed guidance on public rights and the special powers of auditors, copies of the publication Local authority accounts: A guide to your rights are available from the NAO website.   If you wish to contact your authority’s appointed external auditor please write to the address in paragraph 4 of the Notice of Public Rights and Publication of Unaudited Annual Governance & Accountability Return.  

Roads Focus – road safety campaign

Shropshire Council and the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) John Campion are running a joint campaign from 8-12 July to improve road safety in Shropshire.

As part of the ‘Roads Focus’ campaign drop-in sessions will be held in Ludlow, Market Drayton, Oswestry and Bridgnorth to enable people to put comments, concerns and questions about road safety issues to Shropshire Council, the PCC, Safer Roads Partnership, the police, and local councillors. Shropshire Council’s road safety education team will also be on hand to talk about the road safety education and cycle training available to schools. People will also be able to find out more about work being done across the county to improve road safety.

The drop-in sessions will be held as follows:

  • Monday 8 July – Ludlow, Mascall Centre: 5pm to 7pm
  • Tuesday 9 July – Market Drayton, Festival Drayton Centre: 3pm to 5pm
  • Wednesday 10 July – Oswestry, The Qube:  2.30pm to 4.30pm
  • Thursday 11 July – Bridgnorth, Castle Hall: 5pm to 7pm

On Friday 12 July there’s an opportunity for people to attend a ‘driver awareness course’ in Shrewsbury free of charge. The driver awareness course – run in conjunction with TTC – will be held from 2pm to 4pm, at The Lantern in Shrewsbury.

All comments and suggestions raised as part of the campaign will be considered by the relevant organisation and, where appropriate, action will be taken.

For more information please email opcc@westmercia.pnn.police.uk.