We Asked, You Said, We Did

Below are some of the issues we have recently consulted on and their outcomes.

We Asked

We asked what you thought about our plan to change the way we provide residential and day services in the Crowborough area.

You Said

Most people are very positive about our plans. Some people are worried about things changing. People had lots of ideas for how we could help them to prepare (see results section above).

We Did

We will work closely with people and their relatives and carers to get used to the changes. We will use your ideas to help people prepare. We will also involve everyone in the improvement work at Hookstead.

We Asked

We asked what you thought about our plan to make changes to the day services in the Hastings and Rother area.

You Said

There were mixed views on our plans – a third agreed; a third were unsure; and a third disagreed. People said if they did go ahead that they would need lots of support to get used to the changes. They also wanted to be involved in the refurbishment process. There were lots of suggestions for how we help people to prepare for the changes (see results section above).

We Did

We will work closely with people and their carers to get used to the changes. We will use your ideas to help people prepare. We will also involve everyone in the improvement work at Beeching Park and the Working Wonders building.

We Asked

We wanted to hear from people with long term conditions about their experience of managing their condition and using services.

You Said

  1. Around three quarters of you have more than one long-term condition. You told us there is too much focus on your condition in isolation and that disjointed services make you feel like you aren’t being treated as a whole person.
  2. Nearly three quarters of you sometimes or often experience anxiety or depression.
  3. Many of you talked about positive thinking and the value of having hobbies and volunteering. You also told us how much you value support groups and having contact with your peers.
  4. Over half of you said you don’t use tools and technology to manage your condition.
  5. The majority of you said you know how to stay healthy and reduce your risks of developing further health complications. You also spoke about wanting to manage your condition better and have more confidence and control.

We Did

  1. While we know that condition-specific support has a role to play in helping people to manage their conditions, it is also important to offer whole person support for people who have multiple conditions. We are working on developing services that offer this sort of support, such as creating joint social care and health teams.
  2. We are looking into how we can better support the mental health needs of people with long term conditions. We have joined a national network looking into best practice in this area and we have held a focus group for people with long term conditions and mental health needs. We are now exploring how we can offer people with long term conditions access to Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services.
  3. We are working with partners in Hastings and Rother on a project to develop and support self-help groups in the area. A report setting out learning from this work will be shared in March 2017. We are also exploring how we can increase the number of peer supporters in the county.
  4. We are working on a project to increase the use of Technology Enabled Services in the county. We want to make them available to more people and target them at those who would benefit most, such as people with long term conditions. We have already launched Health Help Now – a website and downloadable App listing common symptoms and suggestions for treatment in East Sussex, based on location and the time of day.
  5. We are pleased that so many respondents said that you know how to stay healthy. We do know, however, that not everyone feels that way. We want to ensure that our services support those people who don’t have the skills, confidence and knowledge to manage their health. We are working on a project that will help people to self-care in a way that works for them and ensuring we tailor services so that those who find it difficult to self-care get the support they need. We hope to start the project in April 2017 and are currently watching with interest in other areas of England which are already doing this.

We Asked

For views on the proposed admission arrangements to Community and Controlled Schools for the 2017/18 school year. The main changes were

  • To restrict the application of the sibling link so that children living within the community area for a given school are a higher priority than siblings living outside the community area;
  • To change the measurement of the home to school distance tie-break from shortest walking route to straight line;
  • To allow applications received after the closing date due to verified house move or other material change of circumstances to be treated as on time if received before a second deadline.

You Said

79 people completed the survey.

44% of respondents were in favour of the change to the sibling criteria.

Concerns were largely around the difficulties of transporting two children to different schools at the same time of day, and the need for siblings to support one another in the same school, whereas those in favour of the proposal felt that it was fair to prioritise local residents ahead of out of area siblings.

71% of respondents were in favour of the change to the tie-break measurement

The majority felt the new distance measurement would make it easier to estimate the chance is getting into a preferred school.  

Regarding how applications after the closing date are treated, we simply asked for comments on this.  There was a consensus that the proposal was child-centred and sensible.

We Did

The changes were agreed and will come into force for September 2017 onwards.

An amendment was made to the sibling criteria rule which made an allowance for parents previously unable to secure a preferred school. The new policy will include the following;

‘where a child has been unable to secure a place at a school in his/her community area and has been directed to attend a school outside the area as an alternative, any applications for younger siblings to attend the school will be treated as if the family were resident in the community area, as long as the sibling will still be attending the school when the younger child starts.’

We Asked

What you thought of our plan to ask people who can afford it to pay for the community support service.

You Said

You told us you need more time to prepare. You also wanted to know what would happen if a session was cancelled and whether people could pay less for group support in the community. 

We Did

We were planning to ask people to pay from April 2016. Now, if you have to pay, we will ask you to start paying in July 2016 instead of April 2016. We have sent everyone who uses the service a copy of the cancellation policy that will apply from July 2016. We agreed that people should pay less for group support in the community. We have set a lower cost for group support.

We Asked

We wanted your views on how we were proposing to make the savings in Adult Social Care. 

You Said

The vast majority of people who responded to the consultation were concerned about the long-term harm that would be caused to people and the services that support them.

 

We Did

Following the consultation, the proposed savings were amended to take account of the additional money that would be raised by the social care precept for Council Tax and what people told us through the consultation. For some services this meant not going ahead with the saving or revising the amount we were planning to save.

We Asked

For views on the proposed changes to discretionary travel support for pre-school and post-16 students with SEND; with an increase in the level of contribution towards total costs, and overall support for post-16s being reduced through provision to exceptional cases only, through use of a revised post-16 SEND travel policy.

You Said

35 people completed the SEND survey online following a direct mailing to over 500 families using SEND transport. 71% of respondents were parents or carers of a SEND child, and 80% were women. 

Concerns included how ESCC will determine whether a parent is available to help with transport, and which young people will be given travel support. Comments regarding the increase or introduction of a contribution were that some families of children with SEND may be unable to cope with the additional cost, and that these families have less expendable income as a result of the additional expenses for the child. There were fewer negative responses to the introduction of a contribution for pre-school children, although there were concerns about children not attending placements.

We Did

The changes were agreed, as local councils have no statutory obligation to provide this and ESCC has to make savings against reducing budgets. From September 2016, there will be a higher contribution of £608 for all post-16 students using SEND travel support, and a new contribution of £304 per year for families demonstrating low income. Pre-school children using ESCC-funded transport will also be expected to make the same contribution, although there may be a reduction if they are very part-time. The contribution can be made in 6 payments to help spread the costs.

All new SEND travel applications made for post-16 students for the 2016/17 academic year onwards will be assessed using the new post-16 SEND travel assistance policy, which is available on the ESCC website. They will be asked for more information about their family circumstances and will be expected to contribute to getting their child to post-16 education if they are able to, as the Council needs to target the reducing budget on those who need it most.

Families of children in Year 11 and above using SEND travel support will receive information in November so that they have time to consider the possible impact of these changes to ESCC support. Professionals who work with these families are aware anyone wishing for post-16 SEND travel support from September 2016 is required to make an application between March and the end of June 2016, and staff will offer support if appropriate. ESCC will also continue to commission an Independent Travel Training Team so that young people who are ready will have the opportunity to benefit from an intensive programme of support which acts as a vital step towards adulthood. Early Years practitioners will also be encouraged to ensure that families of pre-school children with SEND are aware of possible disability benefits, which may help meet the costs of the new contribution.

We Asked

For views on the proposed cuts to discretionary transport support provided by ESCC to 16-19 year old students from low income families, as well as to free ‘link transport’ to the nearest suitable bus stop or train station (which is not means-tested).

You Said

There were 26 responses to the survey. Of these, one respondent was in support of the changes.

The most predominant concern (81% of respondents) was that young people may not continue in post-16 education, especially regarding vocational courses. There was also concern about unemployment and reduced social mobility, as well as the fact that those living in rural areas were being penalised. There was less interest shown in the proposal to cease FE Link provision, with the majority of respondents assuming that recipients are also low income (whereas there is no means-test).

 

We Did

A difficult decision was taken to cease travel support for 16-19 year old students from low income families and free ‘link transport’ from the 2016/17 academic year; as local councils have no statutory obligation to provide this and ESCC has to make savings against reducing budgets. In order to help reduce negative impact, a quarter of the original budget for support of low income students is being given to the 5 colleges with the highest demand as a hardship fund, to supplement the existing financial support which is passed from central government to post-16 providers. Sixth forms and colleges are being asked to ensure that available support for low income students is promoted and accessible as appropriate, for example the EFA 16-19 bursaries (as well as the hardship fund if they have an allocation). Any students previously entitled to FE Link transport as they live more than 3 miles from the nearest bus stop or train station should be able to access this support if they are from a low income family.

We will also be making sure that relevant student finance and transport information, such as student discounts, is featured on the new 360 site. The Council continues to make a subsidy to Southern Rail so that they can offer a discount to post-16 learners.

Schools are being asked to alert their students and families (particularly those who are eligible for free school meals) to the changes in travel support in case this influences their placement choices.

We Asked

We asked for your views on our proposals to change the existing East Sussex Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA) to reflect the requirements of the national Care Act 2014.

You Said

You said there should be a choice about how to pay the charges, but you weren’t sure how often the annual administration charge should be invoiced. You said the DPA should be available to people moving into extra care and supported accommodation.

We Did

We have given people a choice about whether to pay the charges or add them to the debt. We will invoice the annual administration charge on a six monthly basis. The DPA will be available as a ‘bridging loan’ to clients who are selling their home and moving into rented extra care housing or supported accommodation.

We Asked

We asked you how you are involved with rights of way and our ten countryside sites in East Sussex, and what your plans are in the future.

You Said

We received 126 responses to the survey from a wide range of stakeholders. This included council’s, businesses and community and voluntary organisations and associations. The top three activities that these stakeholders took part in were enjoyment of the countryside, health and exercise and monitoring and management. A number of suggestions were provided for how we could do things differently in the future. This included making more or better use of volunteers and community groups, improving information and education and exploring funding and sponsorship ideas.

We Did

We will use what you told us together with a range of other information to understand the long term need for rights of way and countryside sites. We are using this as the basis of our plan for how we will manage them. The County Council’s Cabinet will be asked to approve this plan in winter 2015. We will then ask you what you think. A report summarising the key findings of the survey will be published on our website www.eastsussex.gov.uk/futurecountrysideaccess in May 2015.

We Asked

We asked you how and why you use rights of way (RoW) and our ten countryside sites in East Sussex

You Said

Nearly 900 people told us their views about rights of way and countryside sites. Most of those who responded had used RoW and our countryside sites in the last 2 years. Respondents use them as a way to relax and unwind, keep healthy, enjoy the scenery and wildlife or because they enjoy walking. Respondents comments about RoW covered issues such as maintenance and how RoW are accessed and the importance of RoW for health, leisure and future generations

We Did

We will use what you told us together with a range of other information to understand the long term need for rights of way and countryside sites. We are using this as the basis of our plan for how we will manage them. The County Council’s Cabinet will be asked to approve this plan in winter 2015. We will then ask you what you think. A report summarising the key findings of the survey will be published on our website www.eastsussex.gov.uk/futurecountrysideaccess in May 2015.

We Asked

We asked you to indicate whether you agreed with the proposal to create an all-through primary school from 1 September 2015 by bringing together Whitehill Infant School and Herne Junior School. The all-through primary school would admit up to 60 pupils a year and have a capacity of 420 places.

You Said

100 replies have been received. This equates to a response rate of 8.5%. Of the 100 responses received: 68 (68%) support the proposal, 6 (6%) neither agree nor disagree with the proposal, 26 (26%) do not support the proposal Respondents support the proposal because they believe it would: • bring greater continuity; • enhance the development of the curriculum across the age range 4-11; • remove the need for parents to have to apply for a place for their child at Year 3; • allow better sharing of resources. Respondents do not support the proposal because they believe : • both schools benefit from separate cultures and ethos, particularly as they are on separate sites. This increases choice in the town. • funding would be cut so both schools would suffer • the benefits of change can be achieved through federation not amalgamation • Whitehill would lose its friendly, nurturing ethos as part of a bigger school

We Did

In conclusion, the Council and the governing body believe that a change to the current organisation of Whitehill Infant School and Herne Junior School will build on the progress made since the federation in September 2009 and lead to a sustained improvement in educational standards at Key Stage 2. The feedback received from the consultation period revealed that the majority of respondents support the proposal and this has only strengthened that view. For this reason, the Lead Member is recommended to: Authorise the publication of statutory notices in respect of a proposal to amalgamate Whitehill Infant School and Herne Junior School in Crowborough with effect from 1 September 2015.

We Asked

For views on a number of changes that we were proposing to bus services we financially support.

You Said

A reduction in options to travel by bus did not offer the level of service you would like. It was felt that the proposed reduction could affect quality of life, ability to attend medical appointments and impact on the vulnerable, particularly the elderly in rural locations. There were some concerns around the impact on the economy if travel options were reduced and that the strategy assumed a 9.00 to 17.00 working pattern. It was also noted that a reduction in services could cause an increase in the usage of cars or remove choice of school.

We Did

On 16 December 2014 the County Council’s Cabinet agreed the proposed Public Transport Strategic Commissioning Strategy and agreed the implementation of the proposed reformulated supported bus network (RSBN) which included an increase in adult and child fares across the supported bus network. Seven off-peak services will be reduced to two days a week, and two to three days a week. Twenty three previously subsidised services will run as commercial routes, which includes most evening services in the county. Dial-a-Ride services will continue to receive funding to provide at least a three day-a-week service, and school services to Heathfield, Ringmer and Uplands Colleges will continue to operate. The changes, which come into effect from April 2015, will leave 91 per cent of passengers unaffected while 96 per cent will still have access to a six-day-a-week service. Please note: Cabinet agreed these proposals on 16 December and in accordance with our procedures this decision will come into force and may be implemented on the expiry of 4 working days after the publication of the decision, unless called in. However if call-in is accepted then it will be considered within 10 working days of the decision to call the matter in.

We Asked

We asked for people’s views about proposed changes to how meals in the community are provided in East Sussex.

You Said

117 people (68.4%) disagree with the proposals to end the subsidy, and of those 84 people (49.1%) strongly disagree. People are mainly concerned about the affordability of the meals and the associated risks with not having a regular hot meal and safety check.

We Did

We listened to the concerns raised during the consultation, particularly around the subsidy. As a result, the subsidy will be maintained while we change over to the new arrangements. We will then consider whether or not to continue with the subsidy as part of our financial planning for 2016/17. We will change from a single provider model and instead put together a list of providers to choose from. The consultation found that people were concerned about possibly losing the safe and well check, and about the nutritional quality of meals. As a result, all providers who want to join the Approved Provider Framework will be required to demonstrate how they meet the service needs, which will include the safe and well check. They will also have to pass an accreditation process managed through our Support with Confidence service. This will ensure we can monitor the quality of service provided to people.

We Asked

For your comments on 6 proposed cycle routes in Eastbourne

You Said

There was a high level of support for all 6 routes (over 73%) but some further work was required on some of them.

We Did

We have agreed the following: (1) To progress the following routes to detailed design and construction in 2014/15 - University to Town Centre/Seafront - Town Centre to Seafront - Horsey Way Section 1 (2) To progress the following routes to detailed design only in 2014/15 with construction after 2014/15 - Seafront route - Horsey Way Section 3 (3) For the Town Centre to Hospital route further feasibility work would be carried out in 2014/15..

We Asked

For your comments on proposals for pedestrian, cycling and bus improvements in Newhaven and Peacehaven.

You Said

There was a high level of support for all the proposals.

We Did

We have agreed to take forward all the proposals to detailed design.

We Asked

For your views on proposals along a central stretch of Marina between Sackville Road and Devonshire Road to improve the economic vitality of the town centre area by improving access for pedestrians and bus users as well as improvements to the traffic management arrangements.

You Said

The results show that Phase 1, the proposed improvements to Marina Court Avenue, received a mixed level of support. The majority of comments received were about the perceived reduction in pedestrian safety that respondents felt would occur if the centre island was removed and if the zebra crossing was relocated closer to the Devonshire Road junction. Comments were also received about the loss of green space adjacent to the De La Warr Pavilion that would result from closing the access to the car park to create a turning area and new parking. The results show that Phase 2, the Marina pedestrian and bus stop improvements, received support. The results show that Phase 3, the changes of layout to Sackville Road roundabout, received support.

We Did

At the April 2014 Lead Member for Transport and Environment meeting the Lead Member noted the results of the consultation and authorised the progression through detailed design and construction, to include modifications identified during the consultation exercise, as part of the 2014/15 Capital Programme for Local Transport Improvements the following measures: (a) the changes of layout to Sackville Road roundabout; (b) the widening of the footways and introduction of a 20 mph speed limit on Marina from Sackville Road roundabout to its junction with Devonshire Road; (c) the introduction of the bus stop build-out on Marina; and (d) the improvements to the existing zebra crossing on Marina in the vicinity of the Devonshire Road junction. In addition, the Lead Member authorised that the proposed changes to Marina Court Avenue should be reviewed in light of the feedback from the public consultation and a further set of revised proposals be developed for implementation as part of a future year’s capital programme.

We Asked

We consulted on the draft East Sussex Waste Strategy. This is a joint strategy from the county, district and borough councils in East Sussex, showing what we’ve achieved with residents’ help, as well as setting new waste reduction, reuse, recycling and recovery targets for 2020-2025. The document also included proposals to close three County Council recycling sites (Seaford, Forest Row and Wadhurst) as a result of our Household Waste Recycling Site Review.

You Said

We had a huge response to the consultation, thank you. Nearly 800 people replied by completing the survey on the Consultation Hub while over 13,500 responded by either email, letter or petition. In general the response to the strategy was good; some even felt we should set higher targets. However there was a great deal of concern regarding the proposed closure of the three recycling sites (Seaford, Forest Row and Wadhurst). Our Consultation Report summarises the comments we received.

We Did

Due to the significant response a decision was made to keep the three sites open for three days a week instead of closing them completely. We’re now working with our contractor to make the changes at the sites. Once a date is set for the change in opening hours, we’ll widely publicise the changes, as well as the alternative waste recycling and disposal options for residents. The revised Waste Strategy is being submitted to the each council’s cabinet for approval.

We Asked

For your views on proposed options for a 20 mph scheme on Steyne Road and Sutton Avenue and adjacent side roads.

You Said

The results show that 63% of respondents considered that speeding is a problem in Steyne Road and Sutton Avenue with 71% supporting the introduction of a 20 mph scheme in the area. Overall 49% of respondents preferred the introduction of the mandatory 20 mph zone compared to 29% who preferred the advisory part-time 20 mph speed limit. A further 18% of respondents did not support either of the two options.

We Did

At the February 2014 Lead Member for Transport and Environment meeting the Lead Member noted the results of the consultation and authorised the progression of the mandatory 20 mph zone, operating at all times of the day, through detailed design for construction in 2014/15 subject to the outcome of the Traffic Regulation Orders consultation.

We Asked

We asked you to indicate whether you agreed with the proposal to close Mountfield and Whatlington CE Primary School by 31 August 2014.

You Said

56 of the 65 (86.2%) people who responded do not support the proposal. The main objections relate to the loss of the school as a community facility and concern about where children from the planned new housing developments will go to school. Those who support the proposal felt that the school should close because they believe it is uneconomical and unable to fulfil its obligations to provide an appropriate education and that there are better schools locally.

We Did

Despite the concerns raised during the consultation, the Council believes that closure of Mountfield and Whatlington CE Primary School is appropriate on the basis of its long term sustainability in terms standards, pupil numbers and popularity. We reported the findings of the consultation to the Lead Member for Learning and School Effectiveness on 9 December 2013 who approved the publication of statutory notices. The notices will be published on 20 December 2013. A final decision on the proposal is expected in March 2013.

We Asked

If you supported the measures being proposed in Wivelsfield and Wivelsfield Green to help support the introduction of a 30mph speed limit.

You Said

The measures were generally well supported by the majority of the residents that returned their questionnaires.

We Did

We will now meet with the Parish Council to discuss the consultation results in more detail and finalise the measures that will be introduced in Wivelsfield and Wivelsfield Green to help support the lower 30mph speed limit.

We Asked

For your views on our draft Rail Strategy and Rail Strategy Action Plan, and your comments on what the rail infrastructure investment priorities should be for East Sussex.

You Said

The consultation, business survey and scheme appraisal identified that electrification and dual tracking of the Hastings-Ashford line scored most favourably, followed by electrification and dual tracking of the Uckfield line.

We Did

We reported the findings of the consultation to the Lead Member for Economy on 12 November 2013 who approved the Rail Strategy and Action Plan and the recommendations for rail infrastructure priorities in East Sussex: the electrification and dual tracking of the Hastings-Ashford line and the Uckfield line.

We Asked

The community and other interested parties about local bus services to help inform our decisions about the future provision of bus services in the county.

You Said

Buses are a key service as they provide the means to access vital community facilities. The continuation of the bus service and the concessionary bus scheme is more important than the concessionary bus scheme it starting half an hour later.

We Did

On 10th December 2013 the County Council’s Cabinet approved the development of a Public Transport Services Commissioning Strategy to ensure that the supported bus network meets the needs of the county in the future; a change to the start time of the concessionary bus scheme in East Sussex from 09.00am to 09.30am; withdrawal of funding for concessionary pass holders to travel free on Dial a Ride services in Lewes District; an increase in the charge for replacing lost concessionary passes from £5 to £10; to consult about changing the eligibility criteria for companion passes and exploring the possibility of turning some subsidised bus routes into commercial routes.

We Asked

We asked you to indicate whether you agreed with the proposal to expand St Andrew’s CE Infant School and Tollgate Community Junior School.

You Said

You said you were concerned about overcrowding, loss of play space, traffic congestion and parking but also agreed that more school places were needed in the area to meet demand and that St Andrew’s and Tollgate are popular schools.

We Did

We reported the findings of the consultation to the Lead Member for Learning and School Effectiveness on 10 September 2013 who approved the publication of statutory notices. The notices were published on 27 September 2013. A final decision on the proposal is expected in December 2013.

We Asked

We asked you to indicate whether you agreed with the proposal to expand Robsack Wood Community Primary School.

You Said

You said you were concerned about overcrowding on the site, traffic congestion and parking but also agreed that more places are needed and they should be at a school that provides excellent teaching.

We Did

We reported the findings of the consultation to the Lead Member for Learning and School Effectiveness on 10 September 2013 who approved the publication of statutory notices. The notices were published on 27 September 2013. A final decision on the proposal is expected in December 2013.