We have made it easier to find information about public consultations by government and statutory bodies. All of our news items relating to consultations are now listed under Local Information / Consultation on the website menu. All new posts relating to consultations will start with the title of the consultation, the organisation launching the consultation and the opening and closing dates.
We will not respond to all consultations listed here, but when we do, our responses will be available from our Publications page
Data sharing regulations for a safeguard energy tariff
Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (DBEIS)
Opens 12 February 2018
Closes 26 February 2018
DBEIS looking for views on adding a safeguard energy tariff imposed by Ofgem (the regulator) for vulnerable consumers on standard variable and fixed-term default tariffs to the list of fuel poverty measures for which public authorities can share data with gas and electricity suppliers for the purpose of assisting households in fuel poverty.
Part 5 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 gives government powers to share personal information across organisational boundaries to improve public services. It says what data can be shared and for which purposes, and includes safeguards to ensure that the privacy of citizens’ data is protected. www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2017/30/contents/enacted
Part 5 allows data sharing between specified public authorities and energy suppliers for the purpose of alleviating fuel poverty. The data sharing must be for use under one of the fuel poverty measures listed in section 36(3) of the Act. The list currently includes measures such as the Warm Home Discount and the Energy Company Obligation scheme.
Other fuel poverty measures, such as Ofgem’s proposed safeguard tariff for vulnerable consumers at risk of fuel poverty, are not currently covered by list, so this consultation is about adding it to the list.
The park has a pivotal role to play in connecting residents with the town’s history, the local area and the built, cultural and natural heritage of the site. Not only that, but it also a great space to explore the environment and access the great outdoors.
Now Ashford Borough Council (ABC) are looking to make the park an even better place to visit, with thanks to support from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and Big Lottery Fund. ABC have secured initial funding to develop a £3.7m restoration and improvement project.
Plans for Victoria Park
The future aims include Green Flag status for the park, building upon the opportunities for community engagement and participation, promoting outdoor activities, and enabling volunteers to gain new skills.
How you can help
ABC looking to form an active Friends Group for joined-up community participation and to enable local residents to shape the future of the area.
Early Partial Review of the Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan 2013-30 and
Mineral Sites Plan – Options Consultation
Kent County Council
Opens: 19 Dec 2017
Closes: 27 Mar 2018
The Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan 2013-30 (KMWLP or the Plan) sets out the minerals supply and waste management capacity provision for Kent up until the year 2031. Following the adoption of the KMWLP in July 2016, further assessments have been undertaken which suggest that the level of waste management capacity required to maintain net self-sufficiency differs from that which was anticipated to be needed when the KMWLP was prepared. In order to ensure that Kent benefits from an up-to-date strategy for waste management capacity the County Council is seeking to undertake an early partial review of the KMWLP to amend several of the policies relating to waste management.
Furthermore, the County Council also seeks to improve the clarity of the policies relating to minerals and waste safeguarding; this should improve their effectiveness when used in practice. This is a part of the Early Partial Review of the Plan at this time.
Parallel to the early Partial Review Consultation referred to above the County Council is holding a public consultation on the Option Sites for the Minerals Sites Plan. This is a Regulation 18 consultation to gather the views of the general community, groups, organisations, mineral operators, other Kent authorities (at the Parish and Borough/District levels) and individuals on what the County Council considers to be potential mineral sites required to supply a steady and adequate quantity of mineral resources to meet the objectives of the Kent Minerals and Waste Local Plan (KMWLP) 2013-30.
Additional supporting evidence documents and Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Reports have been published to support the consultation. Since the start of the consultation the evidence base been updated as follows:
Information concerning the site areas of the following Minerals Site Options:
West Malling Sandpit, Ryarsh
Chapel Farm, Lenham
Lydd Quarry Extensions, Lydd
Assessment of the suitability of mineral site options with respect to the Green Belt.
A separate evidence addendum has been prepared that summarises the updates and this can be found on the above website.
To engage in the above consultations, please click here.
The period for the consultations is 19th December 2017 to 27th March 2018.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Minerals and Waste Planning Policy team.
Introducing ‘opt-out’ consent for organ and tissue donation in England
Department of Health and Social Care
Opens: 12 December 2017
Closes: 6 March 2018
The government wants views from as many people as possible on plans to make it easier for people to give consent to be an organ donor.
The Department of Health and Social Care have launched a consultation about organ and tissue donation. The government wants to know what people think about proposed changes in which people are considered willing to be an organ donor after their death, unless they have ‘opted out’.
They want to find out what people think of how the changes to the system should be made, and what else they think the government needs to consider.
The defining issues of the new system are:
how much say families have in their deceased relative’s decision to donate their organs
when exemptions to ‘opt-out’ would be needed, and what safeguards would be necessary
how a new system might affect certain groups depending on age, disability, race or faith
The Clinical commissioning groups in Kent and Medway (Ashford, Canterbury and Coastal, Dartford Gravesham and Swanley, Medway, South Kent Coast, Swale, Thanet, and West Kent), along with NHS Bexley Clinical Commissioning Group in London, and NHS High Weald Lewes Havens Clinical Commissioning Group in East Sussex.
Opens 02 February 2018
Closes 13 April 2018
Stroke services can be separated into three areas: prevention; urgent care during a stroke; and rehabilitation. This consultation document is focused on changes to the urgent stroke services provided in hospitals across Kent and Medway.
Improving stroke services is part of a wider programme across Kent and Medway involving all the local NHS organisations, Kent County Council and Medway Council.
We are looking at what needs to be done differently to bring about better health and wellbeing, better standards of care, and better use of staff, funds and other resources. The changes to hospital-based stroke services are being developed alongside and in alignment with other work on improving hospital services, developing more local care outside of hospitals, and improving mental health and social care. We believe it is imperative that we move forward with a decision on improvements to stroke services, but we will continue to align stroke improvements to our wider sustainability and transformation partnership programme.
You can find out more about our sustainability and transformation partnership and the other projects at kentandmedway.nhs.uk.
If you would like to find out more about stroke, the symptoms and what to do if you or someone you know has a stroke visit www.nhs.uk/actfast.
Our consultation on urgent stroke services stretches across 10 clinical commissioning group areas and we plan to hold a minimum of two open discussion meetings in each CCG area, one in the day and one in the evening. However, we are happy to look at scheduling more if there is sufficient demand. There has been a relatively short space of time since we were able to confirm definite dates for the start and duration of the consultation period, and in some areas we are still confirming dates and venues for meetings. This is a priority as we know people will want to have as much time as possible to get the dates in their diaries.
At the last Ashford Borough Council cabinet meeting, members agreed a draft budget for the 2018-19 financial year, which begins on 1st April 2018.
The draft budget is presented to Council members at a time when the Chancellor of the Exchequer has just delivered his 2018 Autumn Budget to parliament. It is also set against the backdrop of the negotiations to leave the European Union, which continue to cause uncertainty.
Please read ABC’s draft budget summary document to help you take part in our budget consultation for the 2018-2019 financial year. We would value your feedback on our proposals.
The budget contains a large amount of information, so we felt it might be beneficial to outline the key points below:
It is proposed that Ashford Borough Council increases its element of council tax by £3.50 per year for the average band D property, increasing the amount payable to Ashford Borough Council from £154 to £157.50 per year– please note this is based on the Ashford element of council tax only and will be adjusted to reflect your property band.
For context, even if all the other local authorities in Kent froze their council tax Ashford would still be setting the lowest council tax in Kent.
The council proposes to increase its element of council tax by £3.50 (which equates to 2.28%) as government allows councils to increase their council tax by 2% or £5, whichever is greater. So, although ours is proposed to increase by 2.28%, this is within agreed parameters.
The council’s Corporate Plan is focused on the delivery of business and housing growth as well as income generation from commercial activities – such as the £42m Elwick Place project, which is on budget and on schedule. The commercial approach needs time to mature and so for now we propose to increase council tax, however the future ambition of the council is to do so by a smaller amount every year. For example, last year the council raised council tax by £4. This year it proposes to do so by £3.50.
Ashford will still set the lowest council tax in Kent. (more…)
Healthwatch the independent national champion for people who use health and social care services, launched in 2012. Since then, in partnership with local Healthwatch, they have worked hard to understand what people want from care services and make sure that those who run services hear these views.
They are now developing their strategy for 2018 – 2023.
Between June and September 2017, they asked the public, professionals and local Healthwatch a number of questions to help shape their future focus. They invite you to take part in the next phase of their strategy.
They asked people where they should focus their efforts to have the biggest impact.
The ideas people shared largely focussed on the following areas:
Working to improve existing care, particularly the access people have to support, and the avoidable differences in people’s experience of health and social care across the population.
Mental health and care for older people were also common issues where people wanted to see improvements.
Making it easier for more people to have an equal say in decisions that affect them by tackling barriers, such as public awareness and professional attitudes.
Ensuring that communities are involved in shaping future health and social care services.
Supporting a stronger, more consistent Healthwatch network – from the service the public receives, to the way the network works together to achieve change.
Maintaining the independence of the network and working in partnership with others to improve health and social care services.
What this means for their work
People’s feedback has helped inform the development of three aims for their future.
Empowering you and your community to have your say
We want to make sure people can access the information they need to take control of their health and care, make informed decisions and shape the services that support them.
Providing a high quality Healthwatch service for you
We want to support a consistently high quality Healthwatch service for people who want to share their views or find information about health and social care. We also want to help local Healthwatch to champion people’s views effectively and make sure that local health and social care services truly reflect people’s needs.
Making sure your views help improve health and social care
We want people’s views to drive health and social care – ensuring you get access, on an equal basis with others, to support that works for you, as well as helping to shape future services for your community.
Mr Scott wants to know what matters most to you, so please take the time to fill out our short survey and encourage your friends, family and colleagues to fill one in as well. You do not need to provide your name or any contact details if you do not wish to.
A summary of responses will be published here when the Safer in Kent Plan is next updated.
Please remember that the Safer in Kent Plan only sets the strategic priorities for Kent Police – it cannot amend or change the way officers are deployed or the way operational decisions are made. These are matters for the Chief Constable to determine. The PCC’s job is to hold the Chief Constable to account for the delivery of the plan and its strategic objectives on your behalf.
How often do you use your local pharmacy? Does your town need more? These are some of the questions being put to Kent residents in a new consultation.
Pharmaceutical Needs Assessments (PNAs) are used by commissioners such as Kent County Council and local NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups to identify local health needs that could be addressed by these services, and by NHS England to decide whether to approve applications for new pharmacies in an area.
Residents and health professionals are being urged for their views in a brief questionnaire. KCC Deputy Director of Public Health, Allison Duggal said: “We have a statutory responsibility to look at the need for pharmaceutical services in Kent and the essential services they currently provide, including dispensing, providing support and advice on health and medicines, collection of medicine waste and supporting public health campaigns. We’d like to encourage as many people as possible to take part in this consultation so we can shape the future of pharmaceutical services in the county.”
The important role that pharmacists can play is highlighted in the NHS England ‘Stay Well This Winter’ campaign which KCC supports, urging people feeling under the weather this winter to avoid A&E, and to instead consider visiting their local pharmacy for quick, early advice. This is especially important over the winter months – when people are more likely to become ill or feel poorly.
Going to the pharmacy early will give you access to medication and advice on common ailments, but they can also:
provide expert advice to manage long term conditions and let you know if you need to see your GP or make a hospital appointment;
Give you advice on how to care for an elderly relative or friend who has a bad cough, trouble breathing, cold or sore throat.
The Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue Authority (KMFRA) has published its Safety and Wellbeing Plan for 2018 and is consulting the public on the plan and Council Tax for 2018/19.
The plan outlines the work of Kent Fire and Rescue Service and what it aims to achieve over the coming year. Prevention remains a top priority for the Service. This includes continuing to provide fire safety and other advice, such as how to stay warm in the winter, to the most vulnerable in the county such as frail elderly people and those with disabilities. We are also looking to provide extra support to those living in sheltered accommodation through advice to the elderly residents and those managing the buildings.
Alongside the plan KMFRA is consulting on the level of Council Tax for next year. As a result of a planned approach the Authority has managed to make the necessary savings, whilst still maintaining good emergency cover across the county, investment in frontline services and new technology to help crews fight fires more effectively.
The 2018/19 Council Tax options being consulted on are:
Option one – a 0% increase
Option two – an increase of just under 2% for a Band D household – that is an increase of less than 3p a week per household. This option would allow the Authority to continue with its plan to deliver an efficient and effective service to local people whilst being able to make planned efficiency savings in a way that would have least impact on service delivery
Option three – an increase of over 2%, if there is flexibility to do so within the referendum limit (the Government has not yet confirmed if it will limit the amount by which local authorities can increase Council Tax without a costly referendum – last year it was 2%). Each 1% increase amounts to around 1p a week for a band D household.