KCC Budget Consultation

budget2017-demand-increasingKCC Draft Budget proposals 2017/18

Kent County Council

Opens: 13 Oct 2016
Closes: 27 November 2016

Kent County Council (KCC) is asking for your views on its budget proposals and how it can close the remaining gap before the 2017/18 budget is finalised in February 2017.

In the introduction to its budget consultation KCC says that it faces a huge financial challenge in the years ahead and is working hard to protect the services that make the greatest difference to people’s lives.

The story so far

Each year KCC set a budget to decide how much it will spend on services for Kent residents and businesses for the next financial year and much income it needs from Government and local taxation to fund this.

It prioritises spending on services that make sure children and young people get the best start in life, that communities feel the benefit of economic growth, and that support vulnerable residents to live independently. It’s strategic statement annual report gives details of how it is ensuring every pound spent in Kent is delivering better outcomes for Kent’s residents, communities and businesses.

In recent years the amount of money available from Government has been decreasing while demand and cost for council services has been increasing. KCC expects this trend to continue in coming years.

Since 2010 we have made savings of £514 million to offset these challenges and continue to protect and invest in those services that make the greatest difference to people’s lives. These savings have focussed on the transformation of services, which means delivering better outcomes at lower cost, and working in more efficient ways. This has allowed us to continue to protect frontline services. (more…)

Kent’s PCC launches policing survey

pcc_logoPolicing in Kent 2017-2021: Autumn 2016 survey

Kent Police and Crime Commissioner

Opens: 10 Oct 2016
Closes: 2 December 2016

Kent’s Police and Crime Commissioner is asking people which policing priorities matter most to them.

As he prepares to write his Police and Crime Plan for 2017-2021, Matthew Scott has published a short public survey as part of a wider consultation process. The survey was launched on World Mental Health Day (10 October) in honour of the fact that mental health is the ‘golden thread’ that runs through the current plan.

Mr Scott said: ‘Mental health is not only an issue I care deeply about, but also one that has become much more important within the police and criminal justice system. It is estimated that a third of police time is now spent dealing with people who have a mental health issue and it is in everyone’s interests to ensure there is an effective response.

The existing Police and Crime Plan ends on 31 March 2017, to be replaced with a new plan for 2017 – 2021. I have a duty to consult with victims and the wider community so I want to know what matters most to you.

‘Please take the time to fill out my short survey and encourage your friends, family and colleagues to fill one in as well.’ (more…)

Share your experience of Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership with CQC


CQC is inspecting Kent & Medway NHS & Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT) starting on the 16th January 2017. Whether they have received good care or poor care they are asking patients to tell them their experience of care from them. The information provided helps them decide when, where and what to expect.

KMPT provide mental health, learning disability and substance misuse services as well as other specialist services across Kent and Medway.

You can share your experience:

You don’t have to give your name.

Alternatively you can share your experience with Healthwatch Kent in confidence for free:

Have your say on Adult Social Care

adultscbannerKent County Council (KCC) is consulting on a new strategy for adult social care. The strategy explains KCC’s vision for how we want adult social care to be over the next five years. Demand for adult social care is increasing and finances are under pressure. Expectations of adult social care are changing; people want a life, not a service. Adult social care in Kent needs to continue to respond to these challenges, and the new strategy sets out how we will do this.

Our vision is to help people to improve or maintain their well-being and to live as independently as possible.

The strategy breaks down our approach to adult social care into three themes that cover the whole range of services provided for people with social care and support needs and their carers:

  1. Promoting well-being – supporting and encouraging people to look after their health and well-being to avoid or delay them needing adult social care
  2. Promoting independence – providing short-term support so that people are then able to carry on with their lives as independently as possible
  3. Supporting independence – for people who need ongoing social care support, helping them to live the life they want to live, in their own homes where possible, and do as much for themselves as they can

The strategy also explains the building blocks that underpin what we must have in place in order to achieve the vision – namely, effective protection (safeguarding), a flexible workforce, smarter commissioning and improved partnership working. It also includes a set of values and principles that will guide everything we do to provide care and support.

Have your say

We would like to hear your views on the draft strategy which is available to download from the ‘Consultation Documents’ section below. We will use your feedback to help produce the final version of the strategy by December 2016. (more…)

2018 Boundary Review initial proposals launched

bce_306_aw_1Boundary Commission for England

Opens: 13 September 2016
Closes: 5 December 2016

The independent Boundary Commission for England (BCE) has published its initial proposals for new Parliamentary constituencies. The publication marks the start of 12 weeks of consultation, during which the Commission needs to hear from you to help shape the proposed new constituency boundaries.

Following a decision by Parliament to reduce the number of constituencies in the UK to 600 from 650, and to ensure that the number of electors in each constituency is more equal, the BCE has been asked to make independent recommendations about where the boundaries of English constituencies should be. The BCE must report to Parliament in 2018 and, if agreed by Parliament, the new constituencies will be in use at the next scheduled General Election in 2020.

Publication of the initial proposals today is the first time people get to see what the map of new constituencies might look like. The rules that the Commission works to are such that wide scale change is inevitable. Under the proposals announced today, only 68 of the existing 533 English constituencies remain unchanged.

The proposals for Ashford would see large parts of the west of the existing Ashford Constituency,  moved to a new constituency named High Weald and a swathe of the existing Folkestone and Hythe Constituency moved to Ashford.

The towns and villages that would be moved out of the constituency include Charing Heath, Egerton, Little Chart, Smarden, Bethersden, Biddenden, High Halden, Tenterden, Rolvenden, Small Hythe and Newenden. The villages moved into Ashford would include Hastingleigh, Brabourne, Smeeth, Aldington, Bonnington, Bilsington and Ruckinge.

Sam Hartley, Secretary to the Commission, said: ‘Today’s proposals mark the first time people get to see what the new map of Parliamentary constituencies might look like. But they are just the Commission’s initial thoughts – during the next 12 weeks we want people to take a look and tell us what they like and don’t like about our proposals. Parliament has set us tight rules about reducing the number of constituencies, and making them of more equal size, and we now need the views of people around the country to help us shape constituencies that best reflect local areas. Use our website to tell us what you think, or come along to one of our public events to give us your views in person.’

It is easier than ever to get involved, by using the BCE’s website at or by coming along to a public hearing in your area. People can comment on anything from where the proposed new boundary lines are to the names of the constituencies. The consultation closes on 5 December 2016. There will be a further two rounds of consultation in 2017. Following the conclusion of all three consultation periods, the BCE will look at all the evidence received and make final recommendations to Parliament in September 2018.

The nearest public hearings will be held on 3-4th November at County Hall, Maidstone. Attendance must be booked in advance via the links from the BCE consultation page

Boundary Commission for England 12 September, 2016

Tell us why parks in South Ashford matter

Victoria ParkSouth Ashford Community Forum (SACF) are asking for your help in telling a parliamentary committee why parks in South Ashford matter.

South Ashford Community Forum (SACF) is considering submitting evidence to the Inquiry into the Future of Public Parks being undertaken by the Commons Select Committee for Communities and Local Government (CLGC).

CLGC Chair, Clive Betts MP, has said: “Whether it is kicking the ball about with friends, joining a parkrun, walking the dog or just relaxing with a paperback, people value their local parks, but with councils under enormous financial pressures and with no legal obligation to fund and maintain public parks, these precious community resources may be at risk. (more…)

Managing freight vehicles through Kent


Over recent decades, the number of lorries crossing the English Channel has increased seven fold. Nearly 90% of all UK roll-on, roll-off international freight goes through the Strait of Dover and that puts 11,000 lorries per day on Kent’s roads1. There are projections that by 2025 the number of these lorries could double.

Usually the road network copes well. But unexpected events cause problems, as there is little slack in the system.

Extra parking has recently been provided at the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel, but we expect that severe weather, security threats or industrial action will still mean that queues of lorries have to be held on the M20 using a procedure known as Operation Stack. This happened on 32 days in 2015.

Operation Stack can cause significant problems as it shuts the M20. Kent residents struggle to get to work or school, to medical appointments or to carry out everyday tasks. People from further afield get held up or delayed and businesses are affected.

This consultation is about plans to alleviate the problems caused by Operation Stack by designing and building a dedicated lorry holding area at Stanford, near Folkestone. In almost all cases, this will keep Kent residents moving and get rid of traffic congestion caused by cross-Channel disruption. Businesses keep investing in the area and jobs can be created, leading to greater prosperity both in Kent and internationally. (more…)

Have your say on new council ward boundaries for Ashford

Proposed ward arrangement

Ward boundaries proposed by SACF

South Ashford Community Forum (SACF) want to know the views of residents of South Ashford on a draft proposal that they have prepared for submission to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE). The proposal is in response to a request from LGBCE for help in drawing up a new pattern of council wards for Ashford Borough Council.

The LGBCE is the independent organisation that provides electoral arrangements for English local authorities that are fair for voters and keeps the map of English local government in good repair.

The consultation is the first part of an electoral review which will re-draw ward boundaries across the borough.

The Commission has also announced that it is minded to recommend that the council should have 47 borough councillors in the future: four more than the current arrangements.

The Commission now needs information from people and groups across Ashford to help it to produce a new pattern of wards to accommodate 47 councillors.

In drawing up new boundaries, the Commission aims to deliver electoral equality for voters in council elections so that each councillor represents roughly the same number of voters. The review also aims to ensure that the new council wards reflect, as far as possible, the interests and identities of communities across Ashford.

SACF’s proposal can be viewed on the South Ashford website, under Local Information / Representation / Electoral Review,

Have your say on getting around in the county

Local Transport PlanThe people of Kent are being asked whether they agree with Kent County Council’s priorities for the future of transport in the county.

A public consultation of the Local Transport Plan launches today (Monday) and runs until October 30.

The plan is broken down into five main sections:

  • Transport in Kent – sets out KCC’s achievements so far, anticipated growth in the county and the background to transport issues.
  • Strategic priorities – sets out KCC’s priorities which include A2 Bean and A2 Ebbsfleet junction upgrades and Crossrail extension, a new Lower Thames Crossing, splitting Dover port traffic between the M20/A20 and M2/A2 routes as well as expansion of the port, journey time improvements in Thanet and a parkway rail station, Ashford International Station signalling, and general rail and bus improvements.
  • Kent-wide priorities – sets out KCC’s approach to road safety, highway maintenance, home to school transport, and its policy on aviation.
  • District priorities – sets out district transport schemes that have been identified as necessary in each district.
  • Funding Sources – sets out what funding sources are available and alternative funding strategies.


SACF responds to Local Plan

Help shape our Local Plan

South Ashford Community Forum have submitted five representations to the Draft Local Plan published by Ashford Borough Council.

Extracts from the Local Plan have been included on the website under Local Information / Planning and Development / Local Plan. Each section is a separate post allowing you to make comments. A link is provided to open the relevant part of the Plan online so that you have access to the full text. You can, of course, make your own submissions via the Council’s Consultation Portal but comments need to be in the form of an objection with justification showing that the part of the Plan concerned is not ‘sound’.

Ashford Borough Council’s consultation on the plan closes on Wednesday,10th August, after which no more comments can be submitted.

The representations SACF have submitted relate to the following parts of the Plan: