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We want the views of parents and carers of young people with Special Educational Needs and or Disabilities (SEND), to help shape support services

Parents and carers of young people with Special Educational Needs and or Disabilities (SEND) are being encouraged to share their views about the services they receive in their local area.

Working with the Sefton Parent and Carer Forum, Sefton Council has launched the ‘SEND Parent and Carer Spring 2021 survey’, to gather information about services in health, education and social care.

This follows the ‘SEND Parent and Carer survey’ that was carried out in November 2019, which gave an insight into whether people are seeing an improvement in the help and support they are receiving.

The 2021 survey will help us continue to understand what is going well, where improvements can be made and enable the SEND Continuous Improvements Board to monitor experience, involvement and satisfaction.

We are encouraging as many people who are involved with SEND services to complete the survey. Entries will also be put into a prize draw to win one of three £50 shopping vouchers.

Cllr John Joseph Kelly, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children, Schools & Safeguarding, said:

“The views and experiences of parents and carers are invaluable in making sure that children and young people with Special Educational Needs and or Disabilities (SEND) receive the education, health and social care that they deserve.

“We want to make sure we are delivering the best services possible and I would therefore, encourage people to fill in the survey to make their voices heard.

Cllr. Paul Cummins, Chair of Sefton’s SEND Continuous Improvements Board said:

 “Our main aim is to continue to improve the lives of children and young people with Special Educational Needs and or Disabilities (SEND), as well as their families and support networks.”

“The information taken from the survey is vital as it will help us shape how we deliver our services to them, even more effectively.”

Follow the link to complete the survey which is open until the 26th March 2021: https://yourseftonyoursay.sefton.gov.uk/business-intelligence/sefton-parent-carer-send-survey-2021

Sefton’s Budget 2021: An Open Letter

The leader of Sefton Council, Cllr Ian Maher, has published an open letter to all residents and businesses, following the approval of the 2021/22 budget at yesterday’s Full Council meeting (4th March).

In the letter, Cllr Maher thanks the Sefton community for pulling together over the past 12 months and recognises the hard work and dedication by the Council’s workforce to continue to deliver essential services in the midst of a global pandemic.

To view and download the 2021/22 Sefton Council Budget Documents please click the below links.

Budget 2021/22
Budget 2021/22 – Accessible Version

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Dear all,

Last night (Thursday, March 4) Sefton Council set its budget for 2021/22. As a result of Covid, this is the most technical budget the council has set. We’ve always managed our budget to the highest standard despite having to make over £233m of savings over the last 10 years so that we’re able to continue delivering services that are most needed within our communities, and pre-pandemic the Council was in a robust financial position and had delivered a balanced budget.

We have an excellent track record of effectively managing our finances and delivering financial sustainability.

But of course, the impact of Covid cannot be ignored.

At the beginning of this crisis, local authorities were told by Government to do “whatever it takes” to support communities. That’s what we have done, and the response has been nothing short of incredible.

But this response comes at a cost – and the figures involved are just startling. This is expenditure that we haven’t made by choice, but by necessity. This year Sefton Council has put food on the table for families who would otherwise go hungry, housed the homeless, co-ordinated a massive volunteer response, supported those who are out of work due to the crisis, supplied PPE to our frontline workers and care homes, and we’ll keep doing everything we can to help local businesses stay afloat.

Our schools in Sefton have been fantastic, and we have worked hard to support them in delivering home schooling, supporting families of key workers and ensuring the most vulnerable children continue to attend school wherever possible.

Teams at Sefton Council have worked so hard to support local businesses however they can. From providing advice and information, to administering over 10,000 business grant applications totalling nearly £70 million, plus £41 million in Retail Discount (Business Rates Holiday) has been awarded to 1700 businesses.

The impact of the pandemic is hitting now and will be felt for years to come. Local authorities need continual funding. Every Council has seen a rise in demand for services, but also a loss of income from fees and charges and reductions in council tax and business rates. We’ve been calling on Government for months to deliver the resources the Council needs to support residents.

So how has the Government responded to our calls for increased and continual funding?

With announcements that are nothing more than smoke and mirrors!

The Government will have you believe that they are making £1 billion of funding available for local authorities for social care. What they won’t tell you is that £700 million of that comes from allowing councils to increase council tax. This is incredibly unfair, and only transfers the burden on to every single local resident and council tax payer. But we have no choice. The Government are simply not providing local authorities, such as Sefton Council, with the funding they need to deliver essential services.

Therefore, the Council will need to continually monitor and evaluate the impact of the pandemic and make any required decisions as they arise throughout the year. Our biggest risks still come from Children’s Social Care and income from council tax and business rates; and for a Council of our size and complexity, our level of reserves remains low and needs increasing.

Which is why we’re left with no choice but to increase Council Tax once again this year to help fund the unprecedented demand on Children’s Social Care and to be able to continue to provide the everyday services residents rely on. That means that for the provision of council services, it will cost the majority of householders an extra £1.39 or less per week (figures based on a Band C property).

Nevertheless, we will strive to ensure that essential services that safeguard the most vulnerable residents across the whole borough are protected and prioritised in addition to ensuring that financial sustainability is maintained.

This is no easy feat and when I look around the borough, I’m still amazed and impressed with the quantity and quality of services that we still continue to offer.

I am immensely proud of the way in which the Council has responded to the Covid-19 pandemic, working in very demanding and challenging times. We’ve faced a rollercoaster of tightening and relaxing of restrictions and ever-changing guidance over the last few months, but essential council services continued throughout the pandemic and I just want to go on record, once again, and thank all Council staff for the tremendous work, commitment and dedication over these last few months.

Throughout this difficult and uncertain time, I am proud that the people of Sefton have come together to support their friends and neighbours, and I have been heartened by the number of people coming forward to volunteer their time and energy to help their communities.

But community spirit is not enough, and we will also continue to press the Government to keep the promise made by Ministers to provide us with the funding to support our communities.

There are still many positives within the budget. Projects and programmes which started in 2020/21 will continue and come to fruition during this year. Unashamedly ambitious schemes which will bring with them continued and sustained economic growth, such as the £37.5 million Southport Town Deal, the redevelopment of Crosby Lakeside Adventure Centre, a brand-new Southport Market, and of course, our exciting plans for the future of Bootle Strand and Bootle Town Centre regeneration. All of this activity demonstrates our commitment to delivering our 2030 Vision for Sefton.

Take Care & Best wishes

Cllr Ian Maher

Sefton landlord ordered to pay back money after operating premises without a licence

A Sefton Landlord who had been previously prosecuted in 2019 for operating a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) without the required licence and fined £5,000.00,  has now been ordered to pay back the housing benefit and universal credit that they received for a year whilst the premises was operating without the licence under a “Rent Repayment Order”. This equates to a further £13,293.27 . This follows an unsuccessful appeal by the landlord, against the “Order”, to the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) in February 2021.

Landlords who fail to licence their properties in line with the relevant legal requirements will be at risk of prosecution or receiving a Civil Penalty Notice (up to a maximum of £30,000) and potentially a Rent Repayment Order.

68 Civil Penalty Notices have so far been issued on Landlords, for failure to licence houses that are privately rented, since Sefton’s licensing schemes began. The average level of fine for each has been £3,500.00

Sefton’s Housing Standards team are actively seeking out any properties that do not have the required licence and enforcement action is being stepped up by the team. To check if your property requires a licence visit Sefton’s website https://www.sefton.gov.uk/housing/private-housing/

Anyone can check if their property has the required licence by visiting the Council’s public register of housing licences https://housinglicensing.sefton.gov.uk/online-application/public-register/

Licensing schemes aim to improve the conditions and management of privately rented properties across the designated areas of Sefton. A well-managed privately rented sector plays an important role in meeting the Borough’s housing needs.

 

Residents urged to continue to follow lockdown rules prior to schools opening 24/02/2021

Residents in Sefton are strongly urged to continue stay at home to help reduce COVID-19 infection rates even further prior to schools opening. All schools and colleges will open on 8th March in the first stage of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, however infection rates are still high in  Sefton and local hospitals continue to be under pressure.

Margaret Jones, Director of Public Health for Sefton, said:

“Over the next two weeks, it’s really important that residents abide by the current lockdown rules and play their part in reducing infection rates. Although schools and colleges are as safe as they can be, there is the potential that high rates in the community could mean a rise in COVID rates in school/college settings. By starting at a low number of infections on 8th March, we can reduce the risk of rates going up rapidly, as we have seen following previous lockdowns. It is vital that we do everything we can to help our children and young people continue with their education uninterrupted. With lower rates, we can also look forward to the gradual easing of restrictions over the coming months as set out in the Government’s roadmap.”

Under current lockdown rules, people should continue to stay at home and only leave the house for essential reasons such as work, education, shopping and medical appointments. A full list of what is permitted is available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus

A combination of the vaccine rollout and testing will help control the virus. The vaccine programme is running well with good uptake among priority groups and those who cannot work from home can access regular testing even if they do not have symptoms. Details on asymptomatic testing centres can be found at www.sefton.gov.uk/covid-19-in-sefton

If residents experience symptoms of COVID (fever, new continuous cough or loss/change of taste or smell or other symptoms that may be related to COVID) they can obtain a test by visiting nhs.uk/coronavirus or calling 119. If the test is positive, residents must follow the guidance including self-isolating immediately. More information on self-isolating can be found at www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19

For those who need support during this difficult time please visit www.kindtoyourmind.org which has details of 24/7 crisis helplines and resources to help mental wellbeing.

Liverpool City Region Culture and Creativity Awards crowns the Atkinson in its 2020 awards

The winners of the 2020 Liverpool City Region Culture and Creativity Awards have been revealed in a unique online ceremony to celebrate the outstanding contributions to the industry in what has been a challenging year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hosted by Coronation Street and Emmerdale actress, Huyton-born Eithne Browne, the ceremony was broadcast live into over 300 homes where the finalists were standing by waiting for the winners to be announced.

Guest presenters from across the city region including the Principal Dancer of the Royal Ballet Matthew Ball, music artist and international DJ Yousef, actress Leanne Best and chef Paul Askew helped distribute the accolades by video link in the 15 categories.

The People’s Choice award which saw 2,300 of votes cast from across the Liverpool City Region, was awarded to The Atkinson Sefton while the Lifetime Achievement award, recognising an individual’s lifelong creative contribution to the Liverpool City Region, was bestowed on photographer, independent filmmaker and visual artist Sandi Hughes.

Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram said:

“I always like to say that the Liverpool City Region is the country’s cultural capital; that creativity is in our DNA and we’ve really seen that on full display during this past year. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, our region has continually responded with imagination, creativity and generosity to keep us all connected and our spirits high.

“I’d like to congratulate everybody who has been nominated for an award and give a special congratulations to our award winners. I know that all of these fantastic organisations and people will play an integral role in the region’s recovery after this pandemic – I can’t wait to see what they will produce.”

A panel of judges including Co-Chairs of the Culture Partnership Phil Redmond and Maggie O’ Carroll, chose the finalists from more than 700 nominations this year.

Maggie O’ Carroll said:

“Despite the region’s museums, art galleries, theatres and music venues having to close their doors for the best part of the last year, it was heartening to see how many nominations we still had for this year’s awards and the quality of work we received which made the judging all the more difficult!”

The cultural and creative sector has been responsive and has shown to be a lifeline for many communities. It has proved invaluable in supporting people in their own health and well-being during these extraordinary times.”

Phil Redmond said:

“Congratulations to all the winners tonight at what was a dynamic digital ceremony. I’m delighted we could still get together using the power of technology to celebrate this year’s achievements in what has been a crippling year for many cultural organisations. It just shows the resilience of the people of the Liverpool City Region who even now are making a significant impact to culture and creativity.”

During the ceremony, the Borough of Culture title was handed from Sefton to Halton, the next of the city region’s six boroughs to hold the title.

Sefton Councillor and Cabinet member for Communities and Housing Trish Hardy said:

“I’m incredibly proud of how everyone took up the challenge to think differently about how we could present this year’s Borough of Culture in Sefton. Covid-19 has had a massive impact in all areas and I am grateful for all the hard work that went into what has been a difficult year for the cultural and creative sector.”

Councillor Eddie Jones, Portfolio Lead for Visitor Economy, Heritage and Events, and Lead Member for Borough of Culture at Halton Council said:

“As we move forward into 2021 and into Halton’s Borough of Culture year, hopefully with the ongoing vaccine roll out there will be the opportunity to enjoy some of the culture and creativity the borough has to offer in more normal circumstances. We are looking forward to celebrating Halton’s Borough of Culture year and to further build on the fantastic work we have seen in previous years.”

Liverpool Designer Mary Lamb, Head of Liverpool based costume and fashion production space fabricationstudios, also announced the winner of the Dress it Up competition which was awarded to Velma Von Bonbon in the amateur category and Emma Russell in the professional category.

They have both taken away a prize of bed and breakfast at the soon to open INNSiDE by Melia Liverpool Hotel, cocktails in the Sky Lounge at the INNSiDE by Melia Liverpool Hotel, dinner for 2 at Luban Restaurant with a bottle of Drappier Champagne, and 2 x tickets to a Liverpool City Region located theatre show and the chance to exhibit the winning creation at the INNSiDE hotel.

The Culture and Creativity awards were created as part of the Metro Mayor’s Percent for Culture initiative, to recognise the value and power for change that the arts, cultural and creative sector can bring in reinforcing the city region as one of the most vibrant and exciting places to live, work, study, visit or do business. The 2020 awards are delivered in partnership with Sefton Borough of Culture 2020 and sponsors including LuBan Restaurant, LuBan Kitchen, INNSiDE by Melia Liverpool, Davies Partnership and Accountable Recruitment.

This year’s awards covered arts and cultural events, innovation and creative activity that took place within the Liverpool City Region during the period 1st April 2019 to 12th November 2020.

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