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Sefton Council’s Cabinet asked to approve ÂŁ2 million-plus of new roles

Sefton Council’s Children’s Social Care department looks set to receive over £2 million worth of new roles over the next two years if approved at the Council’s Cabinet meeting next week (Thursday 2nd September) and supported by the financial strategy for 2022/23. The £2 million due to be spent on extra staff forms part of the £7 million investment approved by Full Council earlier this year.

Additional investment

The additional investment into Children’s Social Care is to improve the service and help deal with the unprecedented increase in demand, which has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is an additional step on Sefton’s Children’s Services’ improvement journey following an OFSTED visit in March 2021 which highlighted areas in need of improvement. Since March, a number of additional staff have been recruited, bolstered by a transformation team and support from the Department for Education.

Committed and skilled

Cllr Mhairi Doyle MBE, Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said: “We have a committed and skilled workforce, dedicated to working on behalf of our children and I can assure families, children and young people across Sefton that we are determined to deliver to them the high-quality, responsive service they rightly expect and deserve from us.

“But the level of demand for our services is unlike anything we’ve known before, and with additional pressures from Covid-19, we recognise that improvements need to be made to Children’s Services in Sefton.

“We acknowledge the issues and challenges that OFSTED raised, and are committed to facing these head on. I am confident that the recruitment of these new posts to the Children’s Social Care team, in addition to external support from the Department of Education, will help ensure we make the improvements necessary to achieve better outcomes for children and families, and quickly. We need to make immediate improvements, and our existing staff need to see immediate relief in capacity and positive outcomes.

“We are aware of the need to focus on the management of the service and already have a new interim executive director of children’s social care and education and transformation team in place to drive the improvements.”

You can find the agenda and papers for the meeting here.

Sefton’s simplified online renewals services for taxi driver & vehicle licencing remains in place

A queue of taxi cabs waiting for customersSefton’s taxi drivers are being reminded that despite the relaxation of some COVID-19 restrictions, vehicle licence renewals are still being processed through a simple e-mail service.

Ten-day turnaround

We aim for a turnaround of ten working days for the renewal of vehicle licences with a high proportion being processed more quickly. We ask that as much information regarding vehicle renewals is included within the subject line of the e-mail enabling us to prioritise our workload.   

Driver licences continue to be considered for auto renewal for a period of six months. A number of licence holders will be invited in for interview if a new DBS check is required, Immigration status check is required, a Medical check is required or there are pending criminal matters.

Target

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Councils Cabinet Member for Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services said: “Since the start of the COVID pandemic, to ensure the safety of drivers and its own staff, the Council has been carrying out online renewals rather than the drop-in system at Bootle One Stop Shop.

“Infection rates show that the coronavirus is still very much with us, so the online process remains in place for now.

“We have a 10-working-day-target for the process and the majority of applications are being done more quickly.

“And, owners can apply for renewal of their plate 28 days before their current one expires so there should be no reason why anyone should be without a plate.”

To renew, all drivers need to do is email a copy of their Mechanical Fitness Test, which they get from one of the Council’s authorised testing centres to taxiapplication@sefton.gov.uk. Their application needs to be accompanied by an image of their application form, their V5 Registration certificate and evidence of insurance.

The Council then collects the fee from the driver over the telephone and the renewal certificate is sent to them.

Safety

Cllr Lappin added: “As with many of our services, Sefton Council quickly adapted the way we managed taxi vehicle and driver licence renewals to ensure the safety of drivers and our own staff.

“This has mean that the popular drop-in service that took a few minutes, which drivers had got used to now takes a little longer but with a 28-day lead-in time for renewals, no-one need miss the deadline.

Since taking renewals online to prevent the chance of COVID-19 spreading, between drivers, with Council staff and with taxi users, Sefton has processed around 9500 renewals.

Cllr Lappin continued:

“Inevitably taxi drivers in Sefton have had to get used to a change from the drop-in, face-to-face process they have been accustomed to but the vast majority of them have adapted and have been using the system without any problems.

Find out more about the application process on the Sefton Council website.

Grants

During the pandemic, Sefton Council has distributed close to ÂŁ1,000,000 in grant funding through two sets grants to support taxi drivers who have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Over 4,000 taxi drivers licensed in Sefton, and who live in the Liverpool City Region, were eligible for an initial ÂŁ100 support grant followed up by a further ÂŁ200 support grant.

Swab squad – latest!

Swab Squad
Swab Squad

Our Swab Squads are out at Sefton’s rail stations and other venues over the coming week, providing free, rapid COVID tests, information and advice.

Operating from 08:30am – 04:30pm:

  • Monday 23rd August – Aintree station
  • Tuesday 24th  Augutst – Blundellsands station
  • Wednesday 25th August – Asda Aintree
  • Thursday 26th August – Blundellsands station
  • Friday 27th August – Asda Aintree
  • Saturday 28th August- Blundellsands station

Mobile testing units are also deployed at locations across the Borough.

 

We need to carry on protecting ourselves says Sefton’s Health Chief as changes to self-isolation rules come in

Margaret Jones, Director of Public Health in Sefton
Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health

Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health is reminding people across the Borough of changes to the COVID-19 self-isolation rules that have come into effect.

From today (Monday 16th August), anyone who has been fully vaccinated no longer needs to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive case. This means people who have had their second COVID vaccination dose at least 14 days ago and who are not showing any coronavirus symptoms.

Under 18s

Under 18s identified as a close contact of a positive case will not need to isolate either.

But, if they are identified as a close contact, they should still get a PCR test, unless they have had Covid-19 in the last 90 days, in which case they should get a rapid test instead.

Significant

Margaret Jones said: “This is a significant easing of the self-isolation rules, which means it’s important we all keep on making sure we protect ourselves, our families, our friends, our colleagues and the wider Sefton community.

“This means continuing to limit contact with people – particularly those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and where possible, wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces and where you cannot maintain social distancing.

“And we should continue taking free Lateral Flow Tests, which are available free from a wide range of local outlets including all Sefton pharmacies.

Both doses

Margaret continued: “The best way to protect ourselves is to make sure we get both doses of the vaccine, which is now also available to 16 and 17-year-olds, who will soon be invited for their vaccination appointments.

“Plus, it’s vital that anyone who starts to show COVID symptoms of a high temperature, a new persistent cough or a loss of taste or smell, should book a PCR test by calling 119 or visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus.

“People who test positive will still need to self-isolate no matter what their vaccination status or age.”

Employers

Mrs Jones also reminded employers across Sefton that they need to follow the general duties outlined in the The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974, and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

She said: “Many employers will already be carrying out risk assessments and putting suitable controls in place to maintain the safety and wellbeing of staff and the public and they need to continue doing this.  There is more information for business on our website at www.sefton.gov.uk/covid-and-business.

Links to further information about COVID testing, vaccination and self-isolating can be found at www.sefton.gov.uk/covid19

Government guidance can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-coronavirus-restrictions-what-you-can-and-cannot-do#keeping-yourself-and-others-safe

Sefton LGBT+ Consultation Launched

Sefton LGBT+ Survey logo overlaid on a photo of the Another Place statues on Crosby BeachA borough-wide consultation into the experiences and needs of Sefton’s LGBT+ community has been launched.

The work aims to discover what it means to be LGBT+ in Sefton – if people feel safe, supported and seen – and what kind of events and services might enhance and improve their lives in the borough and beyond.

The consultation is being facilitated by LCR Pride Foundation, the Liverpool City Region’s LGBT+ organisation, and supported by Sefton Council. The foundation was established in 2019 with the founding mission to position all six boroughs as the most LGBT+ friendly region in the UK and improving the lives of LGBT+ living in and visiting the region.

Andi Herring, CEO of LCR Pride Foundation, said:

“The consultation has been launched in response to conversations that the Liverpool Echo has had with the local community and feedback we have received from LGBT+ people living in Sefton who want to bring the community together in a more local setting.

“As has been the case in other areas in the city region, the feedback was originally focused around ideas for a Pride festival in the borough. However, ongoing conversations have highlighted wider concerns in the community including lack of representation or space spaces for LGBT+ people, fear of discrimination and hate crime, and isolation.

“It is important that any event, service or initiative that is created to support and celebrate the LGBT+ community in Sefton is aligned with the needs, wants and concerns of that community. We want to encourage the community in Sefton to engage with the survey so they can have their say and shape the outcomes of the consultation.”

Once complete, the results of the consultation will be shared with the public and LCR Pride Foundation will work with the community, local organisations and Sefton Council to facilitate and develop action points raised.

A spokesperson for Sefton Council said:

“We welcome the launch of the LCR Pride Foundation’s Sefton LGBT+ Survey, and we’re keen to receive and review all of the responses once the survey has concluded.

“As a Borough for everyone, we’re committed to supporting our diverse communities, giving those who live, work, study and visit Sefton the opportunity to help us better understand their needs.

“Working in partnership with the LCR Pride Foundation, and other partners across the Borough, we want to play our part in making the Liverpool City Region the most LGBT+ friendly region in the UK, and we welcome any ideas in how we can achieve that goal. A key part of this is ensuring that our LGBT+ community not only feel safe and valued, but that they are visible.

“Additionally, we want to make it absolutely clear that hate crimes, whether it be physical, verbal or online, will not be tolerated in Sefton, and we work with a number of partners including Merseyside Police to eradicate hate crimes from our communities. We’d like to remind people that they can report a hate crime 24/7 by contacting the police, visiting sefton.gov.uk, or anonymously via Stop Hate UK.”

If you identify as LGBT+ and live in Sefton, you can have your say. Simply go to www.lcrpride.co.uk/sefton and complete the survey by midnight on Thursday 30th September 2021.

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