Posted by: tonytomkinson | August 31, 2011

Personal Budgets for Service Users

Cabinet has agreed to the implementation of a new approach to day services for older people and disabled people based on the introduction of Self Directed Support through Personal Budgets.

Personal Budgets give people who are eligible for social services more choice and flexibility over the care they receive. The future of Day Services will be largely determined by the people who decide to use them through a personal budget. If there is enough demand to sustain a day service there will be the opportunity for it to continue in a similar form, provided by the staff themselves, the voluntary sector, or the independent sector.

It is proposed to roll out Personal Budgets to all people using day services between September and December 2011, ensuring that everybody receives a support plan, and a choice of either a direct cash payment or a managed care service arranged on their behalf. In every case the County Council Social Services department will take steps to ensure that people’s interests are safeguarded and protected. The CC will work with local user-led and voluntary groups to roll out this new initiative.

If you require any additional information about this new service, please contact me in the usual way.

Posted by: tonytomkinson | July 6, 2011

Minerals and Waste LDF, June 2011

The latest stage of the consultation has now been released and comments should be returned to the County Council by 1st August. Late responses will not be accepted. In my division (Clavering) there have not been any changes since the last issue for consultation; and I am not expecting any this time.

The only extraction pits that are likely to be approved are the existing quarries in Heckingham and Norton Subcourse, these two quarries did not receive any objections from the respective Parish Councils.

Posted by: tonytomkinson | March 29, 2011

Minerals and Waste Specific Site Allocations

At the County Council Cabinet Meeting on Monday April 4th 2011 the Cabinet will consider the conclusions on the future minerals and waste sites for the county.

In the Clavering Division there are some changed conclusions which readers may be interested in.

These are:-

1.  MIN 7 & WAS 27 (Earsham). This site was previously concluded as being acceptable. However, on a further review, it is now concluded that landscape, amenity and geodiversity are such that the site should not be allocated.

2.  WAS 35 ( Aldeby and Burgh St Peter).  This site, the current landfill, was previously regarded as acceptable only for composting on a temporary basis. However, due to the short remaining lifetime of the landfill (filling must end in 2012), it is now concluded that the site should not be allocated for any waste uses.

3.  WAS 28 (Haddiscoe). This site is also proposed for Mineral Extraction ( MIN 25); and this is still being promoted by a developer, (notwithstanding that it remains unacceptable for allocation on a range of grounds). The potential waste uses (inert waste recycling and inert landfill) have now been withdrawn from consideration by the site promoter.

All of the other sites in the Clavering Division remain unchanged since 2009.

Posted by: tonytomkinson | March 29, 2011

Hethel Engineering Centre

Really good news this week, that the Engineering Centre has won an award at the LGC 2011 Awards held at London’s Grosvenor Hotel in the Economic development and Regeneration category. This is especially good news for me as I was responsible for getting this project up and running in 2004, when I was Cabinet Member for Economic Development. This year I was delighted to be asked to open 10 new units at the Centre in my capacity as Chairman of Norfolk County Council. Very happy to share this good news with everyone.

Posted by: tonytomkinson | February 21, 2011

CC Budget 2011

It is some months since I updated this Blog with current information. I have used my busy life as Chairman of the County Council as my excuse. But, residents are entitled to know what 2011 holds for all of us. We (the County Council) have engaged in “The Big Conversation”. This was a consultation exercise to find out where, you, the residents, would prefer not to see the inevitable cuts that we face due to the recession. We were overwhelmed by the responses, which resulted in over 130 separate proposals.

Over 9,000 people responded to the consultation. Many of these people responded on behalf of others whom they represebtated.  For example, responses were received from College Principals who represent thousands of Norfolk students, and from District Council Leaders who represent then of thousands of Norfolk residents in both urban and rural areas.   The Councty Council is very grateful to all those who have responded, either as individuals or on behalf of individuals, as a truly representative response from Norfolk as a whole has been achieved.

And Conservatives on the County Council have listened!  We are greatly concerned with the lack of public interest in politics, so our Big Conversation was designed to re-engage with the public, and to genuinely represent their concerns and wishes.

That is why Conservatives are delighted to announce a number of changes to our original proposals due to the sheer weight of public opinion.  And we have not cut other services in their place.

  • The budget proposal to change the eligibility criteria for individuals needing care will now not be changed, as this single proposal received more responses than any other.
  • Instead of withdrawing all funding from sensory support services.  Conservatives have found efficiencies which allow us to continue providing support to deaf and blind people
  • Preventative Services will now be funded as they save money that would otherwise be spent further down the line.
  • Instead of withdrawing the subsidy for post-16 college students.  Conservatives have negotiated with college principles and agreed to share the cost so that the skills of young people can be fully developed.
  • School crossing patrols will continue as they currently do.

There are also a series of other changes.  Again, since the Big Conversation was started back in October,  Conservatives have worked ttirelessluy to uncover further efficiencies in back office functions so that each of the proposals we have saved will NOT result in another frontline service being cut.  And remember, we did not even consult on issues like closing libraries for example, knowing full well that the people of Norfolk would never accept such a proposal.  Up and down the country library closures are being proposed, but in Norfolk not a single closure will occur.

Just because the Big Conversation has now finished (due to the necessity of agreeing a budget) does not mean that your Conservative County Councillor will stop listening.  The Big Conversation marks the beginning of the process to bring local government back to the people, where it belongs.  As your representative for Clavering I welcome your comments, feedback and ideas that your can give me.


Posted by: tonytomkinson | May 27, 2010

What’s happened recently?

I thought it time that I brought the BLOG up to date. It has never been my intention to write a diary of events, but to use the BLOG for information about the Clavering Division which may be of general interest. However, I think it’s time to break that rule for once and post some general information.

Many of you will know that I was elected to be the new Chairman of Norfolk County Council on May 11th. This is a great honour to be put in this position and I will do my best to promote the Council in any way that I can. The office is one that takes me away from the day-to-day political party goings on. I must stay a-political in all my dealings with the County. This does not mean that I leave party affiliations behind in my work as your local Councillor, but I have never let that influence me in any dealings with the residents, which I have always treated with the best interests of residents in mind.

My new position will mean that I represent Norfolk County Council at all sorts of civic events and I take on an ambassadorial role for the County. There could be as many as 300 events to attend during the year. As I write this I have already carried out some 18 engagements on behalf of the County. Perhaps the most interesting was to host a party of young musicians at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, when The Moscow State Symphony Orchestra performed at St Andrews Hall. It was a wonderful occasion.

Posted by: tonytomkinson | March 21, 2010

Aldeby Waste Tip

I have been asked whether the proposals for a new haul road at Aldeby is any indication that there are plans for an extension to the site. I have taken this up with P & T and been assured that this is not the case. There is a need for the operators of the Aldeby Landfill site to undertake improvements to the road is a requirement of the current planning permission and does not relate to any further aspirations for development that the company may or may not have. This being the case, local residents and I would not normally be expected to hear about it, except through the Waste Liaison Group.

there have not been any application for planning permission for an extension of use. The operators have requested a screening opinion which will allow them to assess whether or not a future application for planning permission should be sought. At this stage no application or pre-application discussions have taken place. If there should be any request I will be informed at an early stage. I will always have in mind the welfare of local residents in these cases.

I hope the above gives some reassurance to all local residents.

Posted by: tonytomkinson | March 21, 2010

What’s new at County Hall

For my March 2010 entry in the Blog I thought you might like to read about some of the more positive messages that are coming from County Hall.

This year the Council tax increase is the lowest it has ever been at 1.9%, our nearest neighbours – Cambridgeshire, 3&; Lincolnshire – 2.5%; Suffolk – 2.4%. Efficiencies achieved in 2009/10 were £85 million; and we anticipate a further £26m of savings and £19m more efficiencies in the next year 2010/2011.

The Audit Commission has again awarded NCC 3 out of 4 stars for The Use of Resources.

From our Organisational Assessment there are more good news items:-

  1. We have been promoting the dualling of the A11, and are currently waiting for the inspectors report.
  2. We have received £10m of external funding to support Norfolk based companies, helping 4500 people gain skills, with 2500 gaining a job.
  3. We have been targeting areas of deprivation – 350 new jobs for your people in Great Yarmouth, through the Future Jobs Fund.
  4. We are working with the police to lower crime even further – a 13% fall in crime in the last year, from an already low base; “Norfolk is the Safest County in England”.
  5. Children and Young people are achieving more – GCSE results are better than ever; take up of advanced apprenticeships is higher than the national average.

If I can help by providing further information please let me know. You can e-mail me on

Posted by: tonytomkinson | January 28, 2010

More Budget Information

Last week I wrote a little about our budgeting problems. I thought it would be of interest to the Parish Councils and to the residents of Clavering, to put a little more flesh on the bones.

The net budget for 2009/10 (excluding the ring fenced amount we administer on behalf of schools) was £560 million – Government Grants amount to £227 million and Council Tax to £333m. This year we still face cost pressures of £40m from inflation, demographic change, fuel inflation, etc. The total budget is in the order of £1.2 billion, when education is included.

It is our intention to balance the budget for 2010/2011 by making £22m savings from efficiency savings, reducing the effect of wage inflation and some staff reductions. Using the Gov Grant up-lift of £13m and increasing the Council Tax by 1.9%. We are carrying out an organisational review, pay freeze, review of the CC Estate and looking at new ways of working.

In real terns the Council will simply have to reduce in size, reduce the number of committees, review our major contracts, more partnering and no cash uplift to departments in 2011/12.

Life is not going to be easy at County Hall this year, we recognise also the difficulties faced by residents due to the dreadful handling of the economy by the present government.

If you have any questions about our finances please direct them to me. I may not be able to give you a quick answer, but I will undertake to get back to you with an answer.

Posted by: tonytomkinson | January 25, 2010

January 2010

Snow at Ellingham Mill

During the snowy weather this year, which existed for longer than we have come to expect over the last ten years or so. The County has gritted the roads and used more salt/grit than at any time in t he past.

I would like to pay tribute to the Council workmen, who turn out at all hours, work long hours and make the “Gritted Routes” as safe as possible. Also, I want to place on record my admiration for the residents of our small villages who do not have footways, are not on priority routes and do not expect snow clearance. Frequently they clear their own footways and pavements; they help each other. I know we have over 6,000 miles of roads in our County, I know we can’t expect to clear all of them, neither can we expect to have sufficient equipment to clear all the roads or budgets to pay for this unusual winter.

Moving on! this is the time of year when we set our Council Tax for the next financial year. To say it has been a challenging exercise is very much an understatement, at The Cabinet Meeting on January 25th, the leader of the Council will announce an increase of 1.9%, this represents 41 pence fer week on a Band D property, or 32 pence per week for a Band B property.

Priority is being given to frontline services, so that the most vulnerable get the best possible quality of care and support. There will be increased access to a greater range of services for 0-5 year olds and their families through the network of children’s centres, with a further 18 coming on stream. More information can be found on the County Council web-site, follow the link on this Blog.

 In the history of Council Tax in Norfolk there has never been a lower figure.

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