Closed consultations and engagements
Budget Proposals 2021-25
Date: 16 December 2020 - 17 January 2021
Consultation on the 2021/22 budget and medium term financial plan 2021-25.
The general public for their views on the County Council's Budget proposals for 2021-25. We're encouraging residents, businesses, parish councils and partner organisations to give their views on our latest four-year budget proposals by completing a short survey. Our latest plan shows the difference between income and expenditure will reach £92m in 2025 meaning that significant savings will be required. Investment in services including children and family services, adult social care and environment in transport is proposed as well as a £450m capital pot to spend on infrastructure and a 1.99 per cent rise in Council Tax (subsequently raised to 4.99% to include a 3% precept specifically for adult social care)
We received lots of responses from people in the county via the online survey (279 responses). Over half (55% of respondents) were in favour of an increase of 3% or above.
- More than twice as many people agreed with our proposals for growth and savings as disagreed
- There is a general feeling that reductions should be avoided for key services for vulnerable people (adult social care, children’s social care and special education needs and disabilities)
- There was also many suggestions made that staff should work from home where possible to reduce the costs of premises
- There was also majority support for our fair funding campaign to securing additional resources from central government to support services in Leicestershire.
You can find more detail via our Medium Term Financial Strategy Cabinet papers.
Your views will help to shape updated proposals - the budget was agreed by the county council on 17 February.
The consultation responses were reported back to Cabinet as per the meeting above (see appendix O above) and final decisions on the medium term financial strategy took account of the responses/comments received as part of the consultation.
Leicestershire School Admissions - 2022 entry
Date: November - December 2020
All admitting authorities are required to consult where they are seeking to make changes to their arrangements. In Leicestershire’s case we sought to consult to reduce the admission number of a community under the control of the local authority (LA). The rationale for the reduction in the admission number is based on low birth rates from within the catchment, furthermore it will allow the school to financially plan and prepare better as it will avoid the school falling further into a deficits budget.
The consultation ran for a six-week period across November and December 2020, there was a low response rate nevertheless 75% were in favour of the reduction for reasons provided.
In order to make the change Leicestershire, as an admitting authority, is required to consult on the change. We are therefore seeking your view on the reduction as detailed below. Although the changes will only affect the Martinshaw Community Primary school, we would like to hear from all schools (including academies, voluntary-controlled schools, aided schools, community special schools, pre-school providers) neighbouring LAs and a range of professional agencies. To take part, please read the relevant documents provided, then continue to the online questionnaire to provide your feedback.
Proposal to Reduce Admission Number at Martinshaw Primary School
- Consultees were asked for views on the proposal to reduce the admission number for entry to the Primary School from 45 to 30 from September 2022. A total of 16 responses were received; 12 (75%) indicated support for the reduction, 3 responses (13%) objected, and 1 (6%) neither agreed nor disagreed.
- Comments provided with the responses included:
- I believe that County and the school are probably doing what is right for them.
- Reducing the PAN [planned admissions number] to 30 would give the school more financial stability without the need to recruit and fund another teacher for slightly higher numbers above 30.
- The numbers have been considerably unstable over recent years and to enable the school to manage its finances it needs to stay within the 1 class entry. This will enable the school to stabilise its staff levels.
- It will improve the use of resources in the school and reduce uncertainty for staff in the future.
- The village is expanding all the time with new build developments. If all the spaces get filled between the 3 primary schools in Groby, we’ll have to drive further away out of catchment to take our children to
Responses to the consultation were low, which could be an indication of the reduction not being a contentious proposal. Generally, most responses are ‘strongly’ in favour of the reduction and are in support. Of the three respondents that disagreed, two were concerned about future housing expansion in the village. There is still some capacity in other local schools to meet demand. It should be noted that any future large-scale housing development in the village (none is planned at present) would also be expected to secure funds for further school expansion. Officers will continue to monitor both births and housing gains and would raise the number at Martinshaw if required.
By reducing the admission number, the impact to current and future pupils will be minimal. It will nevertheless help to financially stabilise the school. Cabinet in response agreed the reduction in the admission number from 45 to 30 from entry September 2022.
Joint LLR SEND Commissioning Strategy 2021-24
Date: November - December 2020
In November 2020 we launched a programme of engagement to ask you about our draft Joint Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (LLR) SEND Commissioning Strategy, 2021-24.
The engagement ran for a period of two months (November and December 2020). The feedback and comments received have now been used to amend the strategy which has now been signed-off by all of the partner agencies involved across Leicestershire, Leicester City and Rutland, covering the work of the three local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and Local Authorities (LAs).
A copy of the final strategy is being hosted and can be viewed on the Leicester City Council website
gives some detailed information about the feedback from the engagement. However, for ease of reference the following table summarises how your feedback and comments have directly led to changes to the Joint LLR SEND Commissioning Strategy, 2021-24:
|You said||We did|
One of our actions was to ‘Look at development of the marketplace for services for young people with ASD’.
|The action is now listed as ‘Look at development of the marketplace for services for young people with SEND, starting with where we are seeing the greatest need or most pressing changes occurring’|
|Suggestion that the strategy was not specific, not SMART and didn’t contain enough information on the ‘as is’ position.||The action plan developed from engagement feedback contains a set of specific actions, states where we want to get to, where we are now and gives timescales for the work.|
|A strong message throughout the engagement was about the need to ensure early identification and intervention to try to prevent the escalation of need which will require more intervention further down the line.|
This would include work with mainstream school settings in particular.
As this can apply across many of the actions, this has been proposed as a cross cutting theme.
|Cross cutting commitment to ask ‘How do we ensure early identification and intervention takes place?’|
|Priority 2 during the engagement was ‘plan to meet need within available resource, forecast for the future’.|
Concern was expressed that resource shouldn’t be a limiting factor, it should be legislation i.e. statutory responsibility.
|The priority has been changed to state ‘plan to meet statutory need within available resource, forecast for the future’.|
|Text during the engagement read ‘Review our transition/preparing for adulthood plans and approaches, looking for opportunities to work together as a system to improve the transition experience for young people’.|
One respondent suggested we should be making these opportunities, rather than looking for them.
|Text now reads as ‘Review our transition/preparing for adulthood plans and approaches, creating opportunities to work together as a system to improve the transition experience for young people’|
|A request was received from all partners to include an action looking at the IAG provision collectively.||This has been added as a new action to year 1.|
|One of our actions was to ‘Engage with children, young people, and families to understand what their priorities are in terms of service provision/improvement’.|
Whilst this was obviously very important and formed part of the engagement on the strategy where views were sought on the ranking of actions, it also forms a cross cutting action that should be considered in all pieces of work we do.
This has therefore been removed as a specific action and included as part of the cross-cutting commitment.
|Cross cutting commitment to ask during each piece of work ‘How do we involve children, young people and families in this action?’|
In addition we have noted from your feedback a number of general or cross-cutting themes that we will take in to account when progressing the actions in the strategy. These include, the need to:
- Work with and listen to children, young people, parents and carers and to support them in understanding the systems, services and changes. This includes provision of guidance and information about what is available and who can access services and support.
- Work with all partners, including schools, and with each other to ensure we are a joint system, working together
- Consider the holistic needs of children across education, health and social care
- Engage, inform and train the workforce on these processes and any changes made
- Ensure early identification and intervention to prevent the escalation of need
Draft Leicestershire Healthy Weight Strategy
Date: 2 November - 31 December 2020
We asked the public for their views on Leicestershire’s Draft Healthy Weight Strategy 2021-2026.
The Strategy sets out a commitment to work together with a range of sectors to make lasting changes to the food, physical activity and social environment to promote a healthy weight. Our aim is to increase the number of adults, children and families who are a healthy weight in Leicestershire by 2026.
We asked for feedback about the priorities we set out in the Strategy and our commitments in relation to these priorities. The consultation included an online survey and dedicated community focus groups.
We received 46 detailed responses from people in the county via the online survey and spoke to over 80 people at our community focus groups. The majority of those who responded to the survey (71%) strongly agreed that there was a need for a Healthy Weight Strategy in Leicestershire. The majority of people also agreed with the three themes included in the Strategy.
Survey respondents and members of the community focus groups provided feedback on what makes it harder to be a healthy weight, what makes it easier to be a healthy weight, and made suggestions for healthy weight management support.
All responses were analysed and helped to shape the final Strategy. You can find more detail via our Cabinet papers (Tuesday 23 March 2021).
As a result of the public responses, the draft Strategy was updated. These updates included:
- Strengthening the importance of supporting people with disabilities to access services
- Ensuring actions from the Strategy are culturally sensitive and adapted to increase inclusion of all communities
- Acknowledging the role that poor mental health and illnesses can have on weight
- Ensuring language is non-judgemental and empathetic to the stigma often associated with obesity
- Strengthening the connection between weight and physical activity
- Celebrating the role that food plays in society and emphasising the need to focus on the root causes of overweight and obesity
The updated Strategy and consultation findings were presented to the council’s Cabinet in March 2021 and approved.
Shepshed Schools Campus Changes
Date: September - November 2020
To develop school accommodation on the Shepshed Forest Road campus. Primarily to increase primary places from 280 to 630 places by moving St Botolphs C of E Primary School into the former Shepshed high school building, build a new six classroom block and reconfigure the main Iveshead secondary school to ensure the school can maintain their 915 pupil net capacity, and build a new 64 place SEND school on the site of the current St Botolphs C of E Primary School.
We would like to hear from parents, residents, and others in the local community on our ambitious plans to transform education provision and create an extra 350 primary places, improved facilities for secondary students and new specialist provision for pupils having special educational needs. These exciting changes will take place over the next three years. We would like to hear your views on these changes, what this may mean to you and your child if they attend or are planning to attend a school on the Forest Street campus and how these changes will be a benefit to the wider community.
There were 123 respondents to the consultation with up to 80% agreeing to the proposals. Feedback included:
- The primary school will be too big at 630 places.
- Traffic management is a concern.
- The amount of additional space (new block) at Iveshead has been highlighted as not enough from what they are moving from as well as wanting to know what work would be carried out to improve the current condition of the old Hynd Leys building.
- There is a lack of planning for the additional future pupils coming through from primary to secondary.
We have experience of 630 place schools in Leicestershire, but we have listened to the concerns of stakeholders. The enlarged primary school is being developed to ensure that pupils have their own smaller communities within parts of the building, based on their own age groups (Foundation, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2) with separate entrances for each. This will be enhanced by having separate playgrounds and outdoor equipment for the younger age groups and older pupils.
A full travel survey was carried out to assess road and pedestrian usage. We will be installing a further level crossing on campus to ensure safety of students.
A frequently asked question section (as outlined below) was created on the website to explain in more detail aspects of the work to be undertaken.
The additional classrooms and other enhancements exceed the space required by the DfE. Further discussions with stakeholders have enhanced the refurbishment work in the Iveshead secondary building. This includes reconfiguring the art and design area, creating hard standing facilities at the front of the school and additional internal refurbishment works being carried out.
Although increases in secondary places will not appear for at least 7 years we are planning how to use developer S106 funding to create extra secondary places in the local area when this is secured.
Frequently Asked Questions
How will 900 secondary students fit into the former Hind Leys building?
We use government accommodation guidelines to determine the student capacity range requirements. This includes, amongst others, classrooms, kitchen and dining facilities, staff accommodation/offices, SEND provision, storage, toilets and teacher prep rooms. We have then worked with the headteacher and governors to choose priorities in space allocation.
When it was Hind Leys college, if the building was used for 11–18 year olds, the capacity range would have been between 724–806 places. The new block and other adaptations will add more than 150 places, we are therefore confident there will be sufficient space to meet the school’s requirement.
If there will be an extra 350 primary pupils attending St Botolphs C of E primary, surely there will be a need for extra secondary school places?
In time this will be necessary, however the increase in primary places will grow over a 3–5-year period. Our experience shows that we wouldn’t expect to see a high increase in secondary places until at least 2027 as the primary pupils get older and feed through to secondary education.
Why haven’t you developed the extra secondary places now?
This is partially explained in the previous question. In addition, as most of the new places are to meet housing growth the extension of the secondary school will be paid from funds secured from housing developers.
Whilst we have received some of this funding for houses already completed, further funding will be received over the next 5–7 years. We will plan how best this funding is used to create extra secondary places in the local area when this is secured.
There’s not enough detail on what improvements that are being made to the secondary school. Can you please explain what is being refurbished and what outside work is being done?
There will be a reconfiguration to classrooms which will incorporate a new corridor to ease pupil flow around the north side of the building. These classes will be refurbished with new lighting, ceiling and flooring, along with student toilets and teacher workrooms. There will also be a large increase to the student dining facility space.
A new hard standing area outside the back of classrooms, leading to the playing fields, as well as a smaller area at the front corner near to the Toy Library will be laid.
An additional science classroom will be created by using space from the design and technology area, which will also see slight improvements to facilities.
The remodelling of the main school building will also incorporate a new administration/staff wing at the front of an enlarged entrance and new foyer which will be attached to the new classroom block.
Along with the new entrance there will be a refurbishment of the toilets close to the theatre. This will complement the renovated and newly opened Social, Emotional and Mental Health and Communication and Interaction (primarily Autism) unit, which greatly improves the community use facilities including an increase in changing rooms space.
The new Six classroom block will be accompanied by a staff work room, office and toilets.
There will be an increase in traffic, which is already a problem on and around the campus. Are there plans to improve roads and pavements around the campus?
We are working with the Highways department as part of the planning application. A review of the parking and traffic management on the campus is being undertaken to decide what is required to improve safety. Further details will be published on our website as the scheme moves forward.
Will there be any further investment to improve sports facilities (e.g. a 3G pitch)?
We wish to achieve the maximum community benefit from facilities available at each school. Our primary aim in terms of the redevelopment is to provide first class teaching spaces, in keeping with the capital funding available to us.
Clearly any improvement to any sports facilities will help to enhance the campus, hence the local authority will seek to work with the school and community/sports users to access other potential sources of funding, for example, through the Football Foundation to install a 3G pitch and associated facilities.
There may be further funding that local sports clubs could access through sport governing bodies, Big Lottery fund and other charitable foundations, which could also enhance facilities further.
Why isn’t a new primary being provided where the housing is being built?
We have looked at different options to where to increase primary places and concluded the campus at Forest Road enables these places, from the numerous housing developments, to be created. There are also key benefits to be derived from the co-location of primary, secondary and SEND facilities. For example, ensuring there is good continuity and progression for pupils between schools, and sharing of expertise and resources.
In practical terms placing a new primary school in Shepshed would require the local authority to request land to be provided and a school to be built from a developer, we would need a single housing development of at least 700 dwellings. As housing has grown in smaller phases around Shepshed there has never been one development which would have triggered the need for a new school.
Will the primary school be too big?
Leicestershire has a range of different size primary schools with eleven of those above 600 places. All these primary schools are rated good or outstanding.
The benefit of larger primary schools is having greater resources and funding to deal with challenges as they arise. Nevertheless, in day to day terms they will operate similar to smaller schools for example through separate year groups or key stage clusters.
The current primary school building is undersized, inside and outside and moving to a larger building will ensure that pupils have the right amount of space for their needs. Plans are for pupils to create their own smaller communities within parts of the building based on their own age groups (Foundation, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2) with separate entrances for each. This will be enhanced by having separate playgrounds and outdoor equipment for the younger age groups and older pupils..
Other than building or refurbishing buildings, what else is planned as part of the change?
We have previously explained that we are looking carefully at how traffic and people movement can be improved on the site. However, we are also looking at what security improvements can be incorporated bearing in mind, as school sites, they shouldn't be open for unauthorised public access. As part of these proposals, we will be looking at additional fencing and further measures to ensure the site is made more secure.
Draft Leicestershire Sexual Health Strategy
Date: 1 April - 5 June 2020
The 2020-23 Strategy recognises the changing commissioning landscape, development of the integrated care system and its impact on partners. It builds on the work of the 2016-19 Sexual Health Strategy, which made significant progress in combining a fragmented system into a single service. The 2020-23 Strategy focuses on sexual health improvement, leadership and policy in Leicestershire.
We asked the general public for their views on Leicestershire's Sexual Health Strategy 2020-2023. This Strategy sets out our priorities up to 2023 for what we can do as a council to support good sexual health across Leicestershire. Our strategic vision for good sexual health in Leicestershire is for: The people of Leicestershire to make informed, positive choices about their reproductive and sexual health to reduce unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (including HIV). The draft strategy identifies five key priorities that support us in our goal of providing good sexual and reproductive health services to our population.
The draft Strategy was the subject of public consultation from 1st April to 5th June 2020. Given the Covid-19 pandemic, the consultation was managed through a range of media, both internally and externally. This included newsletters, social media and emails as well as information being posted on the Council’s website with regular reminders going to stakeholders, encouraging them to comment.
Comments were positive about the Strategy’s approach. Some feedback called for greater emphasis on access and flexibility of services particularly to LGBT communities. One respondent highlighted the importance of psychosexual counselling and its value in reducing health inequalities while others emphasised the importance of good mental health and wellbeing in relation to sexual health. This latter issue has been subsequently highlighted in the strategy in relation to the teaching of RSE in schools; in relation to domestic abuse and in relation to fulfilling reproductive intentions. A number of respondents called for greater visibility of partnerships with the voluntary and community sector.
You can find more detail via our Cabinet papers (Tuesday 23 June 2020).
The Strategy has been revised in the light of the consultation, increasing visibility of the importance of partnership work with the voluntary and community sector and the importance of services being accessible to all, including the LGBT community. A section on the impact of Covid-19 on people’s sexual behaviour and the potential increase on existing health inequalities around the economy and ethnicity has also been added, while the importance of good mental health and wellbeing in relation to sexual health has also been highlighted. An action plan will be drawn up taking into account these changing circumstances. The Strategy will be kept up to date in the light of any changing legislation over the next three years.
Leicester and Leicestershire Strategic Transport Priorities (LLSTP)
Date: 17 February 2020 - 29 June 2020 (19 weeks).
The consultation was extended by five weeks, to provide people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with additional time to respond.
We asked the general public for their views on the 30-year transport blueprint for Leicester and Leicestershire.
Consultation information consisted of the draft LLSTP document, a webpage and consultation survey. Hard copies were available on request and ad-hoc responses were accepted via an online mailbox and by post. The survey was designed to be easy to complete using mobile phones and tablets.
The survey asked a number of questions and provided an opportunity to provide an expanded response for each one. There was also an opportunity to make further comments.
We received responses from people in the county and city via the online survey and informal submissions (102 responses).
- The majority of people agreed that the County Council and City Council should work together to deliver common priorities, whilst 70% agreed with the five high-level themes
- About half agreed that the LLSTP should align with national, regional and local plans (47%)
- About half agreed that the aims challenges and priorities in the LLSTP provided an appropriate strategic framework to work together on (52%)
You can find a summary of the consultation and responses in our November 2020 Cabinet report.
The responses were analysed and grouped by key themes. A comprehensive summary of the key issues/themes and our response can be viewed in Appendix A of the Cabinet report.
You can view the published document: