Ask Warwickshire

Welcome to  Ask Warwickshire, the consultation and engagement hub for Warwickshire County Council

This site will help you find and take part in consultations and engagement activities that interest you.

Click on the links below to find out more about consultations and engagement activities that are currently open or have recently closed.

You can also search current and past activities by keyword, postcode and interest.

Featured: Fitter Futures Warwickshire Consultation

Warwickshire County Council (WCC) Public Health currently commission Fitter Futures Warwickshire.... More

Closes in 2 weeks

We Asked, You Said, We Did

Here are some of the issues we have consulted on and their outcomes. See all outcomes

We Asked

The Council proposed several changes to its existing home to school transport policy. These changes were designed to bring consistency, to unify mainstream and special needs transport, and to help manage the overall home to school transport budget.

As part of the process there was an extensive consultation with all interested parties, to which there were nearly one thousand responses.

You Said

Whilst there were mixed responses to all proposals, there were two main areas of concern.

There were significant objections to the 'safer walking routes' proposal.  This was not a policy change - having been previously agreed - but rather agreement on the implementation of the proposals to re-classify some walking routes that had previously been designated as unsafe to walk. 

Also, there were challenges regarding some of the proposed changes to transport for learners post 19 with special needs.

We Did

The initial proposals, in advance of consultation, were taken to Scrutiny in September 2017.  Subsequent to completion of consultation, the draft paper was taken again to Scrutiny in January this year in advance of going to Cabinet.

Following the responses to the safer walking routes proposal in the consultation, Scrutiny proposed that this proposal was removed from the paper.  This was endorsed by Cabinet.

The paper for Cabinet proposed six policy changes.  Although there were some objections to these policy changes, they were accepted by Scrutiny and voted through by Cabinet.  The new policy is now available on the webpage for this consultation and on the school and college travel webpages

The council has committed to continuing dialogue with partners regarding the 19-25 proposal to ensure that transport is not a barrier to the provision of education

We Asked

Warwickshire County Council (Public Health) commission local Healthwatch in Warwickshire. The current service contract is due for renewal.

A 10 week consultation started on 17th July 2017 and ended on 22nd September 2017. This asked local people including key partners in health and social care, service users and their families and carers about their views and experiences of the local Healthwatch service.

The findings will be used to shape the new service which will be implemented in 2018. 

You Said

  • Making a contribution to improving local health and social care services was a key reason for people to share their views and experiences about health and social care services. 
  • Online methods of communication were the preferred option for both providing feedback and gaining information about health and social care services. However, face to face communication was still popular, particularly for finding out about health and social care services and for those without access to the internet.
  • The most popular way in which respondents wanted to hear news about Healthwatch Warwickshire’s activities was via electronic newsletter or the Healthwatch Warwickshire website.
  • Social media was not a popular way to get or feedback information about health and social care.
  • Respondents would prefer to be involved with Healthwatch Warwickshire by providing online feedback.
  • GP surgeries and Warwickshire County Council were the most likely organisations for people to seek help and advice from about health and social care services.

We Did

Feedback from the consultation was considered at Cabinet on 9th November 2017. The report on consultation feedback and proposed service model is available here.

This information will be used to influence and shape the service specification  for the new local Healthwatch service and ensure local peoples views are integral to the service design. 

We Asked

Warwickshire County Council held a public consultation for eleven weeks June to September 2017 asking people to comments on proposal to redesign how services for children and families are delivered from Warwickshire in the future. 

The County Council’s budget for 0-5 services, currently delivered through Children’s Centres, has been reduced to £3.7 million a year. This, along with recognition of the changing ways people access services, required a rethink about how services are delivered to maximise help for families, increase variety of support available and reduce building maintenance costs.

The consultation proposed developing 12 Family Hubs across Warwickshire delivering services to a wider age range, up to 19 or 25 for those with special educational needs and disabilities. Expressions of interest from the community were invited about how to use the remaining centres and people were asked to share ideas about how other local venues may be used and possible outreach/spoke sites. 

You Said

1558 people provided their opinions on the proposal via the survey (of which 153 completed it on paper).  Council representatives spoke to over 300 people at public events and over 400 people at face to face opportunities including drop-ins and meetings.  Over 150 written submissions were sent and more than 7000 people signed petitions.

Key themes included:

Service provision and impact – implications of maintaining current service offer, the importance of local family support, impact on mental wellbeing and reducing social isolation, proposed change to age range, professional staff appropriately supporting volunteers, additional burden/impact on other services, sufficiency of nursery provision and school readiness.  We listened and prioritised family support, allowed a transitional period of 18 months for the changes, confirmed a commitment to focus on the first 1001 days and early years, and included volunteer coordination roles.

Service users and access – understanding needs, rural access to services, online support is not always appropriate, relationship building, first point of contact to report difficulties, Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) support and language barrier for services.  We listened and increased the number of Children and Family Centres to 14, with 2 additional ones located in the most rural district, Stratford, and confirmed an outreach model to help deliver services locally.

Location and type of building – Riversley Park in Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough was preferred as a Hub site to Abbey, Kingsway in Warwick District was preferred as a Hub site to Sydenham, Long Lawford in Rugby Borough was preferred to Oakfield.  Kenilworth, Shipston and Southam residents reported high level perinatal mental health support needs which indicated a transitional period may be necessary. Transport access barriers, alternative uses for non-Family Hub Children’s Centres, housing and population increases, safety standards of buildings, voluntary groups’ access to venues, safe space for services and disabled access.   We listened and substituted the sites as suggested by respondents and included a transitional year to support those with perinatal mental health support needs in the three identified areas.

General comments were also made questioning whether the cuts need to be made.

We Did

On 9 November 2017, Warwickshire County Council’s Cabinet voted to support the proposal as set out in the Cabinet papers – see here for full details.  On 29 November, an extraordinary meeting of the full Council considered a motion to delay the budget reduction, which was not passed.  Savings will be made from April 2018 onwards.

Proposal Decision? Rationale
Prioritisation of Family Support We propose to protect this service from reduction due to the high priority that families placed on this service during the consultation. The value of volunteers was also expressed but the point was made strongly that they cannot replace trained, skilled, professional family support staff.
Replace 'Family Hub' terminology with 'Children and Family Centres' The consultation revealed some confusion over the terminology of 'hubs' given that it was being used by a number of agencies in different contexts. The name 'Children and Family Centres' links with the current provision, which will be used as the basis for a wider age range and service offer.
Increase the number of proposed Children and Family Centres from 12 to 14 During the consultation, we heard about issues of access and rurality in Stratford District and those who responded to the consultation were against a single Centre in the east of the District (Alcester). As a result, we propose 2 additional Centres at Stratford and Lighthorne Heath, which allow access to a central and a west district centre. This is supported by evidence of need in terms of number of children in need and on Child Protection Plans and the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI)
Substitution of Centres in Nuneaton and Bedworth, Rugby and Warwick borough/ districts As a result of the consultation, we have revised the proposals as follows:
  Riversley Park Clinic as a preference to Abbey, particularly in relation to Special Education Needs and Disability provision
  Long Lawford in preference to Oakfield, because of rural needs and planned housing growth.
  Kingsway in preference to Sydenham, due to suitability for Children and Family Centre purposes, area of need and potential for alternative community outreach sites in Sydenham.
Transitional year for Badger Valley, Kenilworth (St John's) and Southam We recognise the large number of responses received from these areas and so we propose a transitional year. This will allow for additional work to be carried out to look at alternative options for buildings and services to address issues identified during the consultation. The consultation highlighted needs in these areas, in particular social isolation, peer/support networks and perinatal mental health. A transitional year means those facing these challenges will be able to receive appropriate support over a longer time period whilst we look at alternative options.
Confirmation of Outreach Model The reduced number of Centres means more outreach and delivery at alternative places. During the consultation we saw that outreach is already going on and we can develop this model. Also, we have received enough expressions of interest during the consultation period to make us think that there a number organisations would might like to assume responsibility for those Children Centres which, as outreach centres, could deliver Children and Family Centre services directly and/or allow access to the County Council and its partners to the Centre to provide services. We heard throughout the consultation that there is a need for services to be delivered locally when thinking about access to services, financial inclusion and a peer/support network.
Focus on 1001 days and Early Years The Smart Start, 'Reimagining our Children Centres' work and this consultation have all told us how important it is to focus on the first 1001 days. Early years 'Stay and Play' was not part of the original proposal but we have included it in the delivery model. This is as a result of consultation responses who said it was a non-stigmatising way to start accessing support services.
Transitional Approach to Making the Changes Suggestions made by Barnardos and the Parenting Project offer a helpful and co-operative way to carry out the proposals. Making the changes in phases helps make sure service users and partners are included during the design of the Children and Family Centres and the outreach centres to agree how we can deliver a whole family approach. This also shows we are committed to those who expressed concern during the consultation that their support will not be suddenly withdrawn.
Volunteer Support & Co-ordination The new model relies on building community support through peer groups and volunteering. We need to make sure that volunteers are recruited and supervised so that safeguarding is strengthened in the new proposal. The existing volunteer model was mentioned during the consultation as one which provides support to volunteers to help them to support families.