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					                                                                 Agenda Item No.
HERTFORDSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL

COUNTY COUNCIL
TUESDAY 13 OCTOBER AT 10.30 A.M.                              11(a)
EXECUTIVE REPORTS TO COUNTY COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE MEMBER FOR COMMUNITY SAFETY AND CULTURE


1.    Fire and Rescue

      Partnership with Broxbourne Housing Association

1.1   HFRS identified that residents in the Broxbourne area had many at
      risks groups within their communities, examples include, higher levels
      of ill health, high numbers of lone parents, unemployed, people on
      benefits and lower than average earnings, poor educational attainment
      and qualifications. To achieve community engagement with these “hard
      to reach” groups of the community, HFRS identified Broxbourne
      Housing Association (BHA) as an appropriate partner due to its large
      client base and the location of its many properties. The response from
      BHA was very positive and the key to success in the early stages was
      the relationship building between the Cheshunt Station Commander
      and the BHA Estates Manager. The partnership worked together to
      benefit the residents but also to help each organisation achieve their
      aims and benefit from each other. A process was established which
      included: HFRS purchasing smoke detectors on behalf of BHA; BHA
      contacting a group of tenants about the scheme; HFRS crews would
      then follow up, book and carry out Home Fire Safety Checks and
      inform BHA when almost completed; BHA would contact another group
      of tenants and the process would start again. The installation of hard-
      wired smoke detectors in BHA premises had proved too costly for BHA
      but this scheme allowed them to get smoke detectors fitted in their
      premises and allowed HFRS coordinated to access many members of
      the hard to reach communities. The above initiative has been
      selected by the Chief Fire Officers’ Association as a Notable
      Practice Case Study and promulgated nationally.

      Exercise at Buncefield

1.2   On 16 September the Service participated in the first full exercise at the
      BP installation at the old Buncefield site since the explosion and fire on
      11 December 2005. The exercise was designed to test the new
      equipment and procedures that have been introduced by the company
      since that time. Many other agencies were involved in the exercise but
      the Service‟s participation was restricted to the use of and procedures
      associated with the firefighting equipment provided on site. The
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      exercise, which was reported on local television and radio media, went
      well but the Service will be holding a full debrief to ensure any lessons
      learned can be fed back to the site owners and incorporated into the
      Service‟s operational procedures.

2.    Resilience and Emergency Planning

      Pandemic Flu Update

2.1   The Authority continues to work closely with its partners in the county‟s
      Local Resilience Forum (LRF) to respond to the current influenza
      pandemic (“swine flu”). In Hertfordshire in late September, the number
      of people accessing the National Pandemic Flu Service for antivirals
      (i.e. Tamiflu) remains steady. Across the East of England region, the
      number of people reporting flu like symptoms has begun to rise, but at
      the moment it is not clear whether this is the start of a “second wave” of
      swine flu. The antiviral collection points (ACP) at Campus West,
      Welwyn Garden City and Watford Town Hall have now closed and flu
      friends are now accessing antivirals through a network of identified
      pharmacies across the county.

2.2   In line with the national pandemic influenza plan, a mass vaccination
      programme is to be introduced to try to mitigate the effects of a
      potential second wave. Arrangements are being developed locally,
      lead by the Primary Care Trust (PCT), for how this can be implemented
      across Hertfordshire. Those who are deemed to be „high risk‟ will be
      vaccinated as a priority, starting in mid October. Frontline health and
      social care staff will be vaccinated in parallel with the high risks groups
      in order to reduce the risk of workers passing on the infection to
      vulnerable clients. The Authority is working closely with the PCT and
      its own contractors to put in place arrangements to manage this
      vaccination programme.

2.3   Within the Authority, service leads continue to meet regularly to review
      the current situation and prepare for a possible second wave. An
      enhanced cleaning regime remains in place to reduce the potential
      spread of the virus and a communication strategy is in place to promote
      the importance on sound hand-hygiene and other actions which staff
      and managers can take to protect themselves and others from swine
      flu. CSF has provided schools and early years settings with specific
      guidance on how they should prepare for a flu pandemic, which is
      based on national guidance available from the Department for Children,
      Schools and Families and the Department of Health.

3.    Statutory Services

      Potters Bar Rail Crash

3.1   The Secretary of State for the Department of Transport made a
      statement on 19 June 2009 with regards the rail accidents at Grayrigg
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      and Potters Bar. It has been decided that there will not be a public
      inquiry into the incidents and that they will be dealt with by two
      independent inquest hearings. Preparations are underway for holding
      an inquest into the Potters Bar derailment in Hertfordshire. We are
      awaiting the appointment of a High Court Judge as Assistant Deputy
      Coroner to hear the case. Funding arrangements remain in place with
      the Ministry of Justice and Department for Transport.

      Registration Service

3.2   On the 16th November 2009, Phase 1 of 'RON for marriages'
      (Registration On-Line) will be introduced nationwide. This is a national
      online system for recording the Notice of Marriage and the issuing of
      Marriage Authorities. Phase 2 will follow and will include the registration
      of marriages. The new system will remove the requirement to hand
      write marriage registers. The RON system is currently used for the
      registration of births, stillbirths and deaths and for Civil Partnerships.

3.3   In accordance with Lord Goldsmith's recommendation to hold
      Citizenship Ceremonies in local iconic venues and following the
      success of last years Ceremony at Hatfield House, the Citizenship Unit
      held a Citizenship Ceremony at Brocket Hall on 3 August 2009. It was
      a successful occasion and received good local publicity.

4.    Trading Standards

      Illegal Money Lending

4.1   Birmingham City Council Illegal Money Lending Team has now been
      authorized to act on behalf of HCC in tackling unauthorised money
      lenders (loan sharks). The Birmingham team have been responsible for
      all of the high profile cases in the news recently, securing many
      convictions and proceeds of crime confiscations against loan sharks.

4.2   The protocol agreement signed by the Head of Trading Standards on
      behalf of the County Council allows officers from Birmingham City
      Council to investigate and prosecute matters within Hertfordshire.
      Trading Standards will be working with them to publicise the
      confidential hotline telephone number 0300 555 2222 where members
      of the public can report loan sharks and be provided with the all the
      necessary support they require.

      Financial & Confiscation Investigations

4.3   Trading Standards have recently appointed an accredited financial
      investigator. The Investigator will support and enhance Hertfordshire
      County Council‟s criminal prosecutions through the effective use of
      financial investigation powers in addition to identifying and pursuing all
      opportunities for asset confiscation and forfeiture.


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4.4   The role ultimately looks to ensure that where possible no-one who is
      prosecuted and convicted by Hertfordshire Trading Standards or the
      County Council leaves the judicial system with any financial benefit
      from their criminal conduct.

      Consumer Direct

4.5   Consumer Direct is the national consumer advice helpline and provides
      consumers with practical advice on a wide range of consumer issues. It
      is funded by the Government‟s Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and
      delivered in partnership with Trading Standards across England,
      Scotland and Wales.

4.6   Hertfordshire Trading Standards as part of the regional trading
      standards partnership in the East of England has contracted with the
      OFT and Vertex since 2005 to deliver the Consumer Direct service for
      consumers in the region. The service nationwide answers
      approximately 1.5 million calls per year, of which almost 130,000 are
      from customers in the East of England

4.7   The existing contract to deliver the service was due to end in 2010, but
      Vertex, who also operates the County Council‟s Customer Service
      Centre in Stevenage, has recently been awarded an 18 month contract
      to deliver Consumer Direct telephone advice service for the East of
      England. Trading Standards will continue to work in close partnership
      with Vertex, and this new contract ensures that the service for
      Hertfordshire consumers will continue to be delivered until 2011.

5.    Crime and disorder reduction

      Domestic Violence Services

5.1   The Domestic Violence Programme countywide consists of 7
      Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVA's) who provide support
      to high risk victims of Domestic Abuse. Multi Agency Risk Assessment
      Conferences (MARAC's) are also set up cross-county which help to
      provide targeted support for the most high risk victims to help prevent
      repeat victimisation. In Hertfordshire we also have Specialist Domestic
      Violence Courts (SDVC's) operating which allow Domestic Abuse
      cases to be grouped together which is then seen by a bench trained in
      these issues and this also allows victims to receive support from
      IDVA's during court proceedings. Work is currently ongoing to secure
      a non-mandatory perpetrators programme which is needed to allow
      preventative work to take place. Alongside this work, Herts County
      Council and the Constabulary are currently piloting a project in schools
      throughout Hertfordshire called 'Dark side of the Moon' addressing
      issues that young people might be facing and providing them with
      routes to support that they themselves can access.



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6.    Cultural services

      Oxhey Library

6.1   The new Oxhey Library opened its doors on Saturday 5th September.
      The building has been extended, refurbished and improved in a £1.4
      million project, financed by the Big Lottery Fund, to offer a 'state of the
      art' community library, and an upgraded venue for a variety of
      community activities. Among the features of the new building are a
      community room, which can be booked by local organisations, and a
      fully equipped learning suite with 17 computers. New services
      beginning in September and October include a Homework Club
      organised in partnership with Youth Connexions, a Job Club run by
      ASCEND, computer classes for adults provided by West Herts College,
      and baby massage and parenting sessions organised by the South
      Oxhey Children's Centre. Over 800 people visited the library on its first
      day, and initial feedback has been extremely positive.

      Installation of RFID Issue and Return Equipment in Libraries

6.2   SCC Intellident were appointed as the supplier for the RFID (Radio
      Frequency Identification). Intellident are the market leaders in the UK
      and demonstrated during the tender process both the superiority of
      their product and their excellent track record of large scale installations.

6.3   Site surveys of libraries have been completed to detail the alterations to
      buildings and counters that will be needed following the removal of the
      old equipment and to accommodate the new. This will involve short
      closures for some libraries. The services of an external provider,
      Tagging Team, have been engaged to prepare the stock. They come
      highly recommended and have experience of this work across a large
      county authority. Re-registration of library users has been completed.
      The interface with the library management system has been developed
      and tested and a staff training package developed.

6.4   Borehamwood library was the first library to go live with the new
      equipment on 1st September 2009, with the newly refurbished Oxhey
      library following on 5th September. These libraries are acting as the
      pilot libraries. Feedback from both staff and users is very favourable,
      and is being fed back to suppliers to enable refinements to be made to
      the operation of the system. The roll out to all libraries will continue
      over the next year.

      Manorial Documents Register

6.5    The Launch of the Hertfordshire Manorial Documents Register took
      place on 16 September. Over the past 18 months, The National
      Archives has funded a project to digitise the lists of Hertfordshire


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      manorial records and add them to the national online database
      http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/mdr.

6.6   For Hertfordshire it lists the records of 2,056 manors, which are held at
      HALS and a total of 57 other repositories around the country. The
      records date from the 13th century and many survive in unbroken series
      right up to the 20th century. A vital resource for the study of local and
      family history, they can shed vivid light on past local communities.
      Manorial courts combined the functions of a local „parliament‟, a small
      claims court and a land registry and their records give unique glimpses
      of the lives of ordinary men and women. This is a fantastic new online
      resource for anyone interested in the history of Hertfordshire.

      Hertfordshire Names Online

6.7   Volunteers engaged in creating online resources have now completed
      indexing Hatfield Workhouse Admissions and Discharge Register. In
      September, 1,255 individual records were added to Herts Names
      Online, bringing the total to 242,347. Orders for document copies are
      being received from around the globe as people can now access
      references to their Hertfordshire ancestors.


Keith Emsall
Executive Member for Community Safety & Culture
October 2009




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