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Time to Care Charter not adopted

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THE TIME TO CARE CHARTER was not adopted by Councillors at Monday’s (Feb 9) Cabinet Meeting.

Cllr Paul Miller: Put forward Notice of Motion.

Cllr Paul Miller: Put forward
Notice of Motion.

A Notice of Motion put forward by Cllr Paul Miller asked that the council should adopt the Charter which would have been launched from February 16.

Cllr Miller spoke of the need for the authority to make adult care a priority for the authority but, Cabinet members were concerned of the implications of accepting the Charter and said they would need to know more information before they could sign up to it.

Cllr Paul Miller said: “What we’ve tried to do is quite clearly set out what we would like to see being delivered from the Adult Social Care team going forward in Pembrokeshire. This document talks about the flexibility of carers to support their clients and whether they are given the appropriate time within the scheduling of visits to do that.

“In terms of time allocated to visits I accept what we are asking for is a greater meeting of needs of the client to the time allocated to visits. In general that means the end of fifteen minute visits but I do accept the directors report that there are some fifteen minute visits that are appropriate. There are significant concerns from carers that their time with clients is limited by travel times not being appropriately factored into the schedule.

“We’re also convinced that there are examples in Pembrokeshire of home carers not being paid the minimum wage, that is completely unacceptable but it is something that we need to be mindful of. This is about doing more for people in Pembrokeshire but for me it is a question of priorities and this needs to be a priority for us as an authority.”

Council Leader Jamie Adams said: “I recognise that many of our ageing residents are in danger of becoming vulnerable but I think it is important that we recognise, not just the financial framework, that we get the model of care right.

“There are fundamental aspects of that model of care that need to be put in place before we consider signing up to this.”

Cllr Simon Hancock said: “This is very much a valid part of social care and wider political discourse and I agree with his comments, something we would all agree with, we want to protect the most vulnerable, we want to protect people in the community and give them low-level community services. We all share the same philosophy as to how the model of social care is and should be. There are six providers that we commission that pay the living wage but as Paul illuded to, this is a question of cost. Preliminary figures show that if we signed up to this, it would cost us a minimum of £155,000 in extra expense and a full procurement exercise would have to be carried out and that would also have significant associated costs. Everybody in this room would agree we would love to have everybody on a living wage. We don’t pay living wage to all PCC employers. We are never complacent but there is a lot more work and a lot greater understanding to receive clarity before we as an authority could bind ourselves to this charter.”

Cllr Sue Perkins added: “I support everything that has been said but we couldn’t sit here and vote for something without knowing the costs. I would like to know a huge amount more information.”

Cllr Miller responded: “I would also like to understand exactly what this would cost. This is broader than just paying the living wage although it is a key part of what we are seeking. We need to make sure we are providing the best possible level of care to people in Pembrokeshire. For me this needs to be a priority for this authority.”

Cllr Adams said: “There is not a desire to dismiss the points you have made which are valid and worthy of consideration but a quick fix is going to be very difficult. I’m a bit worried that we are being pushed into effectively signing on to a document that is slightly meaningless, simply because we’re pushed on a timescale. There is a lot of change currently within adult social care. I am keen that we keep a watching brief on this.”

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Three kayakers assisted by St Davids inshore lifeboat crew

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WHILST on exercise, Tuesday (June 22), St Davids In-shore Lifeboat was tasked by the coastguard at 3:15pm to assist three kayakers off St Davids Head.

The volunteer crew made way to the casualties and once one scene could see that one of the kayakers had made their way around the headland to the safer waters of Whitesands Bay.

The party had paddled out from Whitesands Beach when the tide had been ebbing and made there way North around St Davids Head. When the tide turned a wind against tide situation occurred on the headland causing 1.5m choppy seas and 5 knot current preventing the other two kayakers from returning back into Whitesands Bay, a member of the public had spotted the situation and called the Coastguard.

The crew assisted the remaining two kayakers around the headland one at a time by taking them on-board the lifeboat and around the headland. Once the party was reunited in the safety of Whitesands Bay they were escorted back towards the beach where RNLI lifeguards were informed and expecting their arrival.

The crew returned to exercise and complete its crew assessments with the on board assessor before rehousing at around 4:30pm.

When going out on kayaks always wear a lifejacket, check tides and weather, and bring a means to call for help, on 999 and ask for the Coastguard.

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Green hydrogen electrolyser and car refueler arrive at Milford Waterfront

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL says it is leading the way in renewable energy with a collaborative £4.5 million project exploring the vital role hydrogen could play in a decarbonised energy future.

Milford Haven : Energy Kingdom (MH:EK) is a two-year ‘detailed design’ project, completing in 2022, exploring what a renewable energy based Smart Local Energy System could look like for the Milford Haven Waterway – including the concept of a Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (HFCEV).

The aim is to gather detailed insight into the whole energy system around the Waterway, looking at how to make, using and distributing hydrogen financially viable within the different energy sectors of buildings, industry, power and transport.

The MH:EK team will investigate the potential of local renewable energy, including solar, onshore wind, future offshore wind and biomass for decarbonised gas transition.

One element of the project involves a consumer trial of two Riversimple ‘Rasa’ HFCEV’s. The MH:EK team is building a green hydrogen electrolyser and refueler on Milford Waterfront – and this will be used to produce green hydrogen on site to fuel the two trial HFCEV’s.

The project will demonstrate the practical application of hydrogen technology. The aim is to test the feasibility of two hydrogen powered Rasa cars. They will be built by Welsh company Riversimple, and operate as fleet cars in and around the Haven.

Pembrokeshire County Councillor Cris Tomos, Cabinet Member for the Environment and Welsh Language, said: ‘We welcome the progress made by the partnership, particularly in view of recent news that new petrol and diesel cars will not be sold in the UK after 2030. This innovative approach will help us to switch to a low carbon future and promoting sustainable transport as we respond to the climate change emergency.’

Work is underway and should be operational for the trial in July. A hydrogen-ready smart hybrid heating system is also being designed and will be installed and tested in an operational Port building.

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Council’s building maintenance teams to resume non-emergency responsive repairs

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THE HOUSING Building Maintenance teams within Pembrokeshire County Council are now able to re-commence non-emergency responsive repairs to customers’ homes around the County.

Lockdown has prevented tradesmen and women from entering homes to carry out anything other than emergency repairs for many months but the PCC Contact Centre is now able to take calls from customers to request a non-emergency service in their homes once more.

The Contact Centre receives around 38,000 building maintenance related service requests each year and even throughout lockdown Building Maintenance have proudly maintained a 99.2% success rate in responding to emergency repairs within 24hours since restrictions came into force.

Covid has caused a large disruption to the service and while the authority is now in a position to re-open phone lines to routine responsive repairs, a delay in providing that service is inevitable as the backlog is worked through but the authority is working hard to meet the demand.

Backlog is likely to take several months and is dependent on a number of factors including the numbers of repair requests received, availability of materials and contractors.

PCC currently employs 64 tradesmen and women directly and has a considerable number of contractors on its framework to undertake a wide range of maintenance works and Building Maintenance are in the process of tendering a New Minor Works Framework.

All maintenance employees and contractors will continue to work under strict guidelines in people’s homes to ensure that all safety and social distancing measures are adhered to.

The Housing Building Maintenance service is also in the final stages of implementing ‘Repair Finder’ which will enable Contact Centre staff to diagnose the faults in customer’s homes far quicker and more accurately than before, which will in turn ensure that Building Maintenance are better informed and resourced ahead of arriving at the property to carry out the repair.

This is expected to reduce the length of calls to the Contact Centre and subsequently reduce call-waiting times.

The ‘Repair Finder’ tool is expected to be available later in the year and will soon offer residents direct access to an online version which will enable them to report responsive repairs themselves.

Once trialled and released, service requests can be logged by the tenant via the Council’s ‘Housing Online’ portal.

When residents report a problem within their home via the Call Centre or ‘Repair Finder’, they will receive text message alerts informing them of the timescales within which they can expect the repair to be made.

Cabinet member for Housing, Cllr Michelle Bateman said: “We’re under no illusion that lockdown measures have caused a major disruption to the building maintenance service.

“We’re receiving new requests now on top of those that have been on standby during the Covid restrictions. Pembrokeshire residents have shown tremendous patience and understanding of services that have been stretched throughout the crisis so we’re counting on their ongoing support and we hope they appreciate that it will take a period of time to get back to where we were.

“People can be assured that we are working very hard to bring back the outstanding levels of service we provided before Covid and it’s things like ‘Repair Finder’ that will help make this possible going forward.

“With one in every six employed people in Pembrokeshire working for the local authority, it’s important to remember that we are very much in this together”.

If you wish to report a repair to your home you can call the Contact Centre on 01437 764551.

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