To consider reports from Cabinet Members.
The Council received reports from the relevant Cabinet Members on matters of interest or service developments relating to their remits which had occurred since the previous meeting or on specific issues upon which they had been asked to comment, as set out below:
(a) Children’s Services and Schools
Councillor McInnes circulated a Report (as published on the web) outlining the results of the ‘Make Your Mark’ youth consultation which took place during the autumn term (2020). The work had been led by the Devon Youth Parliament, with support from the Participation Team in Children’s Services. 3,667 young people from across Devon had taken part in the consultation to register their voice in voting for national and local priorities. The Youth Parliament would be leading efforts to effect change over the coming year on the priorities.
The Report also covered, as requested by Councillor Hannaford, the schools music grant, including coverage, outcomes and general take up, the national tutoring programme and on work being done to ensure that girls and young women had access to sanitary products during the pandemic, especially in the context of school closures and access to educational establishments.
The Report finally outlined the support that the Council was giving to nurseries who were struggling financially and also the planning and help to young people who had lost out on their education due to the pandemic.
The Cabinet Member also responded to questions from the ‘virtual’ floor on plans for children returning to school.
(b) Community, Public Health, Transportation and Environment
Councillor Croad circulated a Report (as published on the web), as requested by Councillor Hannaford on work being done locally to ensure the vaccine confidence campaign was accessible to people with disabilities, learning disabilities, special needs and those who do not have English as their first language.
The Cabinet Member said that NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group had undertaken a significant piece of engagement with people who had learning disabilities and also people from BAME communities to understand how best to support the uptake of the vaccine with these groups. The Report gave a number of examples of some of the things the NHS were doing locally to support inclusivity of the vaccination programme.
He responded, also to Councillor Hannaford on changes to disabled benefit claimants being moved to Universal Credit, the numbers affected in the Council area and work being done with clients to inform and ensure they were not losing financial support.
The Cabinet Member’s Report, in response to Councillor Hannaford, highlighted mental health issues among farmers and the work being done with tenant farmers, the Farm Safety Foundation, National Farmers Union, charities and the wider agricultural community to raise awareness, understanding and promote more help and support on this matter.
Also included in the Report, in response to Councillor Wright, was an update on the 10 point green action plan previously agreed at Council in July 2019 and the take up by communities and activity relating to the wildflower verge project.
(c) Economy and Skills
Councillor Gilbert circulated a Report (as published on the web), as requested by Councillor Hannaford on the effects of the new EU trade deal on Devon’s fishing industry. The Report covered the Brexit and Transition context, fisheries terms of engagement, imports and exports, SPS compliance, VAT, Export Health Certificates (EHC), groupage loads, catch certificates, RoO, Commodity codes, C88fForms and NCTS system, ports of export, funding support, subsidy control (State Aid), sustainable fish stock management and potential economic impacts.
(d) Organisational Development and Digital Transformation
Councillor Parsons circulated a Report (as published on the web), as requested by Councillor Hannaford, on the current national campaign to automatically exempt those with non-changing or deteriorating disabilities and health conditions from the current blue badge rules, including the numbers of blue badge holders in the Council area who were affected.