Councillor Michael Quigley was elected to represent the Retford West division on Nottinghamshire County Council in June 2009. He is already an experienced councillor at district level, having been Leader of Bassetlaw District Council. He was awarded the MBE for services to Bassetlaw Hospice and the people of Retford.
Mike is married to Wendy, who also became a Nottinghamshire County Councillor in June 2009 representing Retford East.
Mike is available to meet constituents at any mutually convenient time at a suitable venue. His contact details are displayed on the left of this page.
Mike's latest Councillors' Divisional Fund awards...
Each Nottinghamshire County Councillor now has an annual fund of £10,000 to support worthy initiatives in the division they represent. The Councillors' Divisional Fund aims to make use of each councillor's 'grass roots' knowledge to identify projects, events, people and clubs that work hard to benefit and promote their local area, but often lack access to resources. Even a small amount of funding can sometimes make a huge difference.
If you know of a deserving initiative in the Retford West division that might be eligible to receive a CDF grant, please contact me. You can click the following link to read the eligibility guidance criteria.
Follow this link to the Councillors' Divisional Fund web page to see some of the latest projects I have been able to support.
Mike's latest news...
Council tax frozen for the fourth consecutive year
At the Nottinghamshire County Council budget meeting on 28th February 2013, I joined my Conservative colleagues in voting to freeze county council tax for a fourth consecutive year.
In the 2013/14 financial year, Nottinghamshire County Council will be investing: -
an extra £13.3 million in services to children and young people;
an extra £17.9 million in adult social care;
an extra £3 million on the county’s highways;
an extra £500,000 for a Youth Employment Strategy; and
an extra £700,000 for our ‘Olympic Legacy’ sports development fund.
This followed our ‘Big Budget Conversation’ consultation process, in which 65% of Nottinghamshire respondents supported a council tax freeze, with only 21% against. Further information on the results of the Big Budget Conversation can be found in Appendix A to the budget report.
Nottinghamshire County Council is now spending over £40 million more on services to vulnerable adults than it was four years ago, and over £35 million more on services to vulnerable children.
Local Schools Funding Formula
There has recently been discussion in the local media regarding Nottinghamshire County Council's Local Schools Funding Formula for 2013/14. Anybody wishing to read the details about this decision can do so by clicking this link to the Policy Committee agenda for 14th November 2012 (look under item 4). The most important point to note is that Nottinghamshire County Council is putting funds in place to ensure no school will face any financial reduction in the next financial year unless the school simply has fewer pupils.
Urgent advice: don't deal with doostep traders
I want to warn older people in the Bassetlaw area about cold callers who are claiming to be approved traders from the Nottinghamshire County Council's Handy Persons Adaptation Scheme (HPAS).
The Council has received a report of a distraction burglary in the Retford area involving a doorstep trader who claimed to be approved as part of the HPAS scheme. The service provides the help and support people need to keep safe and secure in their home with low cost but high quality essential adaptations and small practical jobs. It is available to Nottinghamshire residents aged 60 or over, or who have a disability, and the work is carried out by professional self-employed traders approved by the Council's Trading Standards officers.
Approved traders do not carry out uninvited doorstep enquiries and carry a pass which helps to prove they are an approved trader. They only visit your home if you call them to make an appointment - they do not cold call households. Unfortunately, doorstep criminals prey on the vulnerable and our advice on all cold callers is to say no to be on the safe side.
For more information on HPAS scheme contact 0300 500 80 80 or email email@example.com. The Council's Buy with Confidence directory has local 370 traders that have been vetted and approved by local Trading Standards officers. For more information visit www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk or phone Citizen's Advice consumer service on 08454 04 05 06.
Proposal to freeze Nottinghamshire council tax for a fourth consecutive year
On Monday 12th November, Councillor Reg Adair, Chairman of the Finance & Property Committee, moved Nottinghamshire County Council's initial budget proposals for 2013/14 and signalled our intention to freeze Council Tax for a fourth consecutive year.
Committee members agreed to consult the Nottinghamshire public on the budget plans, which would provide an additional £25 million to meet increased demand for services, including an extra £16 million for adult social care and £3 million for children's social care. The proposal requires no savings further to those announced in previous years.
You can view the budget report and participate in the public consultation at: http://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/budget
GCSE results up again in Nottinghamshire
On 23rd August young people in schools across the county received the results of their GCSE examinations.
The provisional results for Nottinghamshire based on 41 (out of 45) schools show that: -
These results show that pupils have been working extremely hard with support from their teachers and on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council I would like to congratulate them for their hard work.
Council care homes to be refurbished
Proposals for a £600,000 refurbishment programme of Nottinghamshire County Council’s six residential care homes were agreed at the Adult Social and Health Committee on Monday 2nd July.
The homes are:
- Bishops Court, Boughton Ollerton
- James Hince Court, Carlton-in-Lindrick
- Kirklands, Kirkby-in-Ashfield
- Leiver’s Court, Arnold
- St Michael’s View, Retford
- Woods Court, Newark
The Council agreed to continue to operate the six care homes last September to provide long term care, short term care and also respite care to support carers.
Hundreds of young people enjoyed the annual Teenfest youth festival at Retford’s Kings’ Park on Saturday 21st July. Entrance to the event organised by 4Uth for Nottinghamshire County Council was free and featured live music, music workshops, sports, stalls, arts, competitions, skateboard competitions and other activities including giant sumo wrestling with specialist costumes, power risers, target shooting, and power kiting.
My colleague, Councillor Lynn Sykes, Chairman of the Early Years and Young People’s Sub-Committee said: "Teenfest is the latest exciting festival in a packed calendar of youth activities this year.”
Council adopts a committee system
With approval at the Council’s Annual General Meeting on 17th May 2012, Nottinghamshire County Council exercised its new power under the Localism Act 2011 to adopt a committee system of decision-making. This replaces the Leader and Cabinet model adopted under the Local Government Act 2000.
The rationale for a committee system is that it is the most democratic and transparent form of governance. It ensures all 67 democratically elected Councillors are able to fully participate in decision-making and shaping the policy of the Council. It ensures greater transparency in that all reports are publicly available prior to any decision being made, and most decision-making meetings are held in public.
Reports were taken to the Full Council meetings in January and March, with final approval being given, as stated above, in May.
Upgrade for Retford Market Square
Nottinghamshire County Council has spent £35,000 on new street furniture in Retford Market Square. The funding from the Local Improvement Scheme (LIS) has provided new benches, litter bins, tree grilles and lighting columns.
The latest improvements to the market square are part of the town centre master plan which aims to preserve and promote the town's heritage assets, create an area for public performances and enhance the market square's signage and street furniture.
I was pleased to approve the LIS application from the Retford Civic Society. The addition of the street furniture has made a visible difference and I’m sure people will appreciate the extra benches and litter bins. The overall plan for Retford aims at attracting more businesses to move into the area and I’m pleased to say the market itself continues to grow.
Councillors Divisional Fund help for Retford Lifesavers
Recently, I had the pleasure of presenting a Councillors' Divisional Fund (CDF) cheque of £1,000 to the Retford & District Lifesavers Society, which will assist their members to compete in The Rescue 2012 Lifesaving World Championships in Adelaide, Australia in November.
I contributed £500 from my CDF allowance and my wife and fellow Retford county councillor, Wendy Quigley contributed the remainder from her CDF. If you can sponsor the team, or you would like details about The Retford & District Lifesavers, visit http://www.retfordlifesavers.com.
St. Swithuns Church
As reported in the local press, St Swithun's Church, which has been undergoing repairs to its roof since last June, is now fit for purpose to support a host of community events. Work which started in January saw new guttering and water drainage installed, the nave and south aisle re-roofed, worn and damaged roof beams and stonework replaced or refurbished, and refurbished upper level windows and ventilation.
I am pleased to report that the final £11,000 of funding required to complete the project came from Nottinghamshire County Council's Local Improvement Scheme. An application for the grant was prepared by the Retford Civic Society and I was happy to sign it off.
I feel it is important because the church building is a focal point of Retford and I want to help the civic society in all they do to support buildings like this. It is not just about preserving the church building but also the community use it provides. Whether you attend this church or not, it is important for the people of Retford as a landmark.
Council tax frozen again in 2012/13
At the Nottinghamshire County Council budget meeting on 23rd February it was agreed to freeze county council tax for a third consecutive year. With public finances under strain across the country, the council has saved £87 million so far, £44 million of which has been reinvested directly into frontline services. In the coming financial year we will spend: -
- £2.8 million more safeguarding children;
- £5.2 million more on care for older people;
- £2.7 million more on adults with mental health & learning disabilities;
- £1.4 million more on adults with physical disabilities; and
- £1 million more to support young carers.
We are also committed to invest £289 million in capital over three years on:-
- Improving school buildings;
- Modernising day centres;
- New youth clubs;
- Improving libraries;
- Improved broadband services;
- Improved roads and pathways;
- New and improved bus stations.
Councillor Reg Adair is the council's Cabinet Member for Finance & Property. In his speech presenting the budget, he outlined the results of the council's budget consultation. In response to public feedback, we are: -
- providing additional library opening hours at 15 locations across the county;
- holding Meals at Home charges at £3.95 for 2012/13; and
- not increasing charges for Blue Badge holders in 2012/13, unlike many other local authorities.
Green light for Elkesley Junction Improvements
Through his Autumn Statement on 29th November, the Chancellor of the Exchequer confirmed that the Government has approved planning permission for the £9.8 million scheme to improve two junctions on the A1 at Elkesley. This follows years of pressure from residents and local councillors and we are delighted that the scheme is now set to go ahead. See Autumn Statement page 54.
£2.5 million boost for Supporting People
Despite local budget pressures and a reduced grant from central Government, Nottinghamshire County Council has invested an extra £2.5 million in its Supporting People programme.
Supporting People is a national programme that provides housing related support to help vulnerable people live independently. It will see its Government grant in Nottinghamshire reduced to £17.6 million this year, threatening the County Council’s previous year’s Supporting People spend of £22.5 million.
However, thanks to a new £1.5 million investment from the local NHS, plus a further £1 million diverted from the County Council budget, the Government’s allocation has been given a vital boost in Nottinghamshire. This limits the reduction in the County’s Supporting People budget to just over 10%, from £22.5 million to £20.11 million. The restricted budget reduction has also been made possible by the County Council’s decision early this year, following public consultation, to keep its savings on Supporting People to £10 million over the next three years rather than two higher reduction options of £12.5 million and £15 million.
These funding measures support feedback gained from a second, two-month public consultation on Supporting People services this year (in Feb/March), to form new proposals which went before Full Council on 30th June 2011. These proposals ensure that:-
- Most accommodation based services continue to be funded, albeit at reduced levels;
- ‘Floating support’ services, which offer support to people in their own homes, will be delivered consistently across issues of homelessness prevention and offender, drug and alcohol, gypsy and traveller and young people’s services;
- Mental health services are reviewed and delivered more efficiently;
- Young people’s services are reviewed for greater efficiency;
- Community alarm and warden services for older people are replaced with a new short term service targeted at helping vulnerable people to remain independent in their own homes.
We’ve talked to those who use the services, to our District Council partners, to project providers and voluntary and community groups, including church leaders, to find ways to make savings through efficiencies. We will target the money at front line services that meet the needs of those who are most vulnerable and in greatest need.
Nottinghamshire was successful in securing Government money under Supporting People when the programme first started eight years ago but we’ve seen this central funding steadily fall by nearly £11 million since that time. We believe that after the £10 million savings have been made, the level of funding in Nottinghamshire for these services will still compare well with other Council areas.