Archive for August, 2011

Open for business

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

There has been some discussion this week about Christmas opening hours, with the announcement that the county council will remain open during the three days between Christmas and New Year.

A number of you have been asking why we have made this decision and how it will affect you.  We are aware that to many residents it may appear as if the county council is closed for business for ten days over this time.  This is not the case in many services, and we think changing our annual leave arrangements will send a clear message that we are open.

Changing the annual leave arrangements also gives you more flexibility – you can choose when to take your annual leave rather than being forced to take days between Christmas and New Year.

If you want any clarification about how it will affect your service, please talk to your line manager.

Elsewhere the Road Safety team launched a new campaign at last weekend’s V Festival warning young people about the dangers of driving the morning after a night of drinking.  Working with Staffordshire Safer Roads Partnership the campaign will run between now and the New Year.

The message is clear – get behind the wheel while you are still over the limit and it could be ‘Game Over’ for the driver, passengers or innocent bystanders.  About a third of accidents are caused by drivers high on drink or drugs – some 1,370 accidents. 43 per cent of those caught are aged 16 to 25 – so it’s a big problem.

The campaign will see information distributed at freshers’ fairs, featured on the radio and spread through social networking sites.  Please share it with any young drivers in your family.

Enjoy your bank holiday weekend.

Back to business

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

After a break in Devon (in my mind the third best place in England after Staffordshire and Yorkshire!) I’m back from leave with my batteries recharged.  I hope that those of you who have had holidays already have had a great time and that those of you looking forward to a break in the next few weeks enjoy yourselves as well. The big news story across the county has of course been the riots that have affected many towns and cities.  Staffordshire has been spared from any troubles, but I know that Staffordshire Police have been working closely with colleagues across the county and we have been in contact with them throughout the week offering them our support.  I can only hope that this challenging period is over.

As part of our work to keep county residents safe, this week our public protection team made its fifth seizure of counterfeit alcohol at off-licences in the north of the county. The fake spirits have been tested in our own scientific services laboratories. Counterfeit alcohol sales are a growing problem nationally. Anyone who drinks counterfeit spirits risks serious health problems or even death due to potential toxic chemical and unregulated alcohol content, so this is really important work.

On a lighter note, I was pleased to be able to hand out All About You awards this week.  Winners came from teams across the county and included those working directly with young people and vulnerable adults as well as those whose role is behind the scenes, in IT and purchasing.  You can read full details on the intranet – well done to you all, it was great to meet you.