Archive for June, 2013

Exercise Triton

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

This month employees from across the county council had the opportunity to take part in Exercise TRITON.

The exercise tested how organisations across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent would work together to tackle a real-life major flooding incident. 

Having taken part in the exercise, I know it involved a lot more time and commitment than perhaps we had expected, but it was important the exercise reflected the impact on resources.

After starting slowly at the start of the week with fairly innocuous weather reports about heavy rain, by Thursday the county council found itself at the heart of a 24-hour exercise.

This involved setting up a gold command at Staffordshire Police, where leads across partnership organisations co-ordinated the response to the “disaster.”

We were joined by the Army, Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Staffordshire Police, neighbouring local authorities, NHS partners, utility companies, highways and transport agencies and Government departments as we dealt with the scenario of wide spread flooding across the county.

Organising Exercise TRITON itself took a huge amount of planning and the Civil Contingencies Unit did a fantastic job in pulling it off.

The “real-life” incident put all “players” under pressure at times and made us all challenge how we would perform in an actual incident.

While there are obviously lessons to be learned from TRITON, and the CCU is co-ordinating  these, I was reassured that the council and indeed the county is absolutely ready and able to tackle any major real life incident, should it occur.

This was an exercise, but we need look no further than the real life devastating flooding in Germany, Hungary and the Czech Republic to see why these exercises are so important.

I would like to personally thank both all those who took part, particularly those who were had the “graveyard shift” working right through the night, and the employees who ensured it was business as usual for the council, while the exercise took place.

If you weren’t involved and would like to know more then you can follow Exercise TRITON as it unfolded at

Preparing for an ageing population

Friday, June 7th, 2013

As you’ll be well aware, on 1 April we formally welcomed the addition of public health to our SCC team and a refreshed mandate to support the positive health and wellbeing of our residents. This is no easy challenge. We have an increasingly ageing local population (from 2008 to 2033 it’s estimated there’ll be a 75% increase in 65 year olds and over, and over 200% for people aged 85 years +) putting pressure on our present and future services. This means we need to find new and innovative ways to meet more demand with less resource.

We need to find ways to identify people’s needs as early as possible – and prevent them from getting worse. We need to support residents to be more responsible for their own wellbeing and help them fulfil their desire to stay independent for as long as possible. The vision is ambitious and requires radical transformation of what we do and how we work with partners and residents across Staffordshire, but we’re more than up for the challenge.

Just this month, the government announced proposals to integrate health and social care by 2018, a journey in Staffordshire we’ve already begun, last year creating the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Partnership NHS Trust – the UK’s largest integration of local authority and NHS care. Now our focus, with the Health & Wellbeing Board up and running, is to develop and implement a five year strategy that balances the reality of a more demanding future making the best use of available money and resources, with supporting local people to take control of their lives to stay healthy and avoid crises.

Increasing preventative care to reduce the demand for emergency care – ensuring that safe, high quality acute services are available for those who need them – I believe is the right direction to take. I look forward to the first public meeting of the Health & Wellbeing Board on 13 June and to us, together, bringing to life our vision of Staffordshire as place where improved health and wellbeing can be experienced by everyone.