Millions of Staffordshire records go online

A lot has been happening in the county with the launch of our Archives Service project to get 6 million records online and our Generate Conference at Drayton Manor Park looking at Commissioning.

Coinciding with the centenary anniversary of WW1 coming up on the 4th August, and as interests grows we have seen the launch of our new Archives Service project to digitalise our records. This will now give people from across the world access to millions of Staffordshire baptism, marriage and burial records revealing over 360 years of Staffordshire history.

Over 2.8 million records from Staffordshire Parish Registers are now available on www.findmypast.co.uk which will rise to 6 million when the project is complete. We are keen to encourage more people from the county to explore their own family history, and access to the records on Findmypast will be free in the Archive Service offices and libraries across Staffordshire.

There’s lots of fascinating records about some of our more famous residents. Notable folk recorded in the collection include Captain of industry and prominent abolitionist, Josiah Wedgwood, the man who established the Wedgwood Company in 1754. His grand-daughter Emma Wedgwood, the future wife of Charles Darwin, also appears in the Collection.

Not only this, detailed accounts of a flood that swept two bridges away, an earthquake that rocked the parish of Alrewas in 1795, a series of local riots over food shortages and even a lightning strike that killed 3 cows and 2 horses. He also recorded events of national significance, such as King George III being fired upon with an air gun on his way to parliament.

We were delighted to be able to host, and welcome people from across the country, to the Generate Conference with the theme of improving public sector partnerships and commissioning to deliver better results for communities. This gave delegates a chance to hear about Commissioning in a new way – not about the theory or the intent, but the practice.

Speakers included Richard Vize from the Guardian and representatives from IBM, Capita and Staffordshire University who all shared their own insight and experience. The conference brought together people from across the public and private sectors in the UK and Europe, and part of the Public Health partnership CBI.

Anyone working both now and in the future with the public sector will understand the importance of working closer and smarter to deliver better results for local people, so it was good to share the best practice. Delegates also got a helpful UK perspective on accessing EU funding streams both present and future such as Horizon 2020. As well as examining the relationship of technology on commissioning, in particular how developments in technology are stimulating the ‘wellbeing industry’.

We got encouraging news from our treasury report discussed at our last Cabinet meeting. By using cash reserves instead of borrowing, the county council has made £1.9m savings on the interest it has paid over the last financial year. This contributes to our aims of stimulating economic growth, promoting independent living and making Staffordshire a healthier place.

As you will know, we always look to achieve the best value for money for our local tax-payers, and by running an efficient county council and by using our cash reserves rather than borrowing more, we have been able to make the savings, deliver priority services and keep council tax low in what remain challenging financial times.

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