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Ceredigion needs ‘21st century service’ from council

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COUNCIL leader Ellen ap Gwynn stressed the importance of communication within our communities while delivering the Corporate Strategy 2017-2022 at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday (Oct 17).

The purpose of the report was to present the draft Corporate Strategy 2017-2022, including Well-being and Improvement Objectives 2018-19 which is currently out for consultation.

Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader and responsibility for Corporate Services, Improvement and Performance Management, said the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 introduced new arrangements for securing continuous improvement in delivery of public services in Wales.

The County Council is under a general duty to ‘make arrangements to secure continuous improvement in the exercise of functions’. The Duty, ‘making arrangements’ to improve, means putting in place arrangements which allow us to understand local needs and priorities, and to make best use of resources to meet these needs.

The duty refers to continuous improvement to ensure that the Improvement Objectives remain relevant; that the best arrangements are in place for delivering improvements and that we are able to understand the impact and the outcomes for citizens.

In discharging its duty, the Authority must each year prepare an Improvement Plan, which outlines high level objectives for the Authority that it seeks to make towards progressing the Council’s Corporate Strategy and other improvement priorities.

Cllr ap Gwynn stated that it is through having plans that the Council can demonstrate it has appropriate arrangements in place to secure improvement across the range of its functions. The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 introduced new governance arrangements for the delivery of public Services in Wales and the Council has a duty to set and publish Well-being objectives that are designed to maximise our contribution to achieving seven National Well-being Goals.

The council must take all reasonable steps towards achieving these Wellbeing Objectives and must publish an annual report outlining our progress in meeting those objectives.

The Act requires public bodies in Wales to carry out sustainable development. Sustainable Development is defined as a process of improving the economic, social, environmental and cultural Well-being of Wales.

This needs to be done by taking action in accordance with the Sustainable Development Principle so that the Well-being Goals are achieved.

The Sustainable Development Principle is made up of five ways of working that are about looking ‘long term’, integrating our approaches with other public or voluntary sector bodies, involving others in decision making, collaborating on shared solutions and a focus on preventing issues by working to understand the root causes.

The Act directs that Public Bodies should not treat the requirement to set well-being objectives as separate from the objectives that guide and steer the actions and decisions of the organisation. Therefore application of the well-being duty should be through a single integrated corporate approach and the setting of well-being objectives could and should be included as part of a Corporate Plan or other similar document.

Following the local elections in May, the Council has prepared a new Corporate Strategy 2017- 2022 setting out its Priorities for the next five years.

The proposed priorities are boosting the economy, investing in people’s Future, enabling Individual and Family Resilience, promoting Environmental and Community Resilience.

Cllr ap Gwynn added in accordance with the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 and the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009 for each priority area the Council has identified a set of Well-being and Improvement Objectives 2018-19 that will enable the Council to deliver its Priorities as well as maximise the contribution that can be made to the seven well-being goals and seek to provide continuous improvement for the citizens of Ceredigion.

The Corporate Strategy 2017-2022 including Well-being and Improvement Objectives 2018-19 includes an action plan detailing the actions that will be necessary to deliver each of the objectives and therefore the Priorities. The Strategy went out for consultation between the August 14, 2017 and the September 29, 2017.

The consultation documents included the Corporate Strategy 2017-2022 and a summary document detailing the Well-being and Improvement Objectives 2018-19.

Cllr ap Gwynn concluded by saying any impact that the responses have had on the Strategy and/or the well-being objectives will be incorporated into the final document.

The final Corporate Strategy 2017-2022 including Well-being and Improvement Objectives 2018-19 will be presented to Council on October 26, 2017 for approval.

Addressing the cabinet members, Cllr ap Gwynn said that the council needs to provide a service that is fit for the 21st century and communication with communities is important.

Cllr ap Gwynn concluded the report by thanking those involved for their input, and it was agreed that the report will go before the council for confirmation.

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Lecture considers the future of war

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INTERNATIONALLY renowned war scholar and military conflict expert, Professor Christopher Coker delivered this year’s Kenneth N. Waltz Annual Lecture on Thursday (Nov 16).

Christopher Coker, Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, is a prolific author on all aspects of war. He is a former NATO Fellow, a former twice serving member of the Council of the Royal United Services Institute, and a regular lecturer at Defence Colleges in the UK, US, Rome, Singapore, and Tokyo.

In his lecture entitled ‘Still ‘The Human Thing’? Thucydides, Waltz & the Future of War”, Professor Coker discussed war as a feature of what we call ‘human nature’ or ‘humanity’ in general, while focusing on urgent contemporary issues such as possible changes in the nature of war by the blurring of the distinction between humans and machines.

He also considered how, as Artificial Intelligence becomes ever more a fact of life, the traditional functions and forms of war could change, discussing such questions as: will we still need war and will war still need us?

Talking ahead of the the event, Professor Ken Booth of Aberystwyth University said: “Chris Coker is a very imaginative, interesting, and controversial thinker. Intellectually ambitious, he always addresses the biggest questions. The titles of some of his most recent books attest to this: Future War, Can War be Eliminated?, Warrior Geeks: how 21st Century Technology is Changing the Way We Fight and Think about War, The Improbable War: China, the US, and the Logic of Great Power Conflict and Men at War: what Fiction tells us about Conflict. We can be sure of a fascinating and challenging lecture about a supremely important area of human behaviour.”

The Kenneth N. Waltz Annual Lecture brings distinguished scholars to Aberystwyth to talk about issues that were central to the concerns of the late Ken Waltz, the leading theorist of international relations over many decades.
Hosted by the David Davies Memorial Institute and the Department of International Politics, this year’s lecture was held in the Main Hall in the International Politics Building on the Penglais Campus.

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Youth Service invited to international training event

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TWO Youth Workers from Ceredigion Youth Service have been selected to represent the UK on a week’s training opportunity in Horažd’ovice in the Czech Republic.

‘The danger of a Single Story’ is a training course funded by Erasmus+, that combines stories, media, global education and active citizenship to empower trainers, educators and youth workers with the tools to educate young people on issues such as cyberbullying, hate speech, and online harassment.

Elen James, Head of Youth Engagement and Continuing Education​,​ said​:​ “We are extremely proud of both Rebeca Davies and Guto Crompton, 270 people had applied, for 24 places, 2 were allocated for the UK and both places have been assigned to Ceredigion Youth Service staff.

“This is an excellent training opportunity for them, which will inform them and encourage them to reflect on the evolution of media and the consequences that it has on the formation of stereotypes and prejudices. We wish them all the best in Prague!​”​

Rebeca Davies and Guto Crompton will join 22 other Youth Workers from Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey. The week will be hosted at the PROUD Environmental Centre approximately 120km from Prague, from ​Sunday (Nov 19) for a week.

Rebeca Davies, School Based Youth Worker said​:​ “I’m really looking forward to visiting Prague, and meeting other Youth Workers from across the World. It will be a fantastic opportunity to learn new tools and techniques to encourage and empower young people back here in Ceredigion.”

Guto Crompton, School Based Youth Worker ​added​:​ “I’m looking forward to learning more about different Youth Work methods and approaches. I’m also eager to develop a greater awareness around education, active citizenship and democracy.”

Cabinet member for Learning Services, Children and Young People’s Partnership, Councillor Catrin Miles, ​commented: “As a Council, we are very proud of the hard work of our Youth Service to the young people of the county. This will be a very important and worthwhile opportunity for Rebeca and Guto to represent Ceredigion and Wales and we wish them all the best at the event.”

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Pot Noodles bought with theft proceeds

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ON WEDNESDAY (Nov 15), Aberystwyth Magistrates’ Court heard that a 23-year-old man stole an HDMI cable from a store and sold it for a tenner to buy ten Pot Noodles.

Joel Alexander Owens, of Portland Street in Aberystwyth, pleaded guilty to stealing alcohol to the value of £24.96 belonging to his hometown’s B&M Bargains on June 29. He also admitted stealing an HDMI cable to the value of £14 belonging to Tesco in Aberystwyth on September 24.

Prosecuting, Helen Tench said a staff member at B&M was notified by a member of the public about a male who left the store without paying for items.

CCTV footage was checked, which showed Owens select a number of alcoholic items and leaving the store without making any payments.

Police officers later viewed the footage and identified the defendant.

On October 14, a member of staff at Tesco was informed of the incident at B&M. The Tesco CCTV footage was viewed as a result and the defendant was seen removing an HDMI cable from its box on September 24 and leaving without paying.

Ms Tench said Owens was interviewed on October 19, where he admitted committing the offences in his personal statement.

The defendant also admitted he sold the HDMI cable for £10 in order to buy ten Pot Noodles.

Defending, Katy Hanson said Owens pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and admitted to stealing beer and cider from B&M.

Probation officer Julian Davies stated that the defendant was currently serving a 12-month community order for two previous offences of theft and a breach of a conditional discharge.

Aberystwyth magistrates revoked Owens community order and imposed a 12-month community order with 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and a four-week curfew.

Owens was told to pay prosecution costs of £85, compensation of £14 to Tesco and compensation of £24.96 to B&M Bargains.

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