The Chair informed Council that the main focus of the meeting was to set the budget and council tax and Moved a Motion without notice to waive standing orders to allow for the extension of the meeting should it go beyond two and a half hours. The Motion was Seconded by Councillor A Shield.
That standing orders be waived to allow for the extension of the meeting should it go beyond two and a half hours.
Moving onto Civic Events and Council achievements, since the last Council meeting the Chair and Vice-Chair had attended
• Holocaust Memorial Day event on 27 January,
• an evening with Seaham Music Academy on 2 February; and
• attendance at the Durham County Scouts Awards on 4 February.
The Chair announced that the Council was one of 75 local authorities to have an application accepted to be part of the Family Hubs and Start for Life programme. The government had also announced that the Council was one of 14 applicants to have been chosen as a trailblazer for the scheme, which would see the authority receive additional funding to fast-track the delivery of the new service. The programme would transform the county's current One Point family centres into Family Hubs, a one-stop shop providing services to families from pregnancy through a child's early years until they reach the age of 19.
The Council had been shortlisted for LGC awards innovation category celebrate councils that used innovations to rethink services for better outcomes for citizens and communities at less cost o to improve outcomes or delivery.
Council was informed that Friday 17 February was Care Day and a number of events were being held to coincide with this national day of awareness which was the world’s biggest celebration of children and young people with care experience and an opportunity to celebrate the rights of care experienced children and young people. A drop in event was taking place at County Hall from 11am to 5pm to celebrate care day. Young persons who were 16+, their workers and all care leavers had been invited to attend. Artwork would be displayed that had been put together by the young people. The art depicted what young people felt the words “care experienced” meant to them and would also show the journey of the care leavers HUB from when it first opened.
On a more poignant note Friday, 24 February would mark the first anniversary of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. The invasion had caused tens of thousands of deaths and instigated Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War II. The Chair also paid tribute to those who had lost their lives in the recent earthquakes in Turkey and Syria and the humanitarian effort that would be urgently required in terms of the search operations, food and other supplies.
A national minute’s silence would take place at 11am on Friday 24 February and the Chair asked everyone in attendance to stand for a moments silence to remember those affected by events in Ukraine and to pay tribute to the courage of the Ukrainian people and demonstrate the UK’s and County Durham’s unwavering solidarity with the country. Also, remembering those in Turkey and Syria who had lost their lives in the recent earthquakes.