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News Report Page 11 of 11
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Sefton Council set to explore ways to develop and improve Southport's historic Botanic Gardens

SEFTON Council's Green Sefton Service are looking at ways to develop and improve Southport's popular Botanic Gardens which attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. The park was designed in 1876 and is included on Historic England's:- 'Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest.' Repair works have recently taken place at the aviary and plans are being drawn up for how other parts of the much loved local park could be revamped in the future.

The Green Sefton Service are seeking out funding streams through organisations that support the heritage sector. If successful, the funding could support the restoration of many of the park's Victorian buildings and help the Council to develop new attractions that would bring more visitors to the park, stimulating the local economy and creating new jobs. While the proposals are at the very early stages of development, the Pandemic has highlighted the need for people to be able to access green spaces and the health benefits associated with spending more time in places like Southport's Botanic Gardens. A public consultation is expected to be launched later this year to bring together the views of residents, regular park users, visitors and the dedicated volunteer groups who support many projects at the park to keep the space clean, green and beautiful for all.

This week Cllr Ian Moncur, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing checked in on the completed aviary repairs and met with the Botanic Gardens Community Association to thank them for their fundraising efforts that have supported the recent works. Cllr Ian Moncur said:- "I was thrilled to see the improvement and difference that the repair works have made to the aviary, ensuring that our birds and animals are kept safe and well, and that visitors will now have a much better experience when they can plan a visit here once again. We know how important this park is to the people of Southport and the visitors that come here, and the past 12 months have highlighted just how much people enjoy spending time outdoors. What's more is that spending time in nature is proven to help people's health and wellbeing, while also reminding people how important it is to protect and respect these precious environments. We are so lucky to have many parks and green spaces not only in Southport but across the whole Borough, and we are committed to ensuring that they provide the best facilities for residents and visitors alike. I am delighted to see our Green Sefton officers working with community groups to look at ways of finding investment for the park that will benefit everyone who enjoys spending time here. A vibrant Botanic Gardens will be a valuable asset to the local community as well as providing a positive impact to the local economy including potential job opportunities."

People can find more on the Borough's parks, play areas and open spaces managed by the Green Sefton team, with support from volunteers and partners, by visiting the Sefton Council's website. Anyone interested in helping to shape the developing project, or would like to volunteer in the Botanic Gardens, can contact the Botanic Gardens Community Association.

The Need for Flexible Regulation to Assess Quality

CARE England, the largest representative body of independent adult social care providers, has today responded to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) consultation on changes for flexible regulation.

Professor Martin Green OBE, Chief Executive of Care England, says:- "It is disappointing that it took a Pandemic to highlight the pitfalls associated with CQC's regulatory model. Although we welcome the general direction of the consultation proposals, which aim to enable the CQC to assess and rate services more flexibly, we are concerned by the lack of clarity around what the proposals mean for adult social care providers. Providers need to be clear about the CQC's regulatory framework and how to hold the CQC to account where necessary."

The CQC wants to move away from using comprehensive, on-site inspection as the main way of updating ratings, instead using wider sources of evidence, tools, and techniques to assess quality. Broadly, this is something to be welcomed by providers.

Covid19 has highlighted the problems associated with the adherence to the previous rigid regulatory model of assessing quality. Care England has heard on a consistent basis from its membership that over the course of the Pandemic that they have not felt sufficiently supported, especially in the early months, by the regulator. The opinions of providers are a fundamental indication of the extent to which the system was not fit for purpose. CQC was in a unique position to help navigate the Covid19 Pandemic through clear messaging and oversight.

The CQC launched a formal consultation:- CQC.Org.UK, which proposes 2 significant changes for adult social care providers:-

The CQC propose to assess quality and rate services by using a wider range of regulatory approaches which stretch beyond on site or comprehensive inspections.

The CQC propose to move to a more flexible, risk based approach for how often CQC assess and rate providers.

Martin Green concluded:- "Service ratings are of fundamental importance to business continuity and have significant commercial implications. It is of critical importance that this new regulatory approach is informed by a fair and proportionate framework which gives providers the ability to speak up against inaccuracies and also to request timely reassessment."


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