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Council boss to experience streets as visually impaired person

A guide dog Credit: PA

The head of Nottinghamshire County Council will experience what it's like next month to try to navigate walking outdoors for someone who is visually impaired.

It's hoped the event on the 9th November will raise awareness about the work of guide dogs.

Anthony May, the County Council's Chief Executive, will walk through West Bridgford wearing a blindfold whilst being assisted by a trainee guide dog.

The walk will involve crossing roads, going down narrow pavements and avoiding obstacles on pavements like cars and cafe furniture.

The 'Guide Dogs' Street Ahead' campaign is looking to highlight the issues visually impaired people experience on a daily basis when trying to navigate streets, including clutter on pavements.

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Poll: are employees entitled to a smoking break?

Nottinghamshire County Council say the move has been taken to improve the health of employees and reduce time off work. Credit: Sean Dempsey/PA

Nottinghamshire County Council has announced plans for a ban on employees taking smoking breaks during work time.

We ask do workers have a right to take a break for a cigarette?

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Nottinghamshire County Council: Plans to ban cigarette breaks part of 'duty of care'

Employees could be banned from taking smoking breaks Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Nottinghamshire County Council has insisted plans to ban smoking breaks are part of its desire to be a 'supportive employer' and that they have a 'duty of care' to the people that work for them.

Here is their full statement:

“Smoking is still public health’s number one enemy. Nottinghamshire County Council, along with a number of other partners, has signed the Nottinghamshire and Nottingham Tobacco Declaration that commits us to take action against tobacco which in turn improves the health of our staff."

“We are trying to be a supportive employer and have a duty of care to protect the health of our employees as part of a wider remit to take a leading role in promoting better health in Nottinghamshire."

“If you asked 100 smokers if they wanted to give up, 70 of them would want to. With this in mind we want to encourage staff to attend smoking cessation services. If they don’t want to give up smoking they will get withdrawal symptoms at work because of their nicotine addiction."

"We want to support staff by encouraging them to use Nicotine Replacement Therapy at work. The cost of Nicotine Replacement Therapy is cheaper than cigarettes so we are not asking staff to spend more money than usual."

“National research suggests that staff who smoke take more time off work to have breaks and have more sick leave through respiratory problems."

“Another reason for encouraging staff to give up smoking is that they become better role models for their children and the children are less likely to start smoking in the first place if their parents are non-smokers.”

– Nottinghamshire County Council’s Deputy Director of Public Health John Tomlinson
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Council considers employee smoking break ban

Smoking breaks will be banned for thousands of council employees under new proposals.

Nottinghamshire County Council is proposing a total smoking ban for staff

Nottinghamshire County Council has said its 9,000 employees will be barred from smoking during work time with the ban extending to e-cigarettes, in the mooted plans.

Anyone who fails to stick to the rules could face internal disciplinary action.

The local authority said the ban, to include all council buildings, land and vehicles, was aimed at boosting its workers' health, increasing time spent working and reducing levels of sick leave.

But the largest public sector union Unison has said the stringent rules will be unenforceable and has urged the council to support smokers in quitting rather than haul wayward employees into disciplinary meetings.

The council's deputy director of public health John Tomlinson said smoking was still "public health's number one enemy" and the local authority had committed itself to action.

"We are trying to be a supportive employer and have a duty of care to protect the health of our employees as part of a wider remit to take a leading role in promoting better health in Nottinghamshire.

"If you asked 100 smokers if they wanted to give up, 70 of them would want to.

"With this in mind we want to encourage staff to attend smoking cessation services.

"If they don't want to give up smoking they will get withdrawal symptoms at work because of their nicotine addiction."

– John Tomlinson, Nottinghamshire's deputy director of public health

The council has said it will encourage staff to use alternatives like nicotine patches to kick their habit, arguing the cost to its staff would be cheaper than a packet of cigarettes.

"National research suggests that staff who smoke take more time off work to have breaks and have more sick leave through respiratory problems.

"Another reason for encouraging staff to give up smoking is that they become better role models for their children and the children are less likely to start smoking in the first place if their parents are non-smokers."

– John Tomlinson Nottinghamshire's deputy director of public health

The council has about 9,000 employees across all its departments, excluding teachers.

Employees get a short morning and afternoon break, but no smoking will be allowed during these periods under any ban.

Smoking will be allowed during lunch breaks but not in uniform or anywhere near council property, according to the union, Unison.

"We're supportive of public health and we haven't got a stance on this, but we are balloting members asking whether they would be for or against.

"I don't see yet how they could enforce it. Say you work in highways, if you want to smoke, you need to take all your uniform off and go as far away from site as possible and have a cigarette and then come back.

"You're not going to be able to smoke in your uniform, or if you're standing outside your council workplace or are wearing a council badge or lanyard.

"If you're in the parks department, you won't be able to - even when you're outside.

"If anybody goes out on council business and drives their own car, they won't be able to smoke."

– Brian Fitzpatrick, Unison services conditions officer

Unions will discuss the proposals with the council in the autumn, with the ban expected to come into force early next year.

New archaeological treasures at Rufford Abbey

Nottinghamshire community archaeologists are investigating whether there may be the remains of another medieval mill at Rufford Abbey - built by the monks there in the past to serve their estate.

The archaeologists are exploring the area around an apparently ornamental ruin Credit: Simon Cooper/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The archaeologists are exploring the area around an apparently ornamental ruin at the end of the Orangery garden.

Councillor John Knight at Nottinghamshire County Council says Rufford Abbey has a "fascinating history" and that "the purpose of these small-scale excavations is to assess the condition of the buried remains so that we can get an understanding of how much more we might still be able to learn from the archaeology here."

"A thousand years of history and stories lie beneath the country park; from monastic worship and industry, to one of the most intriguing grand houses in the county."

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Struggle to find adoptive parents for children in Nottinghamshire

For many young people living in care, the opportunity of finding a home with a foster family can give them much-needed stability and support.

But one council in the East Midlands says it is struggling to find foster homes for older children and groups of siblings.

Nottinghamshire County Council says there is a growing demand, with more than eight hundred children in need, and it is appealing for new carers to come forward.

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