More about CoPHEP

CoPHEP stands for the Communities, Public Health, Environment and Prosperity directorate and is led by Dr Virginia Pearson.

CoPHEP was formed in November 2016, following agreement on a new organisational structure. The County Council’s management structure changed to create two new place-based divisions: one which largely covers delivery responsibilities (Highways Infrastructure and Waste), and the other covering the diverse range of strategic and planning aspects of ‘place’ (Communities, Public Health, Environment and Prosperity).

Phil Norrey (Chief Executive) says “In creating CoPHEP I intended to bring all the Council’s strategic planning and place shaping services together. By joining these services together, we can reflect the interdependence of the physical and mental health and wellbeing of population, prosperity and a high-quality environment.”

The teams in CoPHEP

The CoPHEP directorate includes the following teams:

  • Business Support and Innovation.
  • Communities.
  • Economic Infrastructure and Strategic Development.
  • Emergency Planning.
  • Employment and Skills.
  • Learn Devon.
  • Environment Team.
  • Highway Development Management Team.
  • Planning Team.
  • Public Health.
  • Schools Planning and Admissions.
  • Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards.
  • Transport Coordination Service.
  • Transportation Planning and Road Safety Team.

What we do

  • The Communities team in its current form was established in November 2016 to deliver four key areas of the Council’s duties:

    • Commissioning of library and heritage services, Devon’s youth services and support around domestic and sexual violence.
    • Community safety and the coordination of work preventing extremism and radicalisation.
    • Community development across the county.
    • Work to support a range of vulnerable communities including the resettlement of Syrian families, gypsies and travellers and suicide prevention.

  • The team focuses on reducing health inequalities, trying to reduce the gap between the most and least deprived within the population. The aim is for people to live longer in better health. There are three main areas of public health:

    Health improvement – commissioning of services including Public Health Nursing, sexual health, substance misuse, healthy lifestyle, NHS Health Checks, public mental health and oral health promotion; work closely with DCC colleagues and partners such as the district and borough councils, police, fire and rescue, NHS, education and environmental health.

    Health care public health – Public health provides clinical effectiveness advice and provides Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) with important information and data to aid them in their decision.

    Health protection – the main functions of health protection are now the responsibility of Public Health England but there remains a local authority role in overseeing the health protection function to ensure it meets the needs of the local population; also contribute to emergency preparedness including inclement weather, flooding or pandemics.

  • The Planning, Transportation and Environment Service’s key objective is to provide a range of multi-disciplinary services to make a major contribution to the future economic growth of the county by influencing proactively the planning, transportation and environment of Devon.

    The Planning Team maintain Waste and Minerals Local Plans, provide strategic planning advice to planning authorities, determine a range of planning applications and undertake the delivery of some key projects.

    The School Place Planning Team monitor school capacity and take actions to ensure schools have adequate and sustainable levels of capacity.

    They are also responsible for the schools’ capital budget and deliver key projects.

    The Transportation Planning and Road Safety Team provide leadership, vision and intelligence across the discipline and fulfil its road safety duties. The team will develop transportation strategies and policies and will  provide expertise and advice in highway safety and design on new developments, and schemes to support sustainable development and healthier, safer citizens in Devon.

    The Highways Development Management Team provide expert advice on highway safety and transport matters in respect of planning applications.

    One of the key aims will be to support economic growth and secure necessary infrastructure by working effectively with local planning authorities and developers.

    The Environment Group contributes to social, health and economic wellbeing by providing impartial, specialist advice to internal and external stakeholders on the protection, management, enhancement and future resilience of Devon’s outstanding

    The Transport Coordination Service’s role is to maximise the ability of residents and visitors to travel by providing a wide range of passenger services for the general public and specific groups with particular needs.

  • The Economy, Enterprise and Skills Service brings together Trading Standards, adult community learning, post-16 education and economy and enterprise.

    Workstreams include:

    Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service – works on raising awareness of scams and doorstep crime, preventing the sale of age restricted products to underaged young people, working with businesses including support for farming and other rural businesses, prosecution of rogue traders and work at a national level to promote a Buy with Confidence scheme.

    Learn Devon – the adult community learning service works on delivering apprenticeships, basic skills and employability skills, developing internships for those with a disability, supporting local employment creation and assisting those furthest from the labour market to access related work, careers advice and guidance within schools and colleges particularly NEET (not in education, employment or training) and promotion of enterprise in schools.

    Business Support and Innovation– securing external funding and creating new programmes to support businesses, including small medium enterprises, social enterprises and innovation within the health and social care sector, developing LEADER grant schemes aimed at supporting rural communities and community resilience.

    Economic Infrastructure and Strategic Development – developing new strategic employment sites such as Skypark, Exeter Science Park, Okehampton East and Roundswell.

    Working alongside the Local Enterprise Partnership to development, commission and implement a range of programme to increase productivity and prosperity for all.

    Connecting Devon and Somerset programme – multi-million-pound capital programme investing in new superfast broadband services across Devon and Somerset.

    Employment and Skills – developing robust labour market intelligence and appropriate programmes to support adults and young people improve their life chances.

    Responsible for running a national Career Hubs pilot, the County Council’s adult community learning service (Learn Devon) which offers adult training in numeracy, literacy and digital skills, apprenticeships and a range of support for people with learning disabilities.

    Responsible for post-16 education and careers advice and guidance.

Opportunities for joint working

Colleagues across CoPHEP have recently come together at two events designed to stimulate conversations between teams and discover areas of overlap in their work.

Examples of joint projects include Trading Standards and Public Health working together on tackling illicit tobacco sales and Public Health working with the Environment Team, district councils and energy providers, as part of the Cosy Devon Partnership, in improving housing insulation to keep vulnerable people warm over the winter.

Opportunities for personal development within CoPHEP

Virginia Pearson says “It’s in the organisation’s interest to develop its staff – and to create a positive working environment with a motivated and empowered workforce. It’s also a major contribution to the health and wellbeing of individuals”.

Virginia is keen for everyone to think about their personal development, and has encouraged all CoPHEP colleagues to work on a personal development plan (PDP). This could include arranging shadowing opportunities with other departments within CoPHEP, additional training, placements or secondments with other CoPHEP teams.

Find out more

There is a rolling programme of lunchtime learning events called the Knowledge and Skills Exchange (KSE) programme which run on a 6 weekly basis and cover a range of topics.

Examples of previous sessions include a leadership pop-up cinema event, talks on emergency planning and being scam aware.

Further larger events are planned for the future to allow people to take some time out and meet colleagues and explore further opportunities for personal development.