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Council News Monitor March 11th - this week's essential Local Authority news stories

Sheffield and Bassetlaw to decide on combined authority membership as Walsall and Sandwell commit to West Midlands; Liverpool sets up own gas and electricity company and Haringey sets up its own lettings agency; voters reject Bath mayor; Glasgow to cut 1,500 jobs; Bristol denies existence of poo fairies

Council 'will save money' by taking £5m highways contract back in-house

Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council     Source: Northern Echo

The GMB union has welcomed a council’s decision to bring a £5m highways services contract back in-house. Redcar and Cleveland Council chose not to renew the contract it has with Carillion as it said it believed the service could be delivered more cost effectively.   Read in full

Middlesbrough mayor calls for fairer dispersion of asylum seekers

Middlesbrough Council     Source: The Guardian

Local authorities need to “do their bit” to house asylum seekers, the mayor of Middlesbrough has said, after the Commons home affairs select committee called for those arriving in the UK to be more fairly dispersed. Recent Home Office figures show that Middlesbrough has the highest ratio of asylum seekers to permanent residents in the country, with one asylum seeker for every 152 residents, up from one in 186 last year.  Read in full

Liverpool council to set up low-tariff gas and electricty company, Liverpool LECCy

Liverpool City Council     Source: Liverpool Echo

Liverpool council has revealed plans to set up its own energy company – “the Liverpool LECCy” – in a bid to help people save on their fuel bills. Next week, the council’s cabinet will be asked to approve proposals to start the process of setting up a company providing energy to Liverpool households.  Read in full

Lancashire bus routes saved by £2m county bailout

Lancashire County Council     Source: Lancashire Evening Post

Lancashire County Council has agreed to invest £2m to support buses in many areas of the county which would otherwise have no public transport. The fund will support 28 routes to ensure people can get to work, do their shopping, and access education, health and other vital services.  Read in full

Sheffield Council to make decision on £900m devolution deal next week

Sheffield City Council     Source: The Star

Sheffield City Council has confirmed it will hold a special meeting next week to make a decision on its involvement in a devolution deal for the region, saying it has now 'secured' the necessary changes to the agreement. Despite signing the provisional agreement with Chancellor George Osborne in October last year - the council has previously held out on bringing the deal before its full council due to having a string of concerns about the terms reached.  Read in full

St Stephen's backs Hull Bid in ballot and calls for more improvements to city centre

Hull City Council     Source: Hull Daily Mail

Shops, food outlets and businesses are being urged to back Hull Bid, the body responsible for developing the city centre as a shopping and visitor attraction. Jim Harris, manager of St Stephen's Shopping Centre and chair of Hull Bid, said the work of the organisation is vital in helping the city build on the potential presented by City of Culture and the growth of the renewables sector.  Read in full

 

BETTER CONNECTED LIVE 2016 
The re-invention of local public services
24 & 25 May 2016
the Bond Company Birmingham B5 5SE

Better Connected is all about more. There are more partners: the Local CIO Council, GO ON and Tinder Foundation join Socitm, Planning Portal, Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, Society of Chief Librarians, ADASS Informatics Network, and PublicServiceDigital.com as partners. There is more content: the social care stream has doubled in size. Stream 07 – Skills, Apps and Connectivity will include a workshop “Networked Neighbourhoods and Potential to Support Care Needs” led by the Tinder Foundation and a workshop on the “exclusion heatmap” with a team from GO ON, a session on Digital Skills for Older People and a roundtable on Care Apps led by Jenny Wood, Head of Care and Support at Warwickshire CC. There are more speakers: Amanda Derrick OBE (director Silicon Abbey) Rachel Neaman (CEO GO ON) Jenny Wood (Head of Social Care and Support at Warwickshire CC) join Ayub Khan, Gerry McGovern, Helen Milner, Martin Reeves, Dylan Roberts, Mark Rogers, Gavin Evans, Martin Ferguson, Kevin Jump and Vicky Sargent astride the platforms.

If you are working on transformative projects and programmes, deal with software or customer services for local authorities, or are engaged in redesigning local authority services and support you will want to be in Birmingham in May. 

@liveconnection   www.betterconnectedlive.com @epublicservice @btrconnected

Bassetlaw: Council to vote on full membership of Sheffield City Region

Bassetlaw District Council     Source: Worksop Guardian

An extraordinary council meeting has been called to decide whether Bassetlaw District Council should apply for full constituent membership of the Sheffield City Region combined authority. At the meeting, on Thursday, March 17, council will also be asked to sign the Sheffield City Region Devolution Agreement.  Read in full

The £30m project that aims to solve Lincoln's traffic problems

City of Lincoln Council     Source: Lincolnshire Echo

A new vision of Lincoln's £30 million transport hub, which includes a 1,000 space multi-storey car park, bus station, shops and a railway footbridge, has been revealed. Led by the City of Lincoln Council, the scheme will also see a pedestrianised plaza in St Mary's Street.  Read in full

West Midlands Combined Authority: Walsall and Sandwell join super-council

Walsall Council     Source: Express & Star

Bosses at Sandwell Council and Walsall Council have confirmed the authorities will be part of a new regional super-council. At a full council meeting, councillors rubber-stamped Sandwell’s entry into the West Midlands Combined Authority.  Read in full

More than £21 million slashed from spending at Worcestershire County Council in just nine months

Worcestershire County Council     Source: Evesham Journal

More than £21 million has been slashed from spending at Worcestershire County Council in just nine months - despite bosses admitting they may miss their targets. A new report on the finances at County Hall has revealed that £21.7 million was saved between April and December under the controversial 'FutureFit' plan.  Read in full

Winners named for £750m Eastern Highways Framework 2

Cambridgeshire County Council     Source: Construction Enquirer

An alliance of 11 local highways authorities in the East of England have named the firms they will use for the next four years. Two new panels of contractors will replace the previous preferred firms – Tarmac, Osborne, Eurovia and Jackson – on the Eastern Highways Framework 2.  Read in full

Council tax rise imminent as Peterborough City Council passes budget proposals

Peterborough City Council     Source: Peterborough Telegraph

Council tax payers will soon be paying four per cent more after Peterborough City Council’s 2016/17 budget was approved. Councillors have agreed to £24.1 million in savings to balance the books after a meeting of the full council at the Town Hall.  Read in full

BETTER CONNECTED LIVE 2016 
The re-invention of local public services
24 & 25 May 2016
the Bond Company Birmingham B5 5SE

Better Connected is all about more. There are more partners: the Local CIO Council, GO ON and Tinder Foundation join Socitm, Planning Portal, Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, Society of Chief Librarians, ADASS Informatics Network, and PublicServiceDigital.com as partners. There is more content: the social care stream has doubled in size. Stream 07 – Skills, Apps and Connectivity will include a workshop “Networked Neighbourhoods and Potential to Support Care Needs” led by the Tinder Foundation and a workshop on the “exclusion heatmap” with a team from GO ON, a session on Digital Skills for Older People and a roundtable on Care Apps led by Jenny Wood, Head of Care and Support at Warwickshire CC. There are more speakers: Amanda Derrick OBE (director Silicon Abbey) Rachel Neaman (CEO GO ON) Jenny Wood (Head of Social Care and Support at Warwickshire CC) join Ayub Khan, Gerry McGovern, Helen Milner, Martin Reeves, Dylan Roberts, Mark Rogers, Gavin Evans, Martin Ferguson, Kevin Jump and Vicky Sargent astride the platforms.

If you are working on transformative projects and programmes, deal with software or customer services for local authorities, or are engaged in redesigning local authority services and support you will want to be in Birmingham in May. 

@liveconnection   www.betterconnectedlive.com @epublicservice @btrconnected

Wokingham puts forward plans for unstaffed self service libraries

Wokingham Borough Council     Source: getreading

Bookworms could soon be visiting unstaffed self-service libraries in Wokingham which contain new-look meeting rooms available for hire. Wokingham Borough Council has put forward plans for consultation on its library services and it is looking to buck the national trend by investing in and expanding these services.  Read in full

David Cameron's mother 'very sad' at Tory council's closure of children's centre

Oxfordshire County Council     Source: Oxford Mail

David Cameron's mother has said she is "very sad" at a Conservative council's decision to close a children's centre where she does voluntary work. Mary Cameron's comment comes shortly after she signed a petition against the closure of children's centres in Oxfordshire, including some in the Prime Minister's own Witney constituency.  Read in full

Voters decide against mayor for Bath and North East Somerset

Bath & North East Somerset Council     Source: Bath Chronicle

Voters have decided against having a directly elected mayor for Bath and North East Somerset. The council will remain run by a decision-making cabinet and leader. A mayoral referendum was held to decide how the local authority will be ruled in future years with residents going to the polls with the choice of a directly-elected mayor or keeping the local political system as it is.  Read in full

Dorset County Council votes to support creation of two new unitary authorities

Dorset County Council     Source: BBC News

Dorset county councillors have voted to support creating two unitary authorities as part of devolution. Creating one unitary authority for Bournemouth and Poole and another for the rest of the council gained the most support at the special meeting.  Read in full

Council challenged over 'extreme' LOBO loans

Newham Council     Source: LocalGov

A resident has issued a legal challenge to her local council over its ‘irrational’ use of Lender Option, Borrower Option (LOBO) loans. Rachel Collinson is arguing that Newham Council was wrong to take out £563m in variable rate LOBO loans and is calling for auditor PwC to apply to the High Court for a ruling that the borrowing was illegal.  Read in full

Haringey council sets up its own lettings agency

Haringey Council     Source: Londonist

Hate estate agents? Yes, you probably do — and if you rent, the fees you have to pay for every tiny little thing probably make you hate them the most. Haringey Council has also had enough. It's set up the country's first lettings agency run by a local authority.  Read in full

BETTER CONNECTED LIVE 2016 
The re-invention of local public services
24 & 25 May 2016
the Bond Company Birmingham B5 5SE

Better Connected is all about more. There are more partners: the Local CIO Council, GO ON and Tinder Foundation join Socitm, Planning Portal, Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, Society of Chief Librarians, ADASS Informatics Network, and PublicServiceDigital.com as partners. There is more content: the social care stream has doubled in size. Stream 07 – Skills, Apps and Connectivity will include a workshop “Networked Neighbourhoods and Potential to Support Care Needs” led by the Tinder Foundation and a workshop on the “exclusion heatmap” with a team from GO ON, a session on Digital Skills for Older People and a roundtable on Care Apps led by Jenny Wood, Head of Care and Support at Warwickshire CC. There are more speakers: Amanda Derrick OBE (director Silicon Abbey) Rachel Neaman (CEO GO ON) Jenny Wood (Head of Social Care and Support at Warwickshire CC) join Ayub Khan, Gerry McGovern, Helen Milner, Martin Reeves, Dylan Roberts, Mark Rogers, Gavin Evans, Martin Ferguson, Kevin Jump and Vicky Sargent astride the platforms.

If you are working on transformative projects and programmes, deal with software or customer services for local authorities, or are engaged in redesigning local authority services and support you will want to be in Birmingham in May. 

@liveconnection   www.betterconnectedlive.com @epublicservice @btrconnected

Glasgow City Council to axe 1,500 jobs in £130m cuts drive

Glasgow City Council     Source: The Scotsman

Scotland’s biggest local authority is to axe 1,500 jobs over the next financial year as part of widespread cuts. Glasgow City Council said the reduction in posts will help it achieve savings of £130 million over the next two years. It stressed there would be no compulsory redundancies.  Read in full

Highland Council to consider summit aimed at writing off £205m housing debt

The Highland Council     Source: Scottish Housing News

The Highland Council is to consider inviting politicians from both sides of the Border to attend a summit aimed at writing-off the region’s £205 million housing debt. A significant element of the housing debt, loans taken out by the local authority to build and improve council housing, relates to historic debt inherited from former district councils at local government reorganisation in the 1990s.  Read in full

Right to Buy scheme set to be suspended by second North Wales council

Isle of Anglesey County Council     Source: Daily Post

The Right to Buy scheme in North Wales is under growing threat with Anglesey Council set to become the second authority in the region to suspend it. Councillors will vote on Monday to apply to the Welsh Government and stop the Westminster initiative.  Read in full

Pembrokeshire residents face 5% council tax rise

Pembrokeshire County Council     Source: WalesOnline

People living in Pembrokeshire will pay an extra 5% in their council tax for the next year after the council approved its budget for 2016-17. The increase represents an extra of 77p a week or £40.06 a year for an average, Band D Council property which will pay £841.10.  Read in full

Party on as £1m allocated for local festivals

Derry and Strabane District Council     Source: Derry Journal

Derry & Strabane Councillors have agreed to invest over £1m in festivals over the coming year. A draft proposal for almost 30 major celebration events was endorsed by the Council’s Business & Culture Committee at its March meeting in Derry.  Read in full

Council is deciding how to spend cash

Armagh Banbridge and Craigavon District Council     Source: Banbridge Leader

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council has confirmed it is set to receive a windfall of approximately £150,000, but has not as yet confirmed where the money will be spent. It is one of seven councils to benefit from £700,000 of funding restored following a cut last year.  Read in full

And finally…

'Unicorns exist, but poo fairies are not real': Dog walkers in Bristol told to clean up after pets

Bristol City Council     Source: Bristol Post

This has got to be one of the best passive-aggressive notices we've seen this year yet. The sign was spotted tied to the railings of Victory Park in School Road, Brislington, in a bid to get dog walkers to pick up after their pets. The notice reads: "Good news. Researchers confirm the existence of Nessie, dragons, mermaids and unicorns."  Read in full

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