CNM Week Ending Jan 23rd

Council News Monitor - this week's essential Local Authority news

By: Council News Monitor Team
Published: Monday, January 25, 2016 - 10:46 GMT Jump to Comments

This week David Cameron wades into row over £69m of cuts planned by Oxfordshire CC; Stoke on Trent plans to axe seven top management jobs; North Tyneside plans referendum on future of elected mayors; Liverpool planned 3.9% rise in Council Tax includes 2% “Osborne tax”; Government hands key powers back to Rotherham MBC; North and North East Lincolnshire will share back office services and save £12 million by 2026; Better Connected Live confirms May dates; North Midlands devolution deal goes ahead without Leicestershire; Lincolnshire faces cutting 130 bus services; dog poo DNA tests launch in Barking and Dagenham; Fife Council leader says SNP cuts worse than Thatcher’s rate capping; North Lanarkshire leader quits ahead of £100 million of cuts

North Tyneside to have referendum in May on whether to drop elected mayor system

North Tyneside Council     Source: Chronicle Live

The people of North Tyneside are getting a chance to decide whether their council should be run by an elected mayor. The district has been run by a mayor, backed up by a cabinet, since 2002, with the role currently held by Norma Redfearn.   Read in full

Newcastle could be £593m out of pocket as Government demands council house rent reduction

Newcastle City Council     Source: Chronicle Live

Millions of pounds could be lost from Newcastle’s coffers as the Government forces the city to cut council house rents. While the decision to lower rents is a boost for families living in council homes, the city council believes the 1% decrease in each of the next four years could place proposals for home improvements at risk.  Read in full

Liverpool to face a 3.9% council tax hike next year

Liverpool City Council     Source: Liverpool Echo

Liverpool council taxpayers are set to see a 3.9% hike in their bills in the coming year. Mayor Joe Anderson announced the rise – which includes a 2% “Osborne tax” to pay for adult social care – at a meeting of the council cabinet today.   Read in full

Fluoride milk plan gets the go-ahead

Blackpool Council     Source: The Gazette

More than 8,000 children in Blackpool are to be offered fluoridated milk after councillors approved a proposal to introduce it to the town’s existing free breakfast scheme. Blackpool Council’s executive agreed a recommendation after hearing the scheme would help reduce the risk of tooth decay.  Read in full

Powers set to return to Rotherham Council

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council     Source: Yorkshire Post

Rotherham Council leader Chris Read has warned it will take years to get back to normality despite the Government handing key powers back to the authority. Coun Read welcomed the Government’s move to return control over areas such as schools, plannng, leisure and housing to councillors but said signficant challenges remained.  Read in full

New shared council service to save £12m to be launched in April

North East Lincolnshire Council     Source: Grimsby Telegraph

A new shared back office service between North and North East Lincolnshire Councils is on course to launch in April. The joint service, named Northern Lincolnshire Business Connect, hopes to save more than £12 million by 2026.  Read in full


A new, two day, event in central Birmingham 24 & 25 May 2016. Better Connected Live includes learning from better connected workshops; The Better Connected Awards 2015/2016; workshops, "summits"; conferences; un-conferences; WebTV panel programmes; podcasts; Public Service Digital Awards 2016;  and a canal-side party catered by four of Birmingham's famous pop-up restaurants. Who should attend? Officers and senior managers from UK local authorities and anyone interested in using digital channels to enable the delivery of key, local authority, frontline services in a time of continuing austerity. If you want to find our what comes after "channel shift" and take your place in the vanguard of local government administration put the dates in your diary now.

Businesses in support of devolution deal for Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire

Northamptonshire County Council     Source: Nottingham Post

Businesses have reacted positively to the draft devolution deal for Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire – but expressed disappointment that Leicestershire isn't included in the plans. The North Midlands devolution deal has been made public and is in the process of being ratified by Government.  Read in full

130 bus services providing 18 million journeys a year face the axe as council struggles with cuts

Lincolnshire County Council     Source: Lincolnshire Echo

Bus services serving up to 100 communities across Lincolnshire face the axe as the county council struggles to get to grips with its proposed spending cuts. A total of 130 services used by workers and students could be scrapped if public transport savings go ahead.  Read in full

West Midlands Combined Authority online survey branded a 'propaganda exercise'

Coventry City Council     Source: Coventry Telegraph

A questionnaire published by the fledgling West Midlands Combined Authority to gather public opinion on its role has been branded a propaganda exercise. The eight question survey is available via the WMCA's website and has been launched to “help inform the government’s decision on whether it is appropriate and in the region’s best interests to formally establish a WMCA ahead of parliament being asked to approve it.”  Read in full

Stoke-on-Trent council leaders agree to axe seven top officers

Stoke-on-Trent City Council     Source: The Sentinel

Senior council officers will be consulted over plans to cut seven top jobs and save £450,000. Cabinet members at Stoke-on-Trent City Council have agreed to a new senior management structure following a review.  Read in full

Merging services is part of Essex County Council's money saving plan

Essex County Council     Source: Daily Gazette

Essex County Council will use libraries for registering births, marriages and deaths as it battles to save £120million this year. The authority announced a 3.99 per cent council tax hike in 2016/17 as it tries to cope with a £57million drop in cash from central Government.  Read in full

Tories will hold to account Thurrock Council's new 'My Account' system

Thurrock Council     Source: Your Thurrock

The leader of the Thurrock Conservative group has given a qualified welcome to Thurrock Council's new access to services system. Conservative Spokesman for Central Service Cllr Shane Hebb said "We have received complaints that reports of flytipping have gone unanswered and the rubbish not removed as well as residents in rural areas having problems with connecting to the service."  Read in full


Results of the 2015/2016 Better Connected survey segment which assesses how well Council websites handle online enquiries regarding rubbish and recycling can be viewed here

County council trying to ‘gloss over’ Ofsted criticism of children’s services

West Sussex County Council     Source: West Sussex Today

The county council has been accused of trying to ‘gloss over’ criticism of its children’s services in an Ofsted report released on Wednesday. Inspectors spent four weeks last October and November reviewing the West Sussex County Council department and gave it the second lowest rating of ‘requires improvement’.  Read in full

David Cameron tells county council to 'look again' at £69m savings

Oxfordshire County Council     Source: Oxford Times

Prime Minister David Cameron has waded into the row over £69m of cuts at Oxfordshire County Council, urging senior councillors to "look again" at their budget proposals. The Conservative MP for Witney claimed the local authority could still be "more efficient" and said selling property and putting up council tax would help raise further cash.  Read in full

New Cornwall Council chief executive says she wants to understand and meet needs

Cornwall Council     Source: West Briton

The new chief executive of Cornwall Council says she wants to understand and get to know Cornwall and create a council that people can trust. Kate Kennally has come to Cornwall Council having previously held a senior role at Barnet Council.  Read in full

Bournemouth set to insource ICT services from Kier

Bournemouth Borough Council     Source:

Bournemouth Borough Council is set to become the latest authority to scrap a long-term ICT outsourcing contract in order to save money. The council will next week consider a report recommending the council insources back office services currently provided under a 10-year contract signed in 2010 with supplier Kier (formerly Mouchel).  Read in full

Dog poo DNA test launches in Barking and Dagenham

London Borough of Barking & Dagenham     Source: BBC News

A pilot scheme to test the DNA of dog poo to try and catch owners who fail to clear up after their pet has begun. Samples of dog mess will be collected by officers from the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Council and park rangers during the next three months.  Read in full

Happiest borough Bexley to join Havering and Newham merger

London Borough of Bexley     Source: Romford Recorder

London’s happiest borough is set to become a third partner in the existing back-office merger between Havering and Newham councils. Financial services will be shared with Bexley in a deal expected to save the town hall £295,000 and oneSource £660,000 over the next two years.  Read in full


How well is your council website performing? Socitm, the Society of Information Technology Management, tests and reports on the user experience of every UK Local Authority website. 2014/2015 Surveys, results and star ratings are now online and the first of the the 2015/16 Better Connected results are now being published. Get the full story here

Jim McCabe sensationally resigns as North Lanarkshire Council Leader

North Lanarkshire Council     Source: Daily Record

The long time leader of North Lanarkshire Council sensationally quit on Monday night sparking a local Labour leadership contest. Jim McCabe will formally step down as Council Leader at the end of February just before £100m worth of cuts will be implemented across the local authority and just over a year until the Local Government elections in 2017.  Read in full

Fife Council leader says SNP tax freeze is 'more hurtful than Thatcher'

Fife Council     Source: The Courier

The SNP’s council tax freeze is far more damaging to local authorities than Margaret Thatcher’s notorious rate-capping policy, says Fife Council’s leader. In echoes of the attempted boycott by councils of Thatcher’s spending caps, David Ross has called on Scotland’s 32 local authorities to rise up in collective rebellion against the Scottish Government policy.  Read in full

Indoor arena and aquarium announced as part of £500m Swansea city centre regeneration plan

City and County of Swansea      Source: South Wales Evening Post

An indoor arena, aquarium, tower and hotels are planned as part of a £500 million transformation of Swansea city centre. Council leaders want the city to become a top leisure and shopping destination.  Read in full

‘Lack of control’ over payment of consultants at Flintshire Council

Flintshire County Council     Source: The Leader

A lack of control over the millions spent on external consultants could lead to “significant losses” of taxpayers’ money, a shock report claims. A damning internal audit of Flintshire Council’s spending on consultants in 2014-15 showed the authority could have spent as much as £2.8 million on their services, although misinterpretation and miscoding means it cannot be ascertained for certain how much was spent.  Read in full

£10m in golden handshakes for Northern Ireland's council officials

Mid and East Antrim District Council     Source: Belfast Telegraph

Council bosses who quit after a revamp of local government in Northern Ireland pocketed pay-offs of up to £350,000, it can be revealed. A total of 150 senior staff have been awarded more than £10m to date.  Read in full

Mid Ulster Council receives almost £700,000 lottery cash to showcase 'Heaney country'

Mid-Ulster District Council     Source: Mid-Ulster Mail

Heritage Lottery Fund has granted £688,700 to Mid Ulster District Council for a project to showcase the places, sights, sounds and traditional ways of life that Seamus Heaney celebrated in his poems.  Read in full

And finally…

Jeremy Corbyn tells Islington Council to keep the noise down

Islington Council     Source: Islington Gazette

Jeremy Corbyn has pressured Islington Council to stop a restaurant extending its licence. Seasons, on Stroud Green Road, has applied for a variation, so that its garden at the rear of the premises can be included in the licence. Islington North MP and Labour leader Mr Corbyn waded into the debate.  Read in full

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