CNM Week Ending Jan 29th

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

By: Council News Monitor Team
Published: Monday, February 1, 2016 - 11:56 GMT Jump to Comments

Sheffield, Warrington and Doncaster announce cuts, Lincolnshire is held to data ransom, fight begins for West Midland's mayor while Stratford votes to join combined authority, Cornwall wants policing powers, Swansea says "no" to fracking while Havering says "no" to EU membership, and Newcastle faces a 20% council tax hike.

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Newcastle, Sunderland, Warrington, St Helens, Sheffield, Doncaster, Lincolnshire, Nottingham, West Midlands, Stratford, Bedfordshire, Essex, Reading, West Sussex, Cornwall, Somerset, Wandsworth, Hounslow, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Wrexham, Swansea, Derry & Strabane, Fermanagh & Omagh and finally Havering.

Newcastle residents warned of a 20% council tax rise due to increased cuts

Newcastle City Council     Source: Chronicle Live

Tax increases, shopping and flood defences were among the items on the agenda at Newcastle City Council’s cabinet. Councillors approved moves to invest in flood defences and improve education and training for young people as well as debating the impact of government cutbacks. Read in full

'Golden goodbye' row: Sunderland Council leader refuses to reveal pay-off sum for £242,000-a-year chief executive

Sunderland City Council     Source: Sunderland Echo

Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson has refused to answer questions over the pay-off given to the authority’s former chief executive Dave Smith. Dr Smith, who commanded an annual salary (including pension contributions) of £242,768, resigned in August, shortly after a damning Ofsted report revealed catastrophic failings within the council’s children’s services department.  Read in full

Warrington Borough Council to lose 120 jobs in £21m cuts plan

Warrington Borough Council     Source: BBC News

Warrington Borough Council is to lose 120 jobs as the authority announces plans to save £21.4m and raise council tax by 3.98%. Cuts to disability support, bus subsidies and funding for school lollipop patrols are planned, as well as the closure of a children's centre.  Read in full

Martin Reeves, CEO of Coventry City Council, to make keynote at Better Connected Live

Better Connected Live 24 & 25 May in central Birmingham. Martin Reeves will give one of the keynote presentations. Martin is CEO of Coventry City Council, the Digital Lead for Solace, the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and the Honorary President of LARIA, the Local Authorities Research and Intelligence Association.

Council suspended employees for social media misuse

St Helens Council     Source: St Helens Reporter

Seven council employees were suspended in one year for misusing social media, new figures have revealed. St Helens Council suspended more of its employees between April 2014 and March 2015 than any other authority, according to a Freedom of Information request made by BBC Radio 5 live.  Read in full

Sheffield City Council plans 400 job cuts and council tax rise

Sheffield City Council     Source: BBC News

Sheffield City Council could cut 400 jobs and raise council tax in an attempt to cut £50m from its budget. A 1.99% council tax rise would protect essential services after it had made £350m of savings in five years by the end of 2016-17, the council said.  Read in full

Doncaster Mayor confirms four per cent council tax rise as £31million cuts budget is announced

Doncaster Council     Source: Thorne and District Gazette

Mayor of Doncaster Ros Jones confirmed that residents are set to see their council tax bills rise by nearly four per cent this year, as the cash-strapped council released its latest budget cuts of £31million. The council tax rise of 3.95 per cent for the 2016/17 financial year will come into force in April.  Read in full

Better Connected online is now rolling out the results of the ongoing 2015/2016 surveys.

All council types now have at least one set of 2015/2016 survey data. How is your council doing? Not sure? Is your council even registered with Socitm Insight? Check here

Systems lockdown continues at Lincolnshire council after 'ransomware' holds data for £1m

Lincolnshire County Council     Source: The Lincolnite

IT systems at Lincolnshire County Council remain shut down for a fourth day after data was accessed by a malicious malware attack which demanded £1 million. The attack, which began in the afternoon of January 26 and was delivered to a number of council staff in the form of an email, reportedly held the majority of the council’s data stores at ransom.  Read in full

Extra charges for park and ride and street lights dimmer: How council cuts will affect you

Nottingham City Council     Source: Nottingham Post

We have no choice, budget cuts are coming. But Nottingham City Council wants you to tell it what you think of its proposals to save cash. The "age of austerity" is still in full swing and it is resulting in cuts across the board for local services.  Read in full

Battle begins to become first ever mayor of the West Midlands

West Midlands Combined Authority     Source: Birmingham Mail

The early stages in the battle to become the first directly-elected mayor of the West Midlands have begun after Labour drew up plans for selecting a candidate. Labour’s National Executive Committee decided this week that the party would pick a candidate in July this year through a ballot of members.  Read in full

Socitm’s Better Connected Live will introduce the Better Connected Awards and the Public Service Digital Awards.

No rubber chickens served! The awards party, 5.00-7.30 (evening of Tuesday 24th May), will be catered by a posse of Birmingham’s famous pop-up restaurateurs.

Stratford U-turns to join combined authority

Stratford-on-Avon District Council     Source: Stratford Herald

Stratford-on-Avon District Council has performed a U-turn and agreed to join the West Midlands Combined Authority. Councillors voted by 22 to 11 at a meeting to accept the offer of being a non-constituent member.  Read in full

Council tax could go up by four per cent across Bedfordshire this year

Central Bedfordshire Council     Source: Bedfordshire On Sunday

Council tax could rise by as much as four per cent in Bedfordshire if plans are given the go-ahead next month. Central Bedfordshire Council is proposing to increase the amount residents pay on their tax across the area by just under two per cent, for the first time in five years, effective as of April 1.  Read in full

Essex County Council back new Thames crossing plans

Essex County Council     Source: Echo

Essex County Council has backed the plans for a new Thames crossing after the Government revealed its preferred route on Tuesday. Highways England announced the Lower Thames Crossing plans, linking Tilbury with Gravesend in Kent, as its preferred option - known as Option C.   Read in full

Renationalise the railways says Reading Borough Council

Reading Borough Council     Source: getreading

The trials of commuting from Reading to Paddington and paying some of the highest fares in Europe were highlighted at Reading Borough Council this week. Councillors were debating the renationalisation of the railway system prompted by a motion by Green councillor Josh Williams on Tuesday, January 26 at the full council meeting.  Read in full

Balfour Beatty wins £55m West Sussex highways extension

West Sussex County Council     Source: Construction Enquirer

Balfour Beatty Living Places has been awarded a £55m, two-year extension by West Sussex County Council to continue its highways maintenance and improvement scheme works. The contract includes highways improvements such as resurfacing and carriageway reconstruction, highways maintenance including defect repair, grass cutting and reactive emergency response.  Read in full

Cornwall Council demands policing powers

Cornwall Council     Source: Western Morning News

Cornwall should have its own "Kernow Kops" police force as part of any devolution deal, the county's leaders say. A full meeting of Cornwall Council voted this week to oppose proposals to set up a joint control centre for the blue light services.  Read in full

Devolution plans promise 163,000 new jobs and better transport for South West

Somerset County Council     Source: Western Gazette

"Ground-breaking" devolution plans could provide 163,000 new jobs, higher wages and better transport links for the South West. Somerset County Council welcomed a new plan, which was agreed by 23 local partners including all five district councils in Somerset and the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership.  Read in full

Wandsworth Council prepares to spend £100m in three years on housing projects

Wandsworth Council     Source: Wandsworth Guardian

"The largest injection in recent memory" into council housing has been approved, meaning tenants can expect £90m worth of improvement works over the next three years. Council leader Ravi Govindia said he was "delighted" to allocate the money to the council's housing stock.  Read in full

Council tax freeze proposed in Hounslow for 2016/17

London Borough of Hounslow     Source: getwestlondon

Hounslow Council's share of the council tax is set to be frozen again, under plans announced by the ruling Labour group. The government had given local authorities the leeway to increase council tax by up to 2% for 2016/17 to cover the cost of providing adult social care.  Read in full

North east to receive £504m boost from UK and Scottish governments

Aberdeen City Council     Source: STV News

The north east of Scotland is set to receive a £504m funding boost over the next decade. The UK and Scottish governments have each pledged £125m as part of the Aberdeen City Region Deal. The Scottish Government has separately promised another £254m for housing, roads and railways.  Read in full

'Dictator' John Swinney slammed over council tax sanctions

Glasgow City Council     Source: The Scotsman

The leader of Scotland’s largest council has accused Finance Secretary John Swinney of running a dictatorship by threatening “the most punitive sanctions in local government history”. Frank McAveety, leader of Glasgow City Council, accused Mr Swinney of trying to force local authorities to sign up to a new package of demands, including the council tax freeze, or lose tens of millions of pounds.  Read in full

Councillor blasts Wrexham neighbours in meeting over plans to merge

Wrexham County Borough Council     Source: The Leader

Wrexham has come under intense fire from a Flintshire councillor who opposes the idea of North East Wales’ councils joining forces. While the leadership of Flintshire Council is not against the principle of local government reorganisation, opposition councillors have hit out at the prospect of a merger with Wrexham.  Read in full

Swansea Council votes to stand against the process known as fracking

City and County of Swansea      Source: South Wales Evening Post

Swansea council has drawn a line in the sand signalling its opposition to the process commonly known as fracking. Councillors voted unanimously yesterday evening to pass a motion that signals its opposition to unconventional gas development in Swansea.  Read in full

Derry Council calls on Irish government to protect 1916 buildings

Derry and Strabane District Council     Source: Derry Journal

Derry & Strabane Council tonight called on the Irish Culture Minister to ensure that a group of historic buildings relating to the 1916 Easter Rebellion are “fully protected” ahead of the centenary commemorations.  Read in full

'No information was compromised' by hackers on Council site

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council     Source: Impartial Reporter

'No information was compromised' by AnonCoders who hacked Fermanagh and Omagh  Read in full

And finally…

First council in England votes to leave the EU

London Borough of Havering     Source: The Telegraph

A London council has become the first publicly-elected body in Britain to vote to leave the European Union. Havering Council voted by 30 to 15 in favour of a motion declaring the UK would be better off outside the EU on Wednesday following a lengthy debate.  Read in full

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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 out what comes after "channel shift" and take your place in the vanguard of local government administration put the dates in your diary now.

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