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Joe Tibbetts is the publisher and managing editor of I-D Information Daily; Public Service Digital and Healthcare Innovation Monitor. He has advised numerous public sector organisations on their communications.

@joe_tibbetts

Council news from Liverpool, Stockport, Leeds, Birmingham, Nottingham, Powys, Stoke, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Camden, Belfast and many more...

SOLACE digital lead calls time on local government digital shortcomings; Liverpool wants 2026 Commonwealth Games; Hull to pay £100,000 for rubbish consultants; Birmingham to ban chuggers; Welsh Labour leader rules out single council for north Wales; Belfast may get devolved powers from NI government; Plymouth writes letter to a bus stop

SOLACE digital lead calls time on local government digital shortcomings

West Midlands Combined Authority     Souce: Public Service Digital
 
Martin Reeves CEO Coventry City Council, SOLACE digital lead and recently appointed CEO of the West Midlands Combined Authority goes Head to Head with Joe Tibbetts in video interview on the shortcomings and modest successes of UK local authority attempts to maximise cost and service quality benfits from the digital opportunity

Whitley Bay's new-look Spanish City dome described as a 'people's palace'

North Tyneside Council     Source: Chronicle Live

The planned full restoration of a listed seaside landmark has been given the stamp of approval by a “delighted” Historic England. The organisation says that the scheme would return the Spanish City Dome at Whitley Bay to its original status as a “people’s palace”.  Read in full

Council’s legal bill to block fertility services closure

Hartlepool Borough Council     Source: Hartlepool Borough Council press release

Hartlepool Council has expressed its frustration that it has been criticised for spending money to halt the closure of town’s licensed fertility services by the local hospital trust. The Council incurred £12,205 in legal costs to prevent the planned closure at the town’s Holdforth Road hospital at the end of March 2016.   Read in full

Liverpool set to bid to host 2026 Commonwealth Games

Liverpool City Council     Source: Liverpool Echo

The plans are revealed in a letter from Mayor Joe Anderson to Culture Secretary John Whittingdale. Mayor Anderson – who is seeking re-election in next month’s local elections – said the move could ‘be a catalyst for regeneration’ across the city region if successful.  Read in full

Stockport council use loan to buy Merseyway as part of a £900m regeneration scheme

Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council     Source: Manchester Evening News

Stockport council have purchased a main shopping complex in the town as part of a £900m regeneration scheme. The Merseyway, which has spent the last seven years in receivership, was bought for an undisclosed and ‘commercially sensitive’ price.  Read in full

£100,000 plan to solve Hull City Council's blue bins 'wrong sort of rubbish' problem

Hull City Council     Source: Hull Daily Mail

Hull City Council is set to spend up to £100,000 on experts to help solve the problem of people putting the wrong rubbish in their blue bins. Nappies, plastic bags and food waste being dumped in blue bins meant for recyclable items are currently costing the cash-strapped council about £50,000 a month in extra waste processing disposal charges.  Read in full

The city that allows women to sell sex

Leeds City Council     Source: BBC News

A suburb in Leeds is the first place in the UK where it is permitted for women to sell sex between specified hours. The "managed approach" was introduced to try to control the trade.  Read in full

Serco to keep Lincolnshire school finance contract despite criticism from teachers’ union

Lincolnshire County Council     Source: The Lincolnite

The company managing school finances on behalf of Lincolnshire County Council has apologised for a host of blunders but insists it is “fully committed to putting things right”. Global outsourcing company Serco signed a £70 million five-year contract with the county council to deliver back office functions in March 2014.  Read in full

Demonising Nottingham anti-begging posters reworded

Nottingham City Council     Source: BBC News

A series of anti-begging posters criticised for "demonising" homeless people have been reworded. Nottingham City Council came under fire for the original adverts, which warned shoppers money given to beggars would "go up in smoke".  Read in full

Dozens of chuggers to be banned from streets of Birmingham

Birmingham City Council     Source: Birmingham Mail

The number of charity fundraisers on the high streets of Birmingham could be cut by dozens under a new deal. The 70 per cent cut is the latest attempt to cut the nuisance of "chuggers" – which derives from charity muggers – approaching people outside shops, rail stations and other public places in Birmingham city centre.   Read in full

I never thought I'd last two years as head of comms for Stoke-on-Trent council

Stoke-on-Trent City Council     Source: The Guardian

Two years ago I started a new role at Stoke-on-Trent city council as head of communications. If I’m honest, I never thought I would make that two-year milestone, writes Emma Rodgers.  Read in full

Talks on 'flawed' plans for directly-elected mayor continue

Norfolk County Council     Source: BBC News

Councillors have voted for negotiations to continue over plans for three counties in East Anglia to have an elected mayor with devolved powers. But George Nobbs, Labour leader of Norfolk County Council, leading the campaign, has admitted that the proposals are "flawed".  Read in full

Luton councillor resigns after anti-Semitic posts made on her personal Twitter account

Luton Borough Council     Source: Bedfordshire on Sunday

A councillor has resigned from Luton Borough Council after anti-Semitic tweets were posted on her Twitter account. Posts uncovered by the Campaign Against Antisemitism uncovered tweets on the councillor's personal Twitter account claiming that Adolf Hitler was the 'greatest man in history'.  Read in full

BETTER CONNECTED LIVE

A new, two day, event in central Birmingham 24 & 25 May 2016. Better Connected Live - reinventing public services - 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.

Wokingham council spends nearly £4 million on agency staff

Wokingham Borough Council     Source: getreading

Wokingham council spent £3.8 million on agency staff in a year but insists the contractors are only hired when "it is absolutely necessary". A Freedom of Information request revealed that 9.6 per cent of Wokingham Borough Council's overall staffing budget (£39,611,093) was spent on the agency temps in 2014/15.  Read in full

Oxfordshire's HIV support service saved from closure

Oxfordshire County Council     Source: BBC News

An HIV support service in Oxfordshire which faced closure after its funding was withdrawn has had a reprieve. The county council and local clinical commissioning group (CCG) had considered cutting funding for service, which has been provided by the Terrence Higgins Trust for the past 16 years.  Read in full

Plymouth council loses out on £635,000 in a year as city drivers learn how to avoid bus lane fines

Plymouth City Council     Source: The Herald

The council's budget has been slashed by more than £600,000 in just two years - because Plymouth motorists are no longer being fined for traffic offences. Plymouth City Council raked in more than £1million in bus lane fines in 2014, nearly three times the £365,000 that drivers were forced to pay this year.  Read in full

Parkrun to contest Stoke Gifford Parish Council's decision to charge them for use of park

South Gloucestershire Council     Source: Bristol Post

Parkrun has said they will be trying to do everything they can to make sure they stay in Little Stoke. Stoke Gifford Parish Council voted in favour of imposing a charge on parkrun, which runs a volunteer running group in Little Stoke park, owned by South Gloucestershire Council. Despite months of campaigning, the councillors said they would need to pay for the maintenance of the park.  Read in full

Harrow Council spends over £6m on ‘interims and consultants’ despite major cuts to libraries last year

Harrow Council     Source: getwestlondon

Harrow Council has been criticised for spending over £6.4 million on consultants and interim staff last year. According to data obtained by the opposition Conservative Group, the data for financial year 2015-16 shows that the Labour-run authority spent the large amount of money on consultants despite making severe cuts.   Read in full

HS2: 'Not fair' Camden residents are denied compensation

Camden Council     Source: BBC News

Camden Council is petitioning the House of Lords calling for more compensation for residents living on the planned HS2 rail route. People in rural areas living between 120m and 300m of the high-speed line can claim up to £22,500. But the leader of the council said this was not available in London, despite Camden residents facing disruption until 2033.  Read in full

 

SOLACE digital lead calls time on local government digital shortcomings

West Midlands Combined Authority     Souce: Public Service Digital
 
Martin Reeves CEO Coventry City Council, SOLACE digital lead and recently appointed CEO of the West Midlands Combined Authority goes Head to Head with Joe Tibbetts in video interview on the shortcomings and modest successes of UK local authority attempts to maximise cost and service quality benfits from the digital opportunity

Flawed schools cost capital £100m too much, says PFI expert

The City of Edinburgh Council     Source: Edinburgh Evening News

When Storm Gertrude whipped across Britain at the end of January it blew the wall off an Edinburgh school and the lid off Scotland’s PFI scandal. The high winds which damaged Oxgangs Primary at the start of the year led to structural concerns about the building and ultimately uncovered structural flaws in 17 city schools, which have had to close for safety reasons – creating chaos for thousands of children and their parents.  Read in full

Perth and Kinross Council fail to explain £7m link with Halcrow Group

Perth & Kinross Council     Source: Daily Record

Perth and Kinross Council has failed to explain how it spent over £7m with the company now responsible for completing the detailed design of the controversial A9/A85 junction upgrade and new link road to Bertha Park. In an exclusive investigation the PA has worked out that PKC spent £7,197,123 with civil engineers Halcrow Group between 2009 and 2014, during which time paperwork on contract agreements appears to show the council was only supposed to spend around £2m with the company.  Read in full

Welsh Labour leader rules out single north Wales authority

Wrexham County Borough Council     Source: Wrexham.com

The Leader of the Welsh Labour Party has rubbished claims that authority mergers could create a single North Wales super council – with Wrexham Council Leader Mark Pritchard ‘delighted’ at what he calls a policy ‘u-turn’. A row broke out after Council Leader Mark Pritchard made remarks at a meeting declaring Labour AMs had supported a single authority to run the entire of North Wales.  Read in full

Some libraries could close, council warns

Powys County Council     Source: The Brecon & Radnor Express

Powys council wants to hear the public’s view on 11 of its smallest libraries - and warned some could close. The council’s library service must find a quarter of a million pounds by April 2019 towards the authority’s overall £27m savings target.  Read in full

Stormont could devolve powers for jobs and transport to Belfast City Council

Belfast City Council     Source: Belfast Telegraph

Powers over transport and employment programmes could be handed down from Stormont to Belfast City Council under new proposals which have been revealed. The council commissioned think tank ResPublica to produce a preliminary report into areas which could be devolved.  Read in full

Townhall row over chairman’s presence at Easter rally

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council     Source: Fermanagh Herald

The Chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council has been accused of “damaging community relations” by wearing his chain of office to an Easter Rising event last month. Sinn Fein councillor Thomas O’Reilly has been under fire for wearing the chain to the 1916 commemoration in Arney on Easter Sunday, an event organised by his own party.  Read in full

And finally…

Bungling council writes a letter to a bus stop

Plymouth City Council     Source: Herald Express

A bungling council has sent a letter telling businesses how to reduce their waste - to one of their own BUS STOPS. The daft delivery was handed to a nearby business by a dismayed postman who found nowhere to leave it at the bus stop.   Read in full

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