Council News Monitor is curated content pulled together each week by an automated content aggregation programme developed in-house by Boilerhouse Online Publications


Herefordshire to get £9.5m roads refund from Amey

Also: Newcastle announce new £30m cuts; Sheffield bin workers strike over pay; Greater Lincolnshire devolution deal could collapse; Bristol's debt to exceed £32m; Brent leader cleared of hiding councillor's death; Powys to take back running of care homes from Bupa

Lollipop ladies, carers and bin collections - latest casualties of Newcastle City Council cuts

Newcastle City Council     Source: Chronicle Live

Lollipop ladies, carers, and bin collections could be decimated as Newcastle City Council looks set to make a further £30m in cuts. In a three-year plan, entitled “investing in a fairer future”, the council has set out how it will make savings of £30m next year and an eye-watering £70m by 2020.  Read in full

We have no choice says Durham County Council as teaching assistants fight on in dispute

Durham County Council     Source: Northern Echo

Council chiefs say they have no choice but to pursue controversial changes to teaching assistant contracts after they were accused of a divide and rule approach. A letter sent by Durham County Council to headteachers said teaching assistants who were members of the GMB would get a two-year compensatory payment for agreeing to change to term-time only pay.   Read in full

Care apps providers invited to upload information to new online showcase

ADASS     Source: Public Service Digital

ADASS allocates 150 seats at care apps showcase for senior care managers. Developers and owners of care ‘apps’ – digital tools typically accessed via a mobile device – are being invited to upload information about their products to a new online showcase aimed at social care users and commissioners. Read in full

Council moves to buy land for Great Howard Street dual carriageway plan

Liverpool City Council     Source: Liverpool Echo

Landowners along a busy road into Liverpool city centre have been warned their properties could face compulsory purchase in a £22m road widening scheme. The A565 Great Howard Street and Derby Road is being redeveloped to improve access to the city centre and as part of a wider regeneration plan for the area, including improving the nearby Dock Road.  Read in full

Manchester City Council seeks contractors for £200m civil engineering framework

Manchester City Council     Source: Building Design & Construction

Manchester City Council is looking for contractors for a £200 million civil engineering framework that will be used across all the boroughs of Greater Manchester. The framework is due to run for two years with the option of a further two, and will be for schemes across the 10 boroughs and will mainly involve highways works.   Read in full

Sheffield bin workers walk out in 24-hour strike action over pay

Sheffield City Council     Source: BBC News

Refuse workers in Sheffield walked out in a 24-hour industrial action in a row over pay. The GMB union said its members wanted a 2% pay rise this year but the employer was only offering 1.5% over two years.  Read in full

Kirklees Council leader reveals the cuts are far from over

Kirklees Council     Source: Huddersfield Daily Examiner

More cuts are looming as multi-million pound black holes open up in Kirklees Council’s finances. The council could be as much as £65m in the red by 2021, it has been revealed – twice as bad as calculated this time last year.  Read in full

Devolution deal to create Greater Lincolnshire could collapse

Lincolnshire County Council     Source: Grimsby Telegraph

Greater Lincolnshire's £450 million devolution prize could be under threat after the Government warned council leaders: "It's all or nothing." The Department for Communities and Local Government had previously indicated to MPs and council leaders that the deal could still go ahead even if one of the ten councils opted out of creating a 'super authority' to take control of housing, flood defences, transport and job training among other things.  Read in full

Leicestershire County Council plans £25m investment scheme to help save cash

Leicestershire County Council     Source: Leicester Mercury

County council bosses are to spend £25 million on projects they say will help save cash in the long run. Conservative-run Leicestershire County Council said it has money available as a result of under-spending in a number of departments and that investing the cash will help it increase income while reducing annual running costs.  Read in full

High Court orders Amey to return £9.5m to council

Herefordshire Council     Source: Construction Enquirer

Amey has been told to repay £9.5m received in over payments on road contracts over 10 years to Herefordshire District Council. The long-running legal dispute arose over inflation price adjustments for work rates on highways work during the term of the contract, which ended in August 2013.  Read in full

Telford council wants to borrow £30 million in bid to bring business to town

Telford & Wrekin Council     Source: Shropshire Star

Up to £30 million could be borrowed by council chiefs to spend on attracting more businesses to Telford, it has been revealed. Telford & Wrekin Council wants to borrow the money to spend on land and property and to build bespoke premises for businesses.  Read in full

Digital Bedford library proposals a 'big risk' to vulnerable users

Bedford Borough Council     Source: Bedfordshire on Sunday

Residents have reacted with fury to council proposals for a 'digital library service' that could lead to reduced opening hours and 'leave vulnerable users at risk'. Hundreds have signed a 'Save Kempston Library' petition, launched by Kempston community centre Project 229, following Bedford Borough Council's announcement that although it will not be closing any libraries, it is considering a new service model which could drastically change access to services.  Read in full

New fraud squad collar close to half a million in Thurrock

Thurrock Council     Source: Your Thurrock

Thurrock councillors have heard how officers are ensuring crime does not pay through an extension of anti-fraud services across Essex. In a report presented to a full council, details of how Thurrock Council is sharing its successful approach with neighbours were outlined.  Read in full

Solent devolution and mayor plans backed by consultation respondents

Southampton City Council     Source: BBC News

A council-run consultation has showed 58% of respondents support the idea of an elected major for the Solent region. The Solent Deal proposes creating a combined authority above the unitary councils of Southampton, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight councils.  Read in full

Surrey County Council spent £67m to buy 'assets for investment purposes' outside of county

Surrey County Council     Source: getsurrey

Surrey County Council has spent almost £67 million buying properties outside the county since last November. Using the council-owned property company Halsey Garton Property Limited (HGP), the county council has mainly acquired warehouses in Wiltshire, Bristol, Worksop and Salford.  Read in full

Bristol City Council in 'serious financial position' as debt soars to more than £32million this year

Bristol City Council     Source: Bristol Post

Annual debt is spiralling in Bristol as the city council announces it will be more than £32million in the red at the end of the year. Bristol City Council's cabinet will hear the council is in a "serious financial position" as forecasted debt has increased by £3.7million since the last report in June.  Read in full

Devon County Council recruit public volunteers to fill potholes

Devon County Council     Source: Express & Echo

Cash-strapped Devon County Council is recruiting and training members of the public to fix potholes it cannot afford to mend itself. The council wants to create an army of volunteers in the 'Community Road Wardens' initiative, which is believed to be the first of its kind in the country.  Read in full

Leader of Brent Council cleared of ‘hiding death of councillor to stall by-electon’

Brent Council     Source: Kilburn Times

The leader of Brent Council has been cleared of claims he covered-up the death of a councillor to stall a by-election following an independent investigation. The probe, led by independent investigator Richard Penn, looked into the allegation that Cllr Muhammed Butt purposely hid the news that Cllr Tayo Oladapo had died until an announcement was made in March.   Read in full

Bexley Council backs out of joint library privatisation plans with Bromley

London Borough of Bexley     Source: This is Local London

Bromley Council is struggling to realise plans to privatise its libraries after suffering a “double blow” to plans, losing their partnership with Bexley Council and their preferred contractor. Bexley Council pulled out of their joint plans, announcing that they are scrapping privatisation plans and planning instead to “take the library forward through continued in-house management”.  Read in full

Probe reveals £4m contracts blunder at West Dunbartonshire Council

West Dunbartonshire Council     Source: Daily Record

An internal probe has uncovered a £4million contracts blunder at West Dunbartonshire Council. Council auditors found — according to a draft report seen by the Lennox Herald — that the local authority has broken its own rules by paying firms for work without formal contracts being in place.  Read in full

Strike ballot as council moves ahead with privatisation plans

Glasgow City Council     Source: Herald Scotland

Schools, payrolls and social work operations are facing widespread disruption as hundreds of workers are balloted for strike action over plans to privatise IT at Scotland’s largest council. Unions claim plans to hand over the running of all Glasgow City Council IT work to the Canadian multi-national implicated in the Obamacare crisis and the Scottish farmers’ subsidies fiasco would damage the service and lead to job losses.   Read in full

Powys County Council to take back running of care homes

Powys County Council     Source: County Times

The 12 residential care homes owned by Powys County Council will be run by a local authority trading company from May 2017. Council-owned residential care homes have been run by Bupa Care Ltd for the past 15 years.  Read in full

1,600 packs delivered to Swansea students to help them understand how rubbish collections work

City and County of Swansea      Source: South Wales Evening Post

Students living in Swansea have been given recycling kits to help them understand how rubbish and recycling collections work in the city. Recycling officers at Swansea Council have delivered more than 1,600 student packs to houses in multiple occupation.  Read in full

Two year ‘stay of execution’ for Enniskillen Jobs and Benefits staff

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council     Source: Impartial Reporter

Forty staff at Enniskillen Jobs and Benefits Office have been given “a two year stay of execution” following a meeting between Fermanagh and Omagh District Council (FODC) and the Department for Communities Deputy Secretary for Working Age, Tommy O’Reilly. However, Omagh Jobs and Benefits office looks set to close in the future.  Read in full

Belfast council funds doling out £31m to community projects 'inadequate'

Belfast City Council     Source: Belfast Telegraph

Two Belfast City Council funds which are allocating £31m of ratepayers' money are so inadequate that they are unfit for purpose, a councillor has said. Alliance council group leader, Michael Long, said he was "astounded" to discover the process involved in allocating huge sums of money to community projects across the city.  Read in full

And finally…

Wirral Council to introduce 'flag flying protocol'

Wirral Council     Source: Liverpool Echo

Councillors in Wirral are set to make one of their more unusual decisions – when and how to fly flags. The authority is set to approve a formal protocol for when the Union flag should be flown, plus when – and even how – it should be lowered to half mast.  Read in full

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