Tuesday, 28 April 2009
(thanks to jamesholden.net/billboard)
Nottingham City Council is 'proposing' a new CCTV scheme in Forest Fields. They are planning three masts and it is being planned by NCC's Area 4 Neighbourhood Management team.
There was a recent 'consultation meeting', see the Indymedia report here by regular Indymedia contributor, journalist and photographer Alan 'Tash' Lodge. Amusingly, members of the Area 4 team objected to Alan photographing them. Alan reminded them they were they there hawking a CCTV scheme, yet objecting to being photographed themselves. Some people just walk into them don't they...
Further consultation is apparently planned on a 'by house' basis, somewhat ignoring the high level of multiple occupation in the area.
Note the start of a new Forest Fields blog, linked over there -->
More Indymedia coverage here.
Update; Forest Fields blog's own report here.
Sunday, 26 April 2009
Anyway back to benefits fraud. According to the response I got back via Cllr Trimble the last figure for yearly expenditure on benefits by NCC was £123m. Therefore this identified fraud equates to 0.24% of the budget. This really is a tiny amount.
I'm presuming here that NCC is being honest and reporting on cases which can genuinely be classed as fraud, as opposed to the usual highly misleading central government habit of reporting headline figures of 'fraud and error' which include accidental errors by both the claimant and officials. You don't have to a professional conspiracy theorist to work out why they do that and I'll happily acknowledge that its a step forward for NCC to take this more honest approach.
Even so it doesn't look very much does it? Recent national figures for Housing Benefit fraud seem thin on the ground and the most recent I could find were for 2004/5. You have to scroll through to p30 for the fraud figures to be separated out from the headline figure but for that year it was said to be 2.5% of expenditure. That's 10 times Nottingham's figure. This national figure had reduced from 4.1% 3 years earlier so a rough guestimate could be that, assuming that trend continued, its probably about half the 04/05 figure now. So, our roughly guestimated conclusion is that Nottingham's level of Housing Benefit fraud is about 20% of the national figure...
What's more, our little look at the NCC page on the 'What Do They Know' site threw up a response from NCC that they were not aware of any 'concerted or co-ordinated' attempts at Housing Benefit fraud. I'm not really getting a particularly strong impression of anybody 'closing in' here, more that committing benefit fraud in Nottingham is a bloody good idea because there's bugger all chance of getting caught.
NCC are also proudly telling us that, of the £300k identified, they have so far recovered £200k. Hmmm, I wonder how much they spend on fraud investigations? I wonder how much that 'closing in' advertising campaign has cost? I'm willing to bet that the cost of the two combined will equate to more than £200k.
On a more generous and less facetious note its difficult to win with fraud statistics. If you have low levels of recorded fraud does this mean there isn't any fraud to detect or that you haven't detected whats there? Maybe you've got robust procedures that make it difficult to commit fraud in the first place? I'm not sure its ever possible to know the answer to those questions.
However, that's not really the message given out by this publicity. It's more like they're saying "there's nowhere to hide, we're gonna get you", combined with a clear attempt to demonise those who 'take money away' from vital services.
My own view is that, on the information we have, NCC is unable to justify either of these messages. I'm no fan of benefit fraud but it's hardly the worst crime you can be guilty of and many individuals who do it wouldn't bother if it weren't for difficult personal circumtances. What's more my own experience of dealing with large numbers of people on benefits tells me that there is a very real effect of discouraging legitimate claims with these simplistic advertising campaigns. Furthermore, there is evidence that benefit take up is adversely affected by previous poor experience of claiming (such as wrongly being investigated for fraud perhaps?*).
Are such campaigns really the best use of our money?
*Note; according to the 'Post article, 406 people were investigated for fraud, of those 43 were convicted in court, 77 accepted formal cautions and 19 accepted an administrative penalty. So 139 people in total could be said to have been caught under these investigations, a hit rate of only 34%.
And that assumes that all those accepting a caution or an admin penalty actually committed fraud as opposed to simply being overpaid, there is a big difference.
Saturday, 25 April 2009
There was rather a lot on at the time, what with the budget and the associated celebrity visits, not to mention all the highly amusing 'culture' reports and the ongoing housing allocations fallout.
So here's a slightly delayed piss take.
Firstly, it does seem that NCC weren't quite so keen to trumpet the junket in these credit crunch times. Someone obviously realised that language like 'Yachtingham', apart from being an unfeasibly crap pun, would probably go down like the Titanic. How many of us would have liked to have seen the 'Powder Monkey' meet a simliar fate, taking 'Team Nottingham' with them?
Slightly bizarrely virtually all web presence of the 2008 event seems to have gone, probably to the same place as all NCC's email correspondence on the Icelandic Banks. The Report on the 'Invest in Nottingham' site doesn't so much as mention a yacht, although there is a nice picture of one as reminder. Its all very low key.
Here's a short extract from an interview with Morgan Tucker's managing director -
''I went out to MIPIM to target six key businesses and with the help of Team Nottingham I struck two important deals."
Hmm, now here's a short extract from what I wrote about last year's knees up -
"One businessman on the trip proudly boasted that 'two' new deals had 'come his way'... "
Erm, that's what we in the trade call a consistent, but not exactly relentless, work rate I feel.
Mr Tucker waffles on elsewhere on the site -
"In 2007 a relationship formed on the yacht between ourselves and South Derbyshire District Council led to the company's involvement in the design, masterplanning and imminent planning submission for a community led homes development..."
I can see how this sort of wheeler dealing could only be possible on a luxury yacht in the south of France, as opposed to a sweaty office in the south of Derbyshire. I wonder who paid for dinner?
Its another one provided by the 'My Society' lot who do lots of other democracy and public service sites, as you can see I link to their blog over there -->. They really are a very useful bunch of chaps and chapesses.
What this one does is enable you to make Freedom of Information requests to public bodies. It also helps you track your request and, amusingly publishes any response. This builds up into a handy database of FoIA statements for your favourite public bodies.
That being the case I would heartily recommend that you all use this site for all your FoIA requests so we can all share the info.
You can see where this is going can't you? Yeeeeeesssss, here's the Nottingham City Council page for your delectation.
Am gonna have a bit of a trawl through to see if there's anything interesting, post may be updated later.
Update; NCC have one request outstanding which is currently 45 days late, as well as one which is 222 days late!!!
They also claim to have lost all email correspondence regarding the Icelandic Banks crisis, and also not to have any information on MIPIM expenses for 2009 (ah we all forgot about that didn't we?). Yet. We DO get an indication of the expenses costs when NCC wallahs get to visit our twin city of Ningbo in China though.
We also learn that Jane Todd was earning over £184k pa when she was in her temporary secondment to NCC, prior to getting the permanent post and that NCC is not aware of any 'concerted or co-ordinated' attempts at Housing Benefit fraud. Maybe thats because they're 'closing in' and the fraudsters all got scared and ran away.
I like this site. It will be used for all future NCCLols FoIA requests.
Thursday, 23 April 2009
Now first of all class I'm going to set you some revision. Look back, not so much in anger but despair, at my previous musings on the Committee's consideration of this embarrassing episode. There may be a test later.
Finished? Right, lets get back to what the Executive Board said about it.
" RESOLVED that the content of the minute extract be noted.
Reasons for the above decisions:
To enable the Executive Board to be updated on the Standards Committee consideration of the Report of the District Auditor on aspects of the City Council’s allocation of housing properties between 2003 and 2005, to the Council’s acceptance of the District Auditors recommendations in their entirety and to actions for the Authority which were either in hand or already completed arising from the recommendations and to receive the Committee’s comments and observations on the matter."
Interesting because the Standards Committee's advice wasn't to accept the Audit Commission's recommendations in their entirety at all. In particular they rejected the recommendation to draw up a protocol requiring councillors to register potential conflicts of interest when advocating on behalf of constituents. However, prior to the this on 9 February the full Council did formally accept all the Audit Commission's recommendations on pages 5 and 6 of their report. Which said a protocol to -
"Ensure there are mechanisms in place that require councillors to register any potential conflicts of interest when seeking to advocate on behalf of local constituents."
Should be introduced.
I'm not sure where this leaves us. In theory the full Council decision holds sway but why then was the Standards Committee asked to look into it if it wasn't still up for grabs? My hunch is that it means that all the right noises on 'accepting recommendations' get into the papers while the awkward nuts and bolts of actually increasing councillors' accountability is kicked into the long grass.
It will probably come as no surprise to the campaigners that Option C was chosen. This was the option involving the demolition of the centre, apart from the historic clock tower, and the fewest leisure facilities. It was also the most expensive option but happily frees up a nice juicy big chunk of development land.
The minutes record that 'consideration' was given to a minute extract from the last meeting of the St Anns and Dales Area Committee meeting which had previously considered the various options in order to make a recommendation. Unfortunately we don't know what that recommendation was because the minutes of that meeting have yet to be made public.
Whatever the outcome of the Area Committee meeting, the Executive Board decided to go with the report of the Corporate Director of Community and Culture which, not only endorsed option C but had been written before the Area Committee had even had a chance to meet and the final options. I wonder how important they're feeling right now?
The Save the Victoria Baths Campaign have long been arguing that option C was not the one wanted by locals and had amassed quite a bit of evidence to back this up. Have a look at their website where they explain all that and make your own mind up about how much local opinion matters to the boys and girls in the Council House.
You may remember that I emailed a bunch of councillors about my continuing bonnet resident bee of Discretionary Housing Payments.
So far only two have replied, JoCo (who simply informed me he was passing it on to the relevant portfolio holder) and David Trimble, who obtained a response from the Housing Benefits service itself.
I was rather hoping for better. I suppose JoCo could claim to be a bit busy and, although DT didn't provide me with a personal response, he actually did the most out of the lot of them which is pretty good considering he's not my local councillor and I'd wrongly presumed that he was still the portfolio holder for the Housing Benefits service.
But three councillors didn't send me any reply at all and to be honest, I'd have thought that these three would be the ones who would have the greatest reason, or even obligation, to. They are;
Part of my plan was to write to the leaders of all three political groups on the Council. Cllr Price is the leader of the Conservatives.
I would have thought that it would have been the opposition's job to challenge the ruling party over issues of poor service. However Cllr Price doesn't seem interested. Yet in what can only be described as something approaching breathtaking cynicism, Price proposed an amendment to the budget at the Council meeting on 9 March asking for more welfare advisers for all areas by 2009. Since when have the bloody Tories been interested in 'welfare advisers'?
Update; have pulled my criticism of Cllr Long as I have recently heard from him and some significant personal issues have got in the way apparently. He tells me he'll come back to me in a couple of weeks.
This is the one that made me most cross. Cllr Arnold is one of the councillors for the ward in which I live. I'd always assumed that she would therefore have something approaching an obligation to respond to a constituent's concern. However, it appears that she doesn't give a shit. Its not clear whether she doesn't give a shit about the views of one of her constituents or whether she doesn't give a shit about the mismanagement of DHPs and the possibility that it has contributed to the considerable rise in evictions. Or maybe both. In my view, that makes her a shit councillor.
If you have a look at the councillors' profiles on the NCC website (links above) you will find this standard paragraph on (I think) all of them-
"As one of your Local Councillors it is my job to take account of your views. I need your feedback to help make informed democratic decisions about issues which affect everyone."
What a lovely thought. Its a pity that, in three case at least, its total bollocks.
Wednesday, 22 April 2009
The idea is that if you use a public service you can put a post up about your experience of it.
Might come in handy...
Saturday, 18 April 2009
Looks like all that hand wringing has gone out of the window now
If you can't read the text the middle bit says
"Benefit fraud is a crime and takes away vital money from our schools, hospitals, police and more..."
Errr, you sure about that? Yes of course it is a crime but has there ever been an incident where Chief Plod was told that he can't launch another pre-emptive raid on some protesters because Betty Higgins* of Bulwell has been doing a little cleaning job on the side? If so its tempting to say 'bring it on!'
You see the thing is that budgets for schools and hospitals, as well as the aforementioned plod, are all worked out without any reference to benefit expenditure, fraudulent or otherwise. 95% of benefit expenditure comes from central government and is entirely led by how much is claimed. There's no point reached where the pot runs dry and your benefit stops.
Its too easy a target I know but is it worth pointing out that throwing money away in dodgy Icelandic banks is likely to have a far greater effect on local budgets?
And benefit 'fraud' is often confused with 'error' in official stats, including errors by officials. There's also the amount of benefit underclaimed because benefits offices don't put much effort into promoting the benefits that are quite legally available. For example NCC has sucessfully saved central government about half a million quid in grants by keeping Discretionary Housing Payments effectively secret. Well done them.
But they're 'closing in'. They're coming to get you. WOOOOOOO!!!! FEAR!!!!!! You're probably already guilty of 'conspiracy' to commit benefit fraud in these days of pre-emptive strikes. Best not to bother claiming anything in the first place eh?
Update; now there's a news story on fraud prosecutions on the NCC website. Eve Posts churnalists have written up the press release more or less verbatim. Might be worth an article in itself, we'll see.
*I made this name up. I have no idea whether there really is a Betty Higgins in Bulwell or if she has a cleaning job, legitimate or not. If there is I can only apologise and hope I don't get you into any trouble.
Tuesday, 7 April 2009
By a stroke of luck they were up there before and I managed to download them onto my pda but for some reason I couldn't open them. I'm now in the internet cafe and have managed to have a look.
Those for 9 January seems pretty inconsequential so not sure why they've been taken down. However, the one for 23 February contains the following news -
"At the Emergency Meeting [18 February] it was agreed that the Vice Chair should resign or be excluded"
The Vice Chair was your and my favourite BNP activist and all round beardy chump Jason Cotterill-Attaway who we wrote about before.
I'm extremely pleased that NCH have taken this decisive action and I only hope that the reason for these minutes being taken off the site isn't any kind of legal shenanigins. BNP scum have no place on committees like this and in my view only join up to try and garner respectability and push their poisonous message where it has no place.
Thats good news. I said once before that wouldn't happen here often but I'll happily write up news like this til the cows come home.
Note; the minutes are now downloadable here.
I've done it in the usual manner, quote then comment. You've got the uninterrupted response itself a couple of posts down.
Here goes -
''The DWP allocation to Nottingham for 2008/2009 was £62,517 (Actual spend for year end not available at present). This represents 0.05% of the overall benefit expenditure of £123m. ''
Aha, now at the risk of being cynical, you see what they're doing here? Its not very much money so why worry seems to be the implication. Mind you if they had used the overall limit for spending which was £156,293, it looks a little more significant at 0.13%. Then again, if the grant aid and overall limit had increased in line with inflation each year instead of being reduced due to underspending that overall limit would have been £308,838 for 08/09, or equivalent to 0.25% of the overall benefit budget.
''...and whilst the benefit service in recent years has worked to inform and encourage application, the level of awards remains close to the allocated DWP grant...''
You see, it's weasel words like this that tend to annoy me more than anything because its just so damn dishonest. Reading this you'd assume that the actual expenditure on DHPs had always been close to grant aid levels. This could not be further from the truth.
The biggest reason why expenditure is only now somewhere near the level of grant aid received is mostly because GRANT AID HAS BEEN REDUCED YEAR ON YEAR due to underspend, not because more payments have been made.
''...and it is the intent for the HB service, with appropriate partners to build further on current activities to ensure that future grant provision is maximised and funding identified to achieve maximum spend against the Government spending levels.''
Oh that's a good idea, I wonder who thought of that?
''A system currently exists for monitoring DHP cases. However, this is a manual approach and is not particularly conducive to the extraction of meaningful management information.''
Really now? According to the FoIA response I got it can't even keep track of the number of applications. Still, we'll hopefully get to the bottom of this with the help of the Information Commissioner.
''A database is being developed that will capture refusal rates, reasons etc.''
Why wasn't this done 3 years ago when the twin problems of high refusal rates and underspends were first identified?
''It should be noted however, that the controls built into the administration of DHPs, is robust, follows DWP best practice and has checking measures built in with management sign off for each case.''
NCCLols translation service writes; ''Waffle waffle waffle waffle a team leader does a couple of checks waffle..'' Robust my arse.
''A working group has been established bringing together advice agencies; Housing professionals and Housing Benefit administrators who will be undertaking analysis of the current DHP awards, including demographics, household make-up and awards details. In addition, benchmarking with other LA's with a good track record of DHP take up are being approached to share their best practise and approach. This group will be using this information to identify targeted activity.''
This looks exciting I wonder when the first meeting will be? I shall so look forward to reading through the minutes following next year's FoIA request. Other than that, my first impression holds for this bit. Its all about 8 years too late.
''Discussions have already taken place to identify potential funding streams within the City Council, which may be available to ensure that DHP funds are targeted to households vulnerable to homelessness as a consequence of rent arrears. This approach is also intended to maximise spend against the DWP allocation and secure future years funding.''
Good, good but if nobody is claiming and those that do are being refused...
''In addition awareness has been raised with Nottingham City Homes, Registered Social Landlords and local Private Rented Landlord Forums and will continue to do so when refreshing take-up material and launching a new Take-Up campaign for 2009/10. This will focus on potential qualifying conditions, how to access and the claiming process.''
A new Take Up campaign in 2009/10! Wow, you heard it here first folks. We will of course be keeping a close eye on this one...
''The DHP administration follows the best practice as defined by the Department for Works and Pensions and decisions are reached based on the individual circumstances of each case. However, a complete refresh of publicity and guidance material is currently in progress. In addition, an operational review is planned to revisit the decision-making, standards of evidence and ongoing/additional support issues raised by the DHP claim. This review will be undertaken with direct input from the advice sector and housing professionals with the intent to deliver against the purpose of the Discretionary Housing Payments scheme; Which is to alleviate poverty, sustain tenancies, prevent homelessness, safeguard families and help customers through difficult times.''
Is this saying they will actually be writing local guidance? I'm not really sure, its difficult to get past the waffle. I think it is. We'll have to wait and see I suppose.
''Detailed below are steps already undertaken by the service to increase take up and ward (sic) of DHP''
I'm shan't be going through all this again. If you want to see mydiscussion on things they've already done I think I've covered it all in the post about the FoIA response on DHPs.
You've heard the phrase 'Jam Tomorrow'? Well this is more like 'Strawberries could happen ... somewhere ... some day ...'
Yes there are perfectly good ideas here. But it all seems a bit unformed and rushed, a bit like if somebody came to your desk and said -
''Cllr Trimble's on the line. He wants to know what we're doing about DHPs. I can hold him off for about 2 hours but if you can't knock something up by then we're rumbled.''
But we'll see. We'll keep an eye on the figures. If the government grant and overall limit don't drop next year (or even increase maybe?) then they will be able to legitimately claim the tide has been turned. I'm trying to be charitable here...
And of course we'll eventually get the Information Commissioner's findings on the whole sorry mess which may raise a few more questions. Note how vague they are up there in their description of their monitoring system...
However, I feel strongly that somebody should be held to account for the past 8 years of total inaction. Maybe they should look for somebody who refused to send out DHP leaflets with benefit decisions because it would be too expensive. Somebody who's been smarming their way around the NCC corridors of power, smug after every Audit Commission inspection result despite it all being based on smoke, mirrors and bullshit. Somebody in overall charge of the worst benefit calculation accuracy rates in the entire region while forgetting to provide statutory information to claimants about appeal rights.
Yes, somebody like that carrying the can would be a good idea...
Overall NCCLols rating; 1.42 cheers (3 being the maximum) with questionable prospects for improvement.
Sunday, 5 April 2009
Quite why they haven't got upset about the Executive Assistants being paid over £5,500 pa when the Independent Remuneration Committee recommends they should only get around £2,700 pa is beyond me.
As I pointed out in the above linked earlier post the IRC had reviewed the position and recommended again that the lower amount should be paid. This was to be discussed at the full council meeting on 9 March but of course nobody noticed because of the melee over the budget.
Anyway, it now seems that we have the minutes for this meeting so lets have a look what they decided?
"RESOLVED on the motion of Councillor Collins, seconded by Councillor Chapman, that:-
(1) the recommendations of the Independent Remuneration Panel, excepting recommendation 6, be adopted in full, and they be thanked for their work on the Scheme"
Recommendation 6 was the one saying that Executive Assistants shouldn't be paid so much. There were no reasons given for the rejection of this single recommendation.
Oh and by the way, Hassan Ahmed the new Portfolio Holder was previously one of the EAs. Looks like he's doing something right...
Saturday, 4 April 2009
''Nottingham City CouncilDiscretionary Housing Payments SchemeContext:
DHP's are an independent scheme administered by LA's which also administer HB and CTB. They are not a form of HB or CTB. DHPs are available to customers who are entitled to HB or CTB and appear to the authority to require some further financial assistance in order to meet their housing costs. As such each case is individual and treated on its own merits. DHP's can be used for such things as making up the shortfall in the eligible rent caused by a Rent Service restriction, making up for the effect of the 65% and 20% tapers used in the calculation of standard HB/CTB claims and for making up for the effect of non-dependant deductions.
The DWP sets an annual limit on each authority's DHP expenditure (overall limit) and partly reimburses this expenditure (Central Government Fund) through a system of grants separate from the HB/CTB arrangements. The DWP allocation to Nottingham for 2008/2009 was £62,517 (Actual spend for year end not available at present). This represents 0.05% of the overall benefit expenditure of £123m.
This said, the scheme is intended to reach the most vulnerable and support customers through periods of financial hardship and whilst the benefit service in recent years has worked to inform and encourage application, the level of awards remains close to the allocated DWP grant, and it is the intent for the HB service, with appropriate partners to build further on current activities to ensure that future grant provision is maximised and funding identified to achieve maximum
spend against the Government spending levels. Detailed below and aligned to the points raised by Mr *** are current and planned activities.
Response to specific points raised by Mr ***
a) commence ongoing monitoring of refusal rates of DHPs (assuming of course that isn't already happening, this question is currently before the Information Commissioner).
A system currently exists for monitoring DHP cases. However, this is a manual approach and is not particularly conducive to the extraction of meaningful management information. A database is being developed that will capture refusal rates, reasons etc. It should be noted however, that the controls built into the administration of DHPs, is robust, follows DWP best practice and has checking measures built in with management sign off for each case.
b) identify target groups of the most likely potential recipient groups of DHPs.
c) use this information to launch an ongoing take up strategy for DHPs.
A working group has been established bringing together advice agencies, Housing professionals and Housing Benefit administrators who will be undertaking analysis of the current DHP awards, including demographics, household make-up and awards details. In addition, benchmarking with other LA's with a good track record of DHP take up are being approached to share their best practise and approach. This group will be using this information to identify targeted activity.
d) start an investigation into the true levels of rent arrears and eviction rates and the potential of DHPs preventing such problems.
e) use this information to inform a decision as to whether further funds over and above the government grant should be allocated to pay for an increased take up.
Given the current economic climate, due regard will be made to the DWP funding allocation and the overall limit for Nottingham City Council, set by the Government. (NCC's 2009/10 allocation of Central Government funding is £59,645 with an overall limit of £149,113). Discussions have already taken place to identify potential funding streams within the City Council, which may be available to ensure that DHP funds are targeted to households vulnerable to homelessness as a consequence of rent arrears. This approach is also intended to maximise spend against the DWP allocation and secure future years funding. In addition awareness has been raised with Nottingham City Homes, Registered Social Landlords and local Private Rented Landlord Forums and will continue to do so when refreshing take-up material and launching a new Take-Up campaign for 2009/10. This will focus on potential qualifying conditions, how to access and the claiming process.
f) draw up local guidance for allocation of DHPs to inform rational and consistent decision making.
The DHP administration follows the best practice as defined by the Department for Works and Pensions and decisions are reached based on the individual circumstances of each case. However, a complete refresh of publicity and guidance material is currently in progress. In addition, an operational review is planned to revisit the decision-making, standards of evidence and ongoing/additional support issues raised by the DHP claim. This review will be undertaken with direct input from the advice sector and housing professionals with the intent to deliver against the purpose of the Discretionary Housing Payments scheme, which is to alleviate poverty, sustain tenancies, prevent homelessness, safeguard families and help customers through difficult times.
Detailed below are steps already undertaken by the service to increase take up and award of DHP;
A working group has been established with key partners from Benefits Service, Housing Aid, Welfare Rights, and the Advice Sector, to look at issues such as demographics, publicity material and marketing, best practice from other LA's. All staff within the Customer Services Directorate answering general face to face enquiries and telephone calls have been trained to understand DHP scheme and advise customers of their potential eligibility where appropriate. A standard DHP application pro-forma has been created to assist the customer in providing the information required by standardising the approach. Each claim is assessed using income and expenditure details supplied by the customer and taking into account the customers individual circumstances at the time.
In conjunction with local advice agencies and the voluntary sector, agreed on standards of evidence required for household expenditure and agreed an accepted level of expenditure for typical household compositions where evidence was not available or unsubstantiated. A small pool of staff has been created with responsibility for DHP assessments in order to standardise the approach and provide consistency in decision-making.
Decisions are checked and agreed by a Benefits Team Leader. In March 2008, the Department for Work and Pensions produced a Best Practice Guide to DHP's. The specific best practice cited is mirrored in NCC approach to DHP assessments.''
So, there you go. First impressions are that its a bit waffly and about 8 years too late but as I
say proper analysis next week.
This is the FINAL petition to try to stop Nottingham City Council from demolishing our beloved leisure centre! Please sign it ASAP if you have not done so already!
The Council will vote and make their final decision on the future of the leisure centre on Tuesday 7 April 2009 7pm in the Committee Room of the Council House. Please come along and make your view heard.
See the website for further details:
The campaign group are urging everyone to sign up to support option A which will keep the most of the original structure and provide the most facilities.
Personally I'm coming from a 'heritage' point of view because I believe that we have been too quick to bulldoze historical buildings and don't make nearly enough of the history we've got left. But of course there are the users of the centre who actually want their services to remain. A commenter on one of my previous posts pointed out that the Victoria Leisure Centre is one of the few places that offer badminton courts.
So have a look at the website and sign the petition. But do it quickly as the decision is being made at a Council meeting on April 7th.
I understand that this meeting is public so you may want to turn up in person...
Wednesday, 1 April 2009
Nottingham City Council seems to have taken a rather sudden interest in the blog during March. During February there were only there were only 13 visitors from your and my favourite local authority yet during March there were 71! And, as it happens, there have been 2 today so far.
So hello to all of you, hope you're having a nice day!
Unfortunately NCCLols has taken a knockback in that we were broken into and the pooter was stolen. As you can imagine, this has made it a bit tricky to do proper research, update regularly etc.
The current interim measure is posting via email. I had to go to to a public internet place (a NCC one tee hee ;-D ) to set it up hence the delay.
There won't be much more from me until new equipment arrives I'm afraid but in the meantime keep a look out for Cllr Grocock who has apparently dobbed himself in to the rottweiler like Standards Committee (NCCLols passim).
By the way, I've only had one response from any of the Councillors I wrote to. And that only applies if you include Cllr JoCo's PA telling me that my email has been passed to someone else...
Hey ho, will chase up another day.