Westfield school modernisation contract let

Westfield school

The York Council has awarded a contract to F.Parkinson to refurbish the kitchen and dining room, replace roof coverings and replace single glazed windows at Westfield primary school

The contract is valued at  £576,675.
The Council says that the decision was based on cost (60%) and quality (40%).
The tender exercise was carried out in conjunction with Commercial Procurement Consultation category. The opportunity was issued out via YorTender York Councils web portal. This scheme was approved at Cabinet Executive on 15/03/18.

Only 8 fines levied for dog fouling in York during last 3 years

The latest figures published on the Councils open data web site say that only 8 fixed penalty tickets have been issued for dog fouling since April 2015.

No penalty notices have been issued at all since June last year.

Similarly, no Community Protection Notices (see right) for dog fouling have been issued since 2015

The York Council receives around 2000 requests for action each year on cleansing issues which includes dog fouling. It no longer publishes the number of complaints it receives about full poop scoop bins but it used to be around 20 a month..

A contract was let in April for the replacement of ageing “poop scoop” bins in the City.

Several campaigns have been run to highlight the risks associated with dog fouling. These included, in some areas like Foxwood, displaying eye catching posters while in others local residents highlighted “poop” on footpaths with spray markers.

Whether the problem has got better, or worse over recent months is difficult to assess.

Issues can be traced back to 2012 when the, then Labour controlled, Council scrapped the “dog warden” service. At the same time, they reduced the number of litter and dog bins in the City.

Latest planning applications for the Westfield Ward

Below is the latest planning applications received by the York Council for the Westfield ward.

Full details can be found by clicking the application reference

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29 Askham Lane York YO24 3HB

Proposal              Single storey side and rear extension and conversion of garage into garden room.

Reference           18/00886/FUL

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Representations can be made in favour of, or in objection to, any application via the Planning on line web site.  http://planningaccess.york.gov.uk/online-applications/

  1. The Council now no longer routinely consults neighbours by letter when an application is received

What’s on in York: Poetry for the Newly Single 40 Something – A Poetry Reading and Writing Workshop

May _22 Maria Stephenson Poetry

York Explore Library :

Tue 22 May :

5.30pm – 7.45pm :

£5

Join author, poet and creative writing teacher Maria Stephenson for a poetry workshop where you can explore the benefits of cathartic writing.

Our poetry is often written for ourselves and will never see the light of day but sometimes, we realise that as well as helping ourselves, our words can move and inspire others.  This is the essence of Maria’s collection ‘Poetry for the Newly Single 40 Something’ (Stairwell Books) which chronicles the escape from an abusive marriage towards living again, also shining a light onto on-line dating experiences.  She will read from her collection and talk about the path to publication during the creative writing workshop included in the event.

Author’s Biography:

I am a creative writing teacher and a mother of two based in the lovely market town of Otley near Leeds.  Over the last few years, life has taken the wonderful turn of my being able to make a living as a writer and teacher of writing.  From a young age, my dream has been to write poems and stories that will help and move my readers and I’m delighted that this dream is becoming more and more of a reality.

My debut solo poetry collection has now come out and as well as working to promote it, I am also working on the final edit of my crime novel, ‘The Man Behind Closed Doors’ which was recently shortlisted for the international Luke Bitmead prize, in association with Legend Press,   I’m really looking forward to unleashing this on the world too.

If anyone was to ask me how it is possible to achieve success as a writer I would say, keep going, keep writing, keep believing in your voice.  Polish your work until it shines and never give up.  We can all achieve our dreams.

To book tickets please click here.

In a hole – continue digging

Secrecy culture alive and well at the York Council

“Decision” notice published by York Council yesterday

The latest, on the confidential report saga at the York Council, has been revealed.

Councillors are being asked to sign a “confidentiality agreement” before they will be allowed to see a report into last year’s, very public, fall out at the Audit and Governance Committee.

What happened at the meeting has been in the public arena from day one as a “webcast” allowed residents to view the meeting “on line”. The recording of the meeting is still available.

Relations between Council officials and some committee members broke down and subsequently an investigatory report was commissioned. A heavily redacted copy of that report was presented to an Audit meeting but not surprisingly Councillors said that they could not do their jobs without sight of the full report.  Subsequently Councillors agreed to discuss the report in private, but officials initially refused to release it in advance of their meeting.

Now it transpires that -with a shuffle in committee membership in the offing next week – those participating will only get “hard copy” and will have to sign a legally binding confidentiality agreement.

But how does this protect the interests of taxpayers? If the independent report – which cost several thousands of pounds to produce – is critical of processes or structures how can residents be confident that there will not be a repetition?

We look forward to hearing how Councillors intend to restore confidence in their stewardship?

In the meantime, several Freedom of Information requests have been lodged in an attempt to get the full report into the public domain.

 

But the York Council is not alone in seeking to cast a veil over accountability issues. Earlier last week, the Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire was expected to answer questions about the unexplained and hasty departure of the last Chief Constable from his post.

The overnight decision came without warning , leaving some doubt about whether the appropriate 3 months’ notice had been given (and if so when).

At a public “scrutiny” meeting , the PCC refused to answer questions on the topic before choosing to  eject the press and public and  go into a private session.

A similar “immediate retirement” occurred in 2011 when the then Deputy Chief Constable left the force. It was several years before the full picture behind the decision emerged.

Some officials don’t seem to realise that the reputation of an organisation is likely to be further damaged in the eyes of the public by secrecy – and the inevitable speculation that follows – rather than adopting a more open and frank approach from the outset.