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Safeguarding Week 2018 in York

From the 25 to the 29 June, York will be promoting Safeguarding Week 2018, organised by the  Safeguarding Adults Board and Local Safeguarding Children’s Board in collaboration with a variety of local organisations. This is an opportunity to raise awareness and share in a city wide conversation about the work of safeguarding partnerships across the region and the prevention of dangers concerning vulnerable individuals in the 21st century.

This year the Safeguarding Adults Board. and City of York Council have chosen to focus awareness on financial abuse. Over the course of the week, there  will be a variety of opportunities to learn about available support and preventative measures you can take  at events across the city and via our social media channels.

Cllr Carol Runciman, Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Health said:
“It is so important for all of us to educate ourselves as to the risks of financial scams and the realities of financial abuse. Safeguarding Week is an opportunity to inform our residents of how to protect themselves and their loved ones from the devastating effects of this kind of abuse and to safeguard the most vulnerable in our communities.”

Financial abuse can show itself in a multitude of ways; from financial control within a relationship, to the targeting of vulnerable individuals from organised crime groups in the form of financial scams. It is important to stay informed and educated in order to notice when something doesn’t look quite right.

The month of June also marks Scam Awareness month, an annual opportunity to both raise public awareness and stand against crimes and predatory practices which impact the lives of millions across the country.

Visit citizensadvice.org.uk for more information and resources on preventing, spotting and reporting scams.  Continue reading

Changes to lanes at Wetherby Road roundabout from this evening

Motorists are asked to take extra care at the Wetherby Road roundabout on the outer ring road as work is undertaken to narrow the road lanes after this evening’s peak traffic.

This reduction in lane width is needed to ensure the safety of road users and construction workers. 

Road barriers and a reduced speed limit of 30 miles per hour will also be in place to reinforce safety whilst traveling through the road works.

In addition, there will be a single lane entry onto the roundabout off-peak from Monday to Friday, with the existing two-lane entry retained at morning and afternoon peaks.

The roundabout is the first of seven to be widened to a three-lane approach and two-lane exit in order to reduce congestion on the outer ring road.

The existing two lane entry and single lane exit will be in place through this phase of the works, which are expected to last at least 12 weeks.

The council is reassuring motorists that the restrictions should only cause minor delays.   Continue reading

Future plans for York libraries

 Council to tender for new service provider

Acomb Explore Library

City of York Council’s Executive will be asked to consider proposals for the future development of York’s Libraries and Archives at a meeting later this month (21 June).

If the proposals are agreed, the council will look to appoint an operator for the service for the next 15 years with a contract of £32 million; maintaining the existing level of funding despite pressure on budgets

The existing five-year contract with Explore Libraries and Archives Mutual Limited expires on 31 March 2019.

The move is likely to cause concern that the substantial progress made by the current operator will be jeopardised. Working together the Council and contractor have managed to sustain the existing network of facilities across the whole City – unlike the situation in  most other parts of the country.

The tender documents may raise the prospect of reduced hours or “volunteer only”  manning at some small branches.

Some of the Councils “outsourcing” deals have failed spectacularly.

Yesterday the Warden Call CIC was revealed to have crashed financially and it will now be brought back “in house”.  “Make it York” has had a troubled couple of years while GLL has been criticised for chasing footfall, since it took over the Councils leisure centres, at the expense of a timetable with a broader appeal.

The procurement plans follow a citywide consultation from November 2017 – February 2018, which 2,484 people responded to, giving their views on the council’s vision for the future of the city’s library and archives service.

Key elements of the consultation feedback include:

  • The need to retain key services such as borrowing books, providing a reading and studying space, and providing access to computers
  • The desirability of providing a reading cafe on site
  • The importance of the library as a community hub with opening hours to reflect the needs of local residents
  • Libraries providing state of the art learning spaces
  • Maximising the best use of the buildings through partnership working
  • Respondents broadly supported for the vision of moving away from stand alone library buildings and recognised the need for partnerships to create services co-located with other community amenities.

Key proposals for the future service include:
Continue reading

New strategy for homelessness prevention in York

 Halving the number of rough sleepers and nearly £200,000 investment in our homelessness prevention work will be among the five priorities for the council’s new, five-year homelessness strategy.

Preventing Homelessness Together 2018-23 will be discussed by senior councillors on 21 June. It states a continued commitment to early help and prevention and outlines the council’s response to recent legislation.

Continue reading

York mental health support shortlisted for national BBC Radio 4 award

The team behind City of York Council’s mental health support line and crisis bed service have been shortlisted for a national award, selected by BBC Radio 4.

The service has been shortlisted in BBC Radio 4’s All in the Mind awards which looks to celebrate people’s experiences of exceptional mental health care and will recognise the unsung heroes who helped make the difference. The team is one of three that have been shortlisted in the group category from a total of over 1,000 nominations. The winners will be announced on the All in the Mind show on Tuesday 26 June.
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York Council social enterprise company crashes

We warned in 2013 (click) that the Council plan, to hive off some social care services to a new company, were “highly risky”.

The plan was to start a “Be Independent” social enterprise to run warden call and disabled equipment loan services.

Most of the income for the new organisation would still come from the Council. It was claimed though that it could complete for other business thereby reducing the demands on taxpayers.

5 years later and it is clear that the company has failed. This is not entirely surprising as the draft  “business plan” (still available to view here “on line”) published in 2013 actually forecast that the operation would be loss making

A report the Council’s Executive next week suggests that the service be brought back under the Councils direct control.

The number of customers using the service has fallen from 2878 to 2448, about half of which are subsidised by the Council.

“Be Independent” have failed to win any new contracts during the last 5 years and lost an existing contract with the NHS to provide equipment services in the Vale of York.

The company is now loss making.

In the last financial year, it recorded a working deficit of £167,000.

If the work transfers back to the Council it will cost taxpayers an additional £95,000 a year.

One of the negative aspects of hiving off activities is that some jobs get a pay hike. The Council says that staff at “Be Independent” in the main enjoy the same conditions of service as Council employees. TUPE would therefore apply to any transferees.

The Council report fails to identify the salaries being paid to all staff although £273,000 pa is listed as “Directors remuneration”. (The latest accounts registered with Company House for 2017 list Directors remuneration as £106.443).

There was until last year one CYC appointed Director (Cllr Funnell) but this appointment was terminated on 31st March 2017. It is unclear who has been charged with safeguarding the Councils interests on the “Be Independent” board since then.

There is no comparison in the papers between the 2013 business plan and outturns.

External legal advice is apparently  being taken by the Council.

York Council acts to tackle street level problems – potholes, school parking, weeds/litter, footpath repairs etc

Saturdays story, Now action promised on cleaning up streets

Potential boost for York’s frontline services
York’s frontline services could be set to receive a further financial boost, thanks to the efforts of Liberal Democrat Councillors.
In a report published today, it is proposed that:
  • £1.031 million is used to increase capacity in some of York’s crucial frontline services by utilising £620k that has been unspent and a further £411k of unused contingency fund.
  • It is also proposed that an extra £1 million is brought forward from the 2019/20 budget to resurface some of the worst roads in the City, as a result of the recent extreme winter weather. 
If approved by the Executive, it is proposed that this newly released funding be used to support existing frontline services and launch new initiatives, including:
  • Creating a new work programme for footpath repairs across the city.
  • Establishing an additional team to carry out pothole maintenance.
  • Providing new resources for enforcement teams to control dangerous parking, with a special focus on improving safety around schools.
  • Allowing residents who have had recycling boxes damaged or stolen to claim two free boxes per year.
  • Using the Economic Infrastructure Fund to support high street shopping in Haxby and Acomb.
  • Creating a fund to support voluntary and community groups who wish to develop innovative ideas on how to make the best use of our green spaces.
Cllr Andrew Waller, Liberal Democrat Deputy Leader of the Council, said:
“Frontline services have always remained our number one priority for the Liberal Democrats and if approved by the Executive in June, this additional investment goes a long way top reaffirm that commitment.”
“Subject to Executive approval, this additional funding can be put to good use in order to carry out extensive highways repairs and considerably improve our public spaces.”
“Just as this investment shows, the Liberal Democrats will continue to uphold our commitment to York’s frontline services and work hard to ensure residents receive the highest standards of service from all Council services.”

‘The Lily and the Rose”, introduced by author Nick Morrice

Jun _14 Nick Morrice

York Explore Library :

Thu 14 Jun :

6.30pm – 7.30pm :

Free

York-based author Nick Morrice speaks about and reads from his autobiographical novel which is based on four key periods in his life. The book is dedicated to the contemporary composer Bob Chilcott whose musical setting of the medieval lyric poem, ”The Lily and the Rose”, led the author to discover surprising parallels between his own life and the medieval legends of ‘The Quest for the Holy Grail’ and ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’.

This is an illustrated talk with an opportunity for questions afterwards. Signed copies will be available at £10.00.

This event will take place in the Marriott Room, at York Explore Library
Continue reading

Unique “Northern Lights” exhibition at York Minster this weekend.

See York Minster in a new light when the cathedral opens its doors after hours for Northern Lights, a new light projection and sound installation which will transform the Minster’s Nave.

Saturday and Sunday 16th & 17th June

8:00pm

Click to book ticket

Artists from double Guinness World Record winning company The Projection Studio have designed the piece, taking inspiration from the Minster’s stained glass and architecture.

Visitors will have the chance to experience the Minster at dusk, with its cavernous Nave completely cleared of chairs and filled with music from the cathedral’s organ, before the light and sound installation is shown at 9.30pm.

Projection artist Ross Ashton and sound artist Karen Monid have designed the piece to be an immersive experience, using the roof of the Nave and Great West Window – which features the famous Heart of Yorkshire – as a backdrop for the breath-taking light projection. Visitors will be surrounded by music and sound effects as part of the experience, including music recorded by the York Minster Choir.

The events have been organised to raise awareness and funds for a new conservation campaign to extend state-of-the-art protective glazing to all 128 of the cathedral’s mostly medieval windows over the next 20 years. Learn more about the project here.

Doors open at 8:00pm with last admission at 9:00pm. The Northern Lights installation will show from 9.30pm with the event finishing at approximately 10pm.

If you are unable to attend there is an opportunity to bid “on line” in a silent auction for some amazing prizes. All proceeds are going to the Minster conservation project

Click here for details

Council fails to empty green bins in parts of Chapelfields area. Calling back tomorrow

The York Council has issued the following statement;

“It has clearly been a great week for gardening as we have struggled to keep up with all the garden waste that you put out for us. Unfortunately, we were unable to collect the garden waste from 50 – 60 and 49 – 59 Bramham Road and Marsden Avenue.

We were also unable to collect the recycling from around 35 properties on Chapelfields Road but this was because of roadworks. The properties affected are the odd numbered ones between the Bramham Road and Ridgeway junctions.

We could not get access to Walton Place to collect the green waste.

If you are affected by any of these matters, please put your recycling out by 7am tomorrow and we will endeavour to return and collect. We are very sorry for any problems that this may cause”.