Here’s ONE Council that’s NOTHING like Peterborough ….

39318806642_bc3c2ab6f6_o

If you rarely leave the city of Peterborough, you might be mistaken to think that all Councils across the UK are the same as the one we have here?

The reality is, this simply is NOT the case.

For example, allow me to introduce you to Hammersmith & Fulham Council:

  • A place with a population of 185,426 (Peterborough’s population is about 202,000).
  • In 2011, foreign-born residents made up 43% of Hammersmith & Fulham’s population (source).
  • In 2016, H&F’s Council announced their councillors had frozen their allowances for the second year, and the salaries remained the same for 2017/2018 and for 2018/2019.
  • In H&F, a Band A property pays £721.68 a year in Council Tax, in Peterborough we pay £896. A Band B property in H&F pays £841.97 in Council Tax per year, while in Peterborough it’s £1044.
  • H&F have a resident-led Climate and Ecological Emergency commission, i.e. more action and less hot air, unlike Peterborough City Council!
  • Hammersmith & Fulham Council is offering local residents of all ages and levels of experience the chance to work as an apprentice. If you search the term “apprenticeship” on the PCC website, you get one link, to an old article, talking about the work of someone else!

Cuts are essential, right?

Remember how the local Tories in our city have been acting like a crazed hairdessers, by cutting services and staff in recent years, and announcing millions more in cuts for 2020/2021?

Well press the play button on the below video to listen to a Hammersmith & Fulham councillor talking about what they are up to!

Why is there a difference?

There is of course one very BIG difference, between Peterborough and Hammersmith & Fulham Councils …… Peterborough is controlled by the Conservatives (has been for 20 years) and H&F is run by Labour!

Guess how many £s PCC got when they flogged their Ferrero Rocher Xmas Tree?

Christmas Tree

When the Tories at the Town Hall in Peterborough, introduced their “fancy” Christmas Tree, which cost £40,000, it ended up being listed by the BBC as one of the most “hopeless” trees in the country!

And now it’s been sold!

giphy

So, from now on, if you “were” a fan of the silver tree you will need to pop along to the Wisbech Town Council events.

You see, because the tree was so lovely, no other Councils wanted it!

But, the Tories in Peterborough were lucky. Their Tory colleagues in Wisbech held “discussions” with them, and agreed to take the tree off their hands.

And the amount they paid? Well, despite the tree costing £40,000 in the first instance, Wisbech Town Council managed to agree a fee of £0 with PCC!

The Wisbech Tories even went to the local media to boast about their coup!!

giphy-1
When Pboro Conservatives claim to be good with managing taxpayers money!

Two other things …

Council back-tracks on Serco contract worth millions of £’s

Serco in Peterborough
Cllr David Seaton (Tory), who is standing down in May 2020, celebrating PCC’s 5th anniversary with SERCO in 2015!

Under a 10 year contract started on November 28, 2011, Serco took on the responsibility for a range of frontline and back-office services for Peterborough City Council (PCC), including customer services, business services, HR and payroll, shared transactional services, ICT, procurement and business transformation.

giphy-12

So what’s happened now?

The contract for Serco to deliver IT services to Peterborough City Council, is due to come to an end in September 2020.

The Tory controlled City Council have now announced they will NOT be renewing it and instead will be moving IT services back to the local authority when the contract ends.

giphy-13

It seems strange, when ….

At the end of 2018, SERCO announced they’d agreed a 10 year contract extension with PCC, worth £105,000,000, to continue providing Customer Services, Business Support Services, Shared Transactional Services (including Revenues and Benefits), Transactional HR and Payroll, Procurement and Business Transformation services until 2031!

  • In the press release, SERCO boasted they’d “delivered £10m of savings to the Council.”

giphy-14

What does Darren think?

Anyone with any common sense, has long since come to the view that handing over council services, is a shite idea.

Despite all the spin, press releases, self created awards ceremonies to give the impression the concept works, most people in Peterborough are fed up.

They realise, such actions by the Tories at the Town Hall have resulted in lesser services, job losses for local people and tens of millions of pounds leaking from public funds into the hands of private companies, and presumably the pockets of CEO’s and board members?

The Conservative controlled City Council has already announced plans to bring waste services back in house, now it’s the IT services and, I have no doubt, we can expect a lot more of these announcements, as the political pack of cards begins to collapse!

giphy-15

Extra Bits:

  • Last year we discovered thousands of £’s a month was being spent by Peterborough City Council on mobile phones which were not being used. A report by Serco identified a “staggering 300 mobile phone numbers showing zero usage over the last two months”.
  • In 2019, we were told that an extra £3.687m had to be found for the deal between PCC and Serco! The reason? A: “… savings targets from Serco which had been included in the budget, but now show little likelihood of being achieved.”

Will Werrington Residents have to pay more Council tax?

The Green, Werrington, Peterbrough

You may have recently seen that the Peterborough City Council have been consulting on the idea of a Werrington Area Forum?

If not you might like to read:

The DEADLINE for having your say is Friday 18 January 2019.

Comments on the application can be submitted either:

  • via email: planningpolicy@peterborough.gov.uk
  • in writing to: Sustainable Growth Strategy, Peterborough City Council, Sand Martin House, Bittern Way, Fletton Quays, Peterborough PE2 8TY

Werrington Neighbourhood Area

Just from the map alone, I am a tad confused. In so much that Corfe Avenue seems to have bee included in the Werrington area map (above), yet most people know this as part of Walton?

While, several households along Fulbridge Road seem to have been omitted, despite their neighbours literally across the road being included?

I thought this was due to the waterway, but given Hythegate, Lakeside, Gildale and Thornemead have been included, so it can’t be that?

Also, any new tier of government surely needs to be representative? Given that the Werrington “area” has nearly 10,000 residents …. Presently, 96% of planned Werrington Forum Members identify as ethnically White, there are no Members of any Ethnic Minority who live in the area, 82% of members are aged 50+, only 1 member is aged below 40 and just 4.5% do not identify as a Homeowner.

Questions I have …

I have now sent in some queries and questions to those involved, some of which included:

  1. How many people actually make up the “Werrington Area Forum” and who are they?
  2. How many responses have you received to date, in regards the application?
  3. Will there be a legal requirement for a certain number of members of the Werrington Area Forum, and what would happen if, down the line there were only a couple of people (or maybe no one) who wanted to be involved with the Werrington Forum?
  4. It mentions that the minimum number of members will be 21, just wondered why this was the number?
  5. Who decides who will be a Full Member and how are they chosen?
  6. Will members be able to claim expenses?
  7. Will there be any plans to add a Council Tax precept?
  8. Will there be a minimum number of attendees at AGMs in order to make them legitimate?

You might like to know that in areas where they have a Parish Council, they also have to pay extra Council Tax. Whilst, this proposed new tier of local government will not be a Parish Council, I do think it is important that local residents know sooner rather than later if there are plans to add a precept.

As always, please let me know your thoughts below.

Should you wish to contact Werrington Area Forum with general queries about the group, or about their neighbourhood plan, please contact Sally Weald (werringtonneighbourhoodcouncil@gmail.com).

Give workers the tools to deal with waste, street cleaning and flytipping…

Amey Van

Before 2010, aspects like waste, street cleaning, flytipping and grass cutting used to be done by the City Council.

Then in 2011, the Tories at the Town Hall, decided to sign a 23-year-contract with Enterprise – which was bought out by Amey in 2013.

Then last year, Conservative controlled Peterborough City Council announced they’d be terminating the waste contract with Amey in a bid to save £100,000 every year.

Read more

Less Trading Standards = More RISK to older people!

Trading Standards in Peterborough

According Age UK, trading standards budgets have been cut by some 50% over the last 7 years.

The result? Millions of older people are at a greater risk of becoming victims of fraud.

Did YOU see?

In April 2018, local media reported that Directors of a Peterborough firm which pressure sold beds and chairs to elderly and vulnerable residents were jailed.

Judge Cooper said of Geoffrey and Jaqueline Turner, of Hall Lane (Werrington), “You chose to impoverish customers mentally, intellectually, emotionally and financially.”

What else…?

Age UK also said it believed 2/5’s of older people (nearly 5 million over 65’s), believe they’ve been targeted by scammers.

What do I think?

I think the Tory government must ensure trading standards services are properly resourced, and that they stop giving them additional duties on top of their core role of protecting residents and stopping rogue traders.

What have I done?

I have now requested an update on the present state of play, from Directors at Peterborough City Council, in respect of staff numbers and budget levels, and whether these have changed over the last few years.

Once I have details on this I will of course share it with you.

For more information relating to Peterborough City Council’s Trading Services, please VISIT HERE!

Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership was “not up to standard”

Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership
It was previously claimed funding for a University in Peterborough had been secured, thanks to the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP…..

You may have recently read in the Peterborough Telegraph, that “MPs have criticised an organisation [Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (GCGP LEP)] which funded infrastructure projects in Peterborough before being liquidated.”

Read more

Manor Drive schools meeting on the horizon!

Paston Reserve Schools

Both my colleague Cllr Julia Davidson and myself are set to have a meeting in the coming weeks with the Capital Projects and Assets Officer at Peterborough City Council, to discuss the latest state of play is regards the development.

Read more

Not enough City Councillors know about this website!

Mental Health

  • Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year.
  • In England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week.
  • Approximately 1 in 8 adults with a mental health problem are currently receiving treatment.

Read more

Time to close the Northminster Car Park toilets ……….?

Northminster Car Park Toilets

The Tories at Peterborough City Council are presently “consulting” on their latest budget proposals.

There’s a range of planned cuts, that they say have to be introduced, in order to alleviate the cuts in their Government grant, made by their Tory masters at Whitehall.

Read more