East Renfrewshire Neighbourhood Watch - Forum Kunena Site Syndication http://ernhw.org.uk/ Wed, 23 Oct 2019 08:28:52 +0000 Kunena 1.6 http://ernhw.org.uk/components/com_kunena/template/default/images/icons/rss.png East Renfrewshire Neighbourhood Watch - Forum http://ernhw.org.uk/ en-gb Subject: Have your say on the future of East Renfrewshire - Proposed Local Development Plan 2 (LDP2) - by: RM64 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46092-have-your-say-on-the-future-of-east-renfrewshire-proposed-local-development-plan-2-ldp2#46092 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46092-have-your-say-on-the-future-of-east-renfrewshire-proposed-local-development-plan-2-ldp2#46092
Posted on the ERC WebSite -

Have your say on the future of East Renfrewshire

Public consultation now open.

Local Development Plan 2

Future development plans for East Renfrewshire, covering a range of matters including transport links, managing housing demands and protecting and enhancing the built and natural environments are now open for public consultation.

All local groups, organisations and residents will have from

Monday 21 October to

Friday 13 December

to have their say on the Council's Proposed Local Development Plan 2 (LDP2) which sets out the authority's land use planning strategy.

Covering the whole of East Renfrewshire, the Proposed LDP2 will act as a framework to guide the future development, sustainable and inclusive economic growth, and regeneration of East Renfrewshire up to 2029 through a strategy that focuses upon enhancing our places and communities and continued protection of the Green Belt.

The plan concentrates on protecting green spaces, regenerating our urban areas, encouraging physical activity, contributing to healthy environments, creating vibrant town centres, and sets out the Council's policies to ensure all future developments in the area are environmentally focused.

"This is such an important consultation and I would encourage all our residents to participate. LDP2 is central to delivering our vision for East Renfrewshire to be one of Scotland's finest and most vibrant areas.
This really is such an important opportunity for residents to shape the area they live and work in so please take the time to complete this consultation."

- Councillor Alan Lafferty, Convener for Environment

Council Officers will also be at a number of 'drop in' events where residents can find out more about the plan.

Further details on these events will be made available during the consultation period.

The Proposed LDP2 and supporting documents can be viewed at

www.eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk/ldp2

The documents are also available at the Council offices and all the local libraries.

For further information contact our customer service team on 0141 577 3001 or visit our website.]]>
Public Forum Mon, 21 Oct 2019 19:28:18 +0000
Subject: Mearns Primary to re-open to pupils as fire damage "limited" - by: RM64 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46088-mearns-primary-to-re-open-to-pupils-as-fire-damage-qlimitedq#46088 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46088-mearns-primary-to-re-open-to-pupils-as-fire-damage-qlimitedq#46088
21/10/2019

Mearns Primary to re-open to pupils as fire damage "limited"

Pupils will return to Mearns Primary School as normal tomorrow, despite fire causing damage to a wing of the building.

Four fire crews were called to the Newton Mearns school just after 7.30pm to tackle the fire, which has since been extinguished.

East Renfrewshire Council said that fire damage was limited to just one classroom, and the building has been deemed safe for occupancy.

Therefore, all primary pupils are set to return to the school tomorrow.

However, refurbishment works in the nursery could not be completed today due to the closure. It will remain closed tomorrow and re-open on Wednesday.

A council spokesperson said: "Mearns Primary open to all pupils as normal tomorrow as fire damage limited to just one class.

The nursery will be closed all day Tuesday after the completion of routine refurb work was delayed due to the fire but School open tomorrow as usual.

Nursery closed due to completion of existing planned works. Will reopen on Wednesday.will reopen on Wednesday."

Newton Mearns South and Eaglesham councillor Jim Swift said the update can be considered "good news, albeit from a bad situation".

He said: "One wing of the school (Primary 1 and 2) was affected.

Works which were planned for the nursery have been not been able to be completed because of non-access to the building today. One P2 classroom has been affected."

Mr Swift continued: "Having assessed the school, Building Control have signed it off as suitable for occupation and as such the primary school will re-open to all primary 1 to 7 pupils tomorrow morning as usual with the affected P2 class being accommodated elsewhere in the building."]]>
Public Forum Mon, 21 Oct 2019 14:10:47 +0000
Subject: Fire fighters tackle blaze at Mearns Primary School in Newton Mearns - by: RM64 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46086-fire-fighters-tackle-blaze-at-mearns-primary-school-in-newton-mearns#46086 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46086-fire-fighters-tackle-blaze-at-mearns-primary-school-in-newton-mearns#46086

By Dawn Renton
Published: 07:59 Monday 21 October 2019


Fire fighters tackle blaze at Mearns Primary School in Newton Mearns

Fire crews tackled a blaze at Mearns Primary School in Newton Mearns last night (Sunday).

Fire fighters raced to the school on Hunter Drive at around 7.30pm.

A spokesman for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: “We were called to an incident involving an external fire and Mearns Primary School at 7.31pm yesterday evening.

Operation control mobilised four appliances to tackle the fire.”

School staff will be onsite this morning to assess the damage with East Renfrewshire Council posting on social media: “Following a fire at Mearns Primary School, education staff will be onsite again in the morning to assess any damage and update will be posted here”.

More to follow.]]>
Public Forum Mon, 21 Oct 2019 08:51:25 +0000
Subject: Eastwood Golf Club in Newton Mearns has been purchased for more than the asking price of £750,000. - by: RM64 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46081#46081 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46081#46081

Dawn Renton
Published: 08:03 Friday 18 October 2019

Newton Mearns golf club sold for more than £750,000

Eastwood Golf Club in Newton Mearns has been purchased for more than the asking price of £750,000.

The Newton Mearns club declared itself insolvent and entered administration in May this year.

Farmland, a new housing estate and a refurbished pay-and-play golf course, were just some of the possible futures envisaged by potential bidders for the Par 70 course, whose club history dates back 1893.

Donald Yellowley, a partner in DM Hall’s Bridge of Allan office who oversaw the marketing process, said: “We were pleasantly surprised by the interest generated throughout the UK by this property even before the marketing process was fully under way.

“The top bidders have secured this long-established golfing establishment set in an attractive heathland location, with highly accessible road connections”.]]>
Public Forum Fri, 18 Oct 2019 08:03:47 +0000
Subject: Accessing Current Council/Committee Agendas/Papers/Minutes - by: RM64 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46079-accessing-current-councilcommittee-agendaspapersminutes#46079 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46079-accessing-current-councilcommittee-agendaspapersminutes#46079 To: Daly, Eamonn
Subject: Council/Committee Agendas/Papers/Minutes

Hi Eamonn

Where can I find details of Current Council Meetings, Committee meetings, Agendas, papers and minutes via the Council's Web Site.

Correct me if I am wrong, but these used to be available via clicking on an section in the Your Council section of the Home page........

You could select the Committee via a drop down menu and then the Agendas, Papers and minutes would be available.

This seems to have disappeared...can you say why?

Thanks


------ Original Message ------
From: "Daly, Eamonn" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Sent: Thursday, 17 Oct, 2019 At 14:33
Subject: RE: Council/Committee Agendas/Papers/Minutes

Thank you for your email.

The Comms Team are currently in the process of streamlining the website and this has led to some pages inadvertently being moved or no longer being displayed.

The page can still be accessed at present.

Rather than click on the “Your Council” tab at the top of the page, go to the “Your Council” box at the bottom left hand corner of the homepage and click on the “Search past agendas, reports and minutes” tab.

This will take you to the search page.

You will then see the “View agendas, reports and minutes” link in the left hand column. Click on this link and this will take you to the page.

I have been in touch with the Comms Team and asked them to reintroduce the link directly from the “Your Council” tab at the top of the home page and also to include the link in the “Your Council” box at the bottom of the page.

Kind Regards
Eamonn Daly

Democratic Services Manager
Department of Corporate and Community Services]]>
Public Forum Thu, 17 Oct 2019 15:50:00 +0000
Subject: Freedom of Information - 2 Public Bodies referred to police over suspected tampering with records - by: RM64 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46077-freedom-of-information-2-public-bodies-referred-to-police-over-suspected-tampering-with-records#46077 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46077-freedom-of-information-2-public-bodies-referred-to-police-over-suspected-tampering-with-records#46077
17/10/2019

By Tom Gordon Scottish Political Editor

Data watchdog refers two public bodies to police over suspected criminality

TWO organisations have been referred to the police by Scotland’s information watchdog after concerns they had they intentionally destroyed or hidden public records.

It is a criminal offence for a Scottish public authority to alter, erase, destroy or conceal records the public has a right to obtain under Freedom of Information (FoI) law .

In his annual report for 2018/19, Scottish Information Commissioner Daren Fitzhenry said he had received allegations about four public bodies engaging in such criminal conduct.

“Two of these allegations have been referred to Police Scotland,” he said.

It is not yet known which authorities are involved.

However it is a relatively rare step for the Commissioner to take.

The Commissioner also noted a sharp rise in the number of public bodies dragging their feet over responding to requests as their FoI workload increased, with staff shortages often a factor.

The number of cases in which an authority failed to respond to a request within the legal limit of 20 working days rose 56 per cent from 601 in 2017/18 to 940 in 2018/19.

The number of valid appeals rose 10% from 507 to 560, two thirds from people unhappy with answers from councils or the Scottish Government.

Appeals about public bodies failing to respond on time rose from 20% of all appeals to 26% last year.

Overall, public bodies received 83,953 FoI and Environmental Information Regulation requests in 2018/19, up 8.3% on 2017/18.

Public bodies including councils, the Government, NHS boards, universities and the police have been under a duty to open records to the public since 2005 unless there is a strong reason to withhold data, such as security or personal privacy.

Last year three-quarters of FoI requests ended with the full or partial disclosure of the information sought.

The Commmissioner also ruled in favour of requesters in two-thirds of appeals.

Mr Fitzhenry said the performance of bodies was better than public pessimism suggested.

A recent poll found only 57% of Scots were “very” or “fairly confident” they would get a response to an FoI request to information from a public body, with 38% “not very” or “not at all confident”.

Mr Fitzhenry said: “We are seeing increasing numbers of information requests being made to Scottish public authorities.

“While many are performing well, there has been a concerning increase in failures to respond to requests for information on time.

Such failures impact on people’s perception of both freedom of information and the authorities themselves.

“Public bodies improving their Freedom of Information practice will make a real difference not only to the requester’s experience but also to the authorities themselves.”

A spokesman for the Commissioner added: “Under Section 65 of the FoI Act it is an offence to alter, erase, destroy or conceal information in order to prevent disclosure under FOI.

If there is evidence an offence may have been committed (this may, for example, come to light during an investigation or as the result of an allegation made to the Commissioner), he will refer the case to Police Scotland for further investigation, and to determine whether a prosecution should be brought.”]]>
Public Forum Thu, 17 Oct 2019 09:53:20 +0000
Subject: Are there parking issues at Busby Primary School? - by: RM64 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46076-are-there-parking-issues-at-busby-primary-school#46076 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46076-are-there-parking-issues-at-busby-primary-school#46076

Dawn Renton
Published: 09:26 Wednesday 16 October 2019


Are there parking issues at Busby Primary School?

Concerns have been raised over parking issues in Busby.

Resident Mr Walker has concerns over the influx of cars in and around Busby Primary Schhol and nursery.

He has called on East Renfrewshire Council to help parents and carers plan the school drop off, if they are bringing a car with them to the school.

His suggestions include asking staff, parents and contractors to leave their cars at home, or park away from the school area and make use of public transport.

His more radical ideas such the council subsidising bus tickets, creating a drop off zone at Williamwood High School with pupils then being ferried by mini bus to Busby School, and making the area around Busby Primary a no go zone for cars would not be feasible.


Mr Walker has also asked for an information sheet, in conjunction with Busby school, be available so that people coming to the area know where to park.

An East Renfrewshire Council spokesman said: “Safety of pupils when travelling to school is an absolute priority and we continue to promote a range of initiatives to encourage families to leave their cars at home.

“If parents are bringing their child by car, it is important that drivers remember parking restrictions are in place around schools to help ensure a safe environment for children, and to allow other road users freedom of movement.

“We regularly remind parents and carers to park appropriately and observe the restrictions which are in place.”]]>
Public Forum Wed, 16 Oct 2019 09:07:13 +0000
Subject: Start date announced for £60m Newton Mearns retirement village - by: RM64 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46075#46075 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46075#46075

Dawn Renton
Published: 07:00 Wednesday 16 October 2019


Start date announced for £60m Newton Mearns retirement village

Construction work on Scotland’s first dedicated luxury retirement village at Newton Mearns is to begin in the first quarter of next year.

The £60m self-contained development will be built on a 17-acre countryside setting overlooking the city and will be named “The Hills at Whitecraigs”.

Developer Scotsbridge Holdings, which has received full planning consent for the project, is now targeting other suitable locations in Scotland for similar developments, supported by a pipeline of overseas investment.
ADVERTISING

The Hills at Whitecraigs will provide a complete approach to retirement living with luxury suites and facilities designed to encourage healthy living and wellbeing.

Life at the village will centre around a central two-storey club house, containing a bar, cafe and community facilities. The village will boast tidal pools, spa facilities, a fitness suite, multi-use spaces for community events, a contemporary restaurant and function suites.

The Hills at Whitecraigs project is the first of its kind in Scotland and will comprise 214 one and two-bedroom flats, 38 cottages (252 dwellings in total) and an 80-bed care home.

Aimed specifically at over 55s, it will promote a more holistic approach to residents’ health and wellbeing through its design and landscaping, with a high density of trees and water features, and specific facilities such as a bowling green.

Scotsbridge director Shazad Bakhsh said: “As people live longer there is growing demand for high quality accommodation that will meet their changing needs, but also help them to enjoy a full, active and varied lifestyle.

“The Hills at Whitecraigs will set new standards for luxury living for over 55s with a strong emphasis on and health and wellbeing. What we plan to offer our residents is much more than a traditional retirement facility and we want to change how people in Scotland look at later living.

“We’re proposing to break ground on the development in the first quarter of 2020 and are targeting the first phase of the residential units to be completed by third quarter of 2021.”

An independent economic impact study conducted earlier this year estimated that the development will support more than 365 permanent jobs during the next 30 years and contribute more than £74m to the local economy within that timeframe.]]>
Public Forum Wed, 16 Oct 2019 09:03:08 +0000
Subject: Cabinet Committee Meeting - Thursday, 24 October 2019 at 10.00am - by: RM64 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46069-cabinet-committee-meeting-thursday-24-october-2019-at-1000am#46069 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46069-cabinet-committee-meeting-thursday-24-october-2019-at-1000am#46069
CABINET

A meeting of the Cabinet will be held in the Council Chamber, East Renfrewshire Council Headquarters, Eastwood Park, Giffnock

on Thursday, 24 October 2019 at 10.00am.

The agenda of business is as shown below.

Caroline Innes C INNES DEPUTY CHIEF EXECUTIVE

AGENDA
1.Report apologies for absence.

2.Declarations of Interest.

3.Estimated Revenue Budget Out-turn 2019/20

– Report by Chief Financial Officer(copy attached, pages 3 - 38).

4.Housing Services Performance Report 2018/19 and Annual Assurance Statement(Scottish Social Housing Charter)

- Report by Director of Environment (copyattached, pages 39 - 56).

5.Strategic Housing Investment Plan 2020-25 and Council New Build Programme

-Report by Director of Environment (copy attached, pages 57 - 64).

6.Write–Off of Irrecoverable Former Tenant Rent and Court Expenses

– Report byDirector of Environment (copy attached, pages 65 - 68).

7.Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Scotland) Act 2000

– Report by Chief Officer -Legal & Procurement (copy attached, pages 69 - 70).

You can read the full Agenda/Papers here -

www.eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=25279&p=0]]>
Public Forum Tue, 15 Oct 2019 09:43:07 +0000
Subject: Scottish Water - Linwood Ave, Viaduct Rd, Overlee Park, Busby Glen - Meeting Event - Wednesday 23rd October at Duff Memorial Hall from 3.30-7pm - by: RM64 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46066-scottish-water-linwood-ave-viaduct-rd-overlee-park-busby-glen-meeting-event-wednesday-23rd-october-at-duff-memorial-hall-from-330-7pm#46066 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46066-scottish-water-linwood-ave-viaduct-rd-overlee-park-busby-glen-meeting-event-wednesday-23rd-october-at-duff-memorial-hall-from-330-7pm#46066
We are holding an information event to discuss our work and plans for the area, if you haven't received your invite and wish to attend and please feel free to come along the event will be on

Wednesday 23rd October at Duff Memorial Hall G76 8DX from 3.30-7pm.

Find out more here -

www.scottishwater.co.uk/en/In-Your-Area/...Your-Area/Busby-Glen]]>
Public Forum Sun, 13 Oct 2019 09:13:08 +0000
Subject: Scottish Water - Linwood Ave, Viaduct Rd, Overlee Park, Busby Glen - Work to commence January 2020 for 14 months - by: RM64 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46065-scottish-water-linwood-ave-viaduct-rd-overlee-park-busby-glen-work-to-commence-january-2020-for-14-months#46065 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46065-scottish-water-linwood-ave-viaduct-rd-overlee-park-busby-glen-work-to-commence-january-2020-for-14-months#46065
Scottish Water as part of multi-million pound investment across the greater Glasgow area where we have transformed Glasgow's waste water systems will be carrying out significant upgrade to the sewer network in the Busby Glen area.

This work will reduce the risk of sewer flooding and provide environmental improvements to the local water courses.

Once complete, the new infrastructure will help prevent items which are wrongly flushed down the toilet, such as baby wipes and plastic cotton buds etc. from overflowing into the River White Cart Water.

It will also reduce the risk of sewer flooding to properties in the area as well as to Busby Glen Park.

When we are doing it

We anticipate the works will commence in January 2020 and will last approximately 14 months to complete, works in Busby Glen park will start January 2020 and will take roughly 8 months to complete.

Our alliance partners amey Black and Veatch (aBV) will be carrying out the works.

Information event

We are holding an information event to discuss our work and plans for the area, if you haven't received your invite and wish to attend and please feel free to come along the event will be on Wednesday 23rd October at Duff Memorial Hall G76 8DX from 3.30-7pm.

Find info here -

www.scottishwater.co.uk/en/In-Your-Area/...Your-Area/Busby-Glen]]>
Public Forum Sun, 13 Oct 2019 09:05:22 +0000
Subject: East Renfrewshire Leisure Trust Scrutinises Itself - Audit & Scrutiny Committee sidelined and excluded - by: RM64 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46061-east-renfrewshire-leisure-trust-scrutinises-itself-audit-a-scrutiny-committee-sidelined-and-excluded#46061 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46061-east-renfrewshire-leisure-trust-scrutinises-itself-audit-a-scrutiny-committee-sidelined-and-excluded#46061 Date:08/08/2019 17:03 (GMT+00:00)
To: "Miller, Stewart (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Cc: "Grant, B (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >, "Fletcher, J (Provost)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >, "Gilbert, C (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >, "Ireland, A (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >, "Swift,  Jim (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >, "McLean, J (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >

Subject: Leisure Trust contract with Big Wave media - Audit & Scrutiny - value for money for East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers?

Dear Stewart

I am writing to you as Chair of the Audit & Scrutiny Committee and would appreciate your(and the Committee's) help.

I have copied to the other members ( I am aware Cllr Grant and Cllr Fletcher are Trust Board members).

I wish to register my concern over a contract East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure Trust(ERCLT) entered into with a company named Big Wave Media.

The only sum given by ERCLT for this contract was for £24,000.00.

However, from a FOI request for payment invoices, ERCLT have paid at least £67,577.04 to Big Wave Media -

31/12/2016 - £13,435.32

31/03/2017 - £1,435.32

30/04/2017 to 30/11/2018 - 20 monthly payments of £2,635.32 = £52,706.40

Total - £67,577.04

It is of great concern that this contract has now cost East Renfrewshire Council tax payers nearly 3 times(£67,577.04) the original sum of £24,000.00 and has failed to deliver the promised benefits.

It is also of great concern that the Chief Executive claims a saving of £22,000.00 p.a. when in fact they have spent at least £67,577.04 not £24,000.00.

It is also of great concern that The Trust has tried to hide this by not publishing any of this information and that it has only come to light via Freedom of Information(FOI) requests and appeal to the Scottish Information Commissioner.

The Chief Executive of the Trust has admitted the failings of the contract.

In a Report to East Renfrewshire Culture & Leisure Board on 26 February 2019(obtained by FOI) The Chief Executive said -

'However, net financial growth has been below original forecasts.

Whilst we still use BWM for marketing and promotions, their Sales Director’s project management role has been brought in house at a saving of £22,000 p.a.

Key Issues

1. Demand analysis undertaken across the organisation highlighted a number of issues impeding progress, including Venue Managers only being able to allocate 10% of their time to the project.

That time was consumed by the two-day meetings and compiling the reports, rather than the business development activities intended to drive growth.

Similar issues were experienced with other staff groups.

2. Whilst the initial forecasts promised a marked improvement in the bottom-line performance akin to a step change for both gyms and fitness and swimming, the reality is that improvement has been incremental.

(In 2018 gym membership was 13.9% up on the prior year, but this was only a third of the target suggested by BWM.)

3.The two-day monthly meetings, whilst time consuming for both operational and senior staff did have considerable value in the first year, with coaching and insight accompanying external challenge to drive change effectively.

By the second year colleagues felt the meetings were increasingly ineffective and inefficient, and training, coaching and insight had diminished to the extent they were protracted reporting and discussion forums.

4.The proprietary tools, whilst helping to change practices and work cultures in a number of teams very successfully, seemed derived for operating models that had different structures generally, and greater levels of staffing, particularly in front of house  roles, or in support roles such as sales, communications and marketing.

5.Some conflicting advice from BWM highlighted that the methodology was increasingly at odds with the reality of ERCL’s situation and structure, as well as the particularities of our market and competition, and both the strategic direction and progress reporting  was becoming skewed by this.

In 2018 we held review meetings with the Sales Director of BWM in spring, summer and autumn to discuss these issues and possible solutions.

In December we trialled a remodelled meeting and reporting structure, and project management approach and in discussion with staff groups decided to continue with the programme, but without the input of the BWM Sales Director, at a saving of £22,000 p.a.'


I would appreciate if you can

- investigate/scrutinise the terms of this contract,

- why the cost nearly tripled from £24,000.00 to at least £67,577.04,

- why it is now seen as a saving of £22,000 p.a.(when it actually cost at least £67,577.04) and

- if it did provide value for money for the Council Tax Payers( £67,577.04).

- invite the Trust CEO to explain all of the above to the Audit & Scrutiny Committee.

Big Wave media were picked for their expertise in this area but as the Chief Executive has admitted they obviously failed to deliver.

Again, it is of great concern that the Trust have tried to hide this and have not published details.

Your help with this matter is much appreciated

Thanks]]>
Public Forum Thu, 10 Oct 2019 10:58:56 +0000
Subject: Fraud checks identify ‘discrepancies’ in £95,000 worth of claims to East Renfrewshire Council - by: RM64 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46059#46059 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46059#46059

Drew Sandelands
Email
Published: 07:15 Friday 04 October 2019


Fraud checks identify ‘discrepancies’ in £95,000 worth of claims to East Renfrewshire Council

Potentially fraudulent and erroneous claims of more than £95,000 were made to East Renfrewshire Council last year.

A counter-fraud exercise led by Audit Scotland found 4422 claims where “discrepancies” were identified.

Around 2000 of these were identifed as “high risk” and investigated, while a sample of “low risk” cases were also examined.

More than £23,000 was recovered as a result of the exercise.

The National Fraud Initiative (NFI) involved checking the information in claims made to the council against other data, including the Electoral Register, HMRC information on pensions and income, Student Loans, immigration and Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) records.

It found “discrepancies between different data sets” in relation to a number of claims made to East Renfrewshire Council.

The scheme covers areas such as housing benefit, council tax reduction, council tax single person discount, blue badges, housing waiting lists, payroll and creditors history.

A report to councillors states: “The council has a robust and effective approach to NFI, which is complemented by existing fraud prevention measures.

“While the recovery through the NFI exercise is relatively low at £23,652, the main benefit from carrying out the exercise is the reduction in ongoing fraud and the deterrent effect gained from regular data matching.”

Each area of the council takes responsibility for comparing its own data sets and for subsequent recovery or follow up action.

During the high risk review, 18 claimant errors were identified within housing benefit and council tax reduction, including one possible fraud.

These were valued at £18,045 and the possible fraud was referred to the DWP for further investigation and possible prosecution.

The exercise also highlighted 1006 cases where council tax single person discount had been awarded and may no longer be valid.

This resulted in the cancellation of 168 single person discounts, which equates to an annual saving for 2019/20 of £77,315 and prior year recovery of £21,135.

The National Fraud Initiative data-matching exercise is undertaken every two years.]]>
Public Forum Thu, 10 Oct 2019 10:11:44 +0000
Subject: Police ring the changes as East Renfrewshire cops go mobile - by: RM64 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46057-police-ring-the-changes-as-east-renfrewshire-cops-go-mobile#46057 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46057-police-ring-the-changes-as-east-renfrewshire-cops-go-mobile#46057
10/10/2019

Police ring the changes as East Renfrewshire cops go mobile

POLICE officers in East Renfrewshire will soon be kitted out with new mobile phones in a bid to reduce the amount of time they spend working in stations.

The devices, which will be rolled out in the area from Monday, October 14, will allow officers to check police systems, file statements and keep up to date with emails while working remotely.

A Police Scotland representative told East Renfrewshire councillors how the phones will replace officers’ notebooks and increase “visibility, productivity and pro-activity.”

“They can do everything they could previously do and significantly more,” he said.

“We want to keep officers in East Renfrewshire visible in the community they serve.

“It avoids that need to come back to the office to check and file reports etcetera.”

Chief Superintendent Hazel Hendren described the introduction of the new phones as “a real culture change” for officers.

She said: “It might be different for the public to see officers sitting in a car on their phone.”

Ch Supt Hendren added that the force had discussed encouraging officers to sit in cafes or other public places.

Around 10,000 phones are being handed out to uniformed, community and specialist response officers across Scotland as part of a £21million project that has been part-funded by the Scottish Government.

The scheme is already up and running in some parts of the country, with devices rolled out to officers in Dundee, Perth and Kinross in June.

Officers in East Renfrewshire will be provided with a Samsung Galaxy Note 9 phone, as well as a battery pack, small printer and in-car charger.

Councillors were told the devices are “entirely secure” and can be “stunned and killed” if lost.

The devices have access to the Police National Computer system, removing the need to use radios to check information with operators.

Officers will also have access to Police Scotland’s command and control system and can type statements directly onto the device through the use of its digital notebook function Pronto, which will obtain an electronic signature from victims and witnesses.

There are also plans to use the phones to print and then issue fixed penalty notices.

When the scheme was announced, Cabinet Secretary for Justice Humza Yousaf said the new technology will enable officers to become “I am pleased that the Scottish Government has been able to help Police Scotland invest in new mobile technology, which is enabling officers to work in the heart of Scotland’s communities, providing reassurance and increasing their visibility.

“This technology is enabling officers to become even more agile and responsive, ensuring the service is better equipped to meet the modern-day demands upon it.”]]>
Public Forum Thu, 10 Oct 2019 10:01:42 +0000
Subject: Eastwood MSP insists £2,000 bill for taxis is ‘fare’ enough - by: RM64 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46056#46056 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46056#46056 10/10/2019

Eastwood MSP insists £2,000 bill for taxis is ‘fare’ enough

AN East Renfrewshire politician has defended his use of taxis for parliamentary business after racking up fares of almost £2,000 last year.

Jackson Carlaw, who is the MSP for Eastwood, was reimbursed with £1,899 from the public purse to cover a total of 188 taxi trips.

This was the highest figure claimed by any of the 129 MSPs at Holyrood.

The bill included multiple journeys to and from his home in East Renfrewshire and Queen Street train station, in Glasgow.

Mr Carlaw, who took over the role of interim Scottish Conservative leader after Ruth Davidson quit the post in August, said he did occasionally walk but this was not always a practical option.

He added: “Taxi journeys are generally to and from mainline stations and my home address in East Renfrewshire and to and from my Scottish parliamentary accommodation, near Craigmillar – a cheaper rental than a property more central in Edinburgh.

“I do occasionally walk, which takes just under an hour, but this is not always practical.”

Mr Carlaw’s total expenses bill for the year was £37,639 – up from £31,879 in 2017/18.

Meanwhile, expenses claimed by Barrhead’s MSP Tom Arthur also rose last year.

The SNP man, who represents Renfrewshire South, claimed £32,804 – around £5,000 more than his £27,670 total for 2017/18.

The parliamentary figures show no claims for taxi fares were made by Mr Arthur.

Total costs of running a local office, employing staff and paying for stationary and postage are also given in the parliament’s figures.

Mr Carlaw’s office costs were £88,761, while Mr Arthur’s were £87,525.

The Eastwood MSP’s stationary and postage costs were £3,194, while Mr

Arthur’s hit the capped permissible total of £5,500.

Across the country, MSPs claimed almost £17million in expenses last year – an increase of almost four per cent compared to 2017/18.

The cost for carrying out parliamentary duties, employing staff and running a local office rose by £633,125, to around £16m.

When party leaders’ allowances and the stationery and postage provision is taken into account, the total amount claimed in the 2018/19 financial year was £16,803,605.

This is up by £643,898 on the previous year, a rise of 3.98%, which is higher than the rate of inflation.]]>
Public Forum Thu, 10 Oct 2019 09:56:17 +0000