East Renfrewshire Neighbourhood Watch - Forum Kunena Site Syndication http://ernhw.org.uk/ Wed, 16 Jan 2019 19:00:39 +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: Balgray Reservoir - Pulling the plug at reservoir will pave way for watersports park - by: RM64 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45457-balgray-reservoir-pulling-the-plug-at-reservoir-will-pave-way-for-watersports-park#45457 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45457-balgray-reservoir-pulling-the-plug-at-reservoir-will-pave-way-for-watersports-park#45457
11th January

By John McNee

Pulling the plug at reservoir will pave way for watersports park

A HUGE reservoir on the outskirts of Barrhead has been drained as part of early preparations for the creation of a new watersports park.

The draining of Balgray Reservoir had caused some speculation among locals, especially after similar work at a reservoir in Paisley sparked a police investigation.

However, Scottish Water has told the Barrhead News its activity at Balgray Reservoir has been entirely routine and is part of preparations for the establishment of a new wakeboarding park.

Lobbied as part of East Renfrewshire Council’s plans under the multi-million pound Glasgow City Region City Deal, Balgray Reservoir has long been in line to become a state-of-the-art sports hub.

It would include facilities for kayaks and canoes, changing areas, open water swimming and even a series of powered cables that would allow visitors to have a go at wakeboarding or water-skiing.

Cable wakeboarding uses an overhead cable to pull participants over the surface of the water. They are attached to a wakeboard, so it is similar to snowboarding, except on water.

Initial proposals stated that the centre would be for non-motorised sport, with no jet-skis or motorboats involved.

When the ambitious plans for Balgray Reservoir were announced back in 2015, council leader Tony Buchanan said he believed it would “bring tourists and jobs to the area, as well as providing excellent recreation facilities to the residents of Barrhead.”

A spokeswoman for Scottish Water confirmed that the current maintenance work was being carried out on the reservoir itself ahead of the creation of the wakeboarding site.

She added: “The water level at Balgray Reservoir has been lowered to enable routine maintenance to be carried out.”

Levels at the reservoir were partially lowered from February to April last year and kept at these levels over the summer before being lowered further towards the end of the year.

For East Renfrewshire’s input of £6million in the Glasgow City Region City Deal, it gets a return of £44m, setting up projects that include the waterpark, a rail halt for Barrhead South and a connecting road between Barrhead and the M77 motorway.

When Scottish Water drained Glenburn Reservoir, in Paisley, in November, they discovered five abandoned vehicles, prompting the launch of a police investigation.

However, workers at Balgray Reservoir said they haven’t found anything of significance at that site.]]>
Public Forum Mon, 14 Jan 2019 19:28:09 +0000
Subject: Example 3 Webcast - Planning Meeting regarding Nursery Build Busby Primary Playing Fields - Wednesday, 16 January 2019 at 2.00pm Council HQ - by: RM64 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45453-example-3-webcast-planning-meeting-regarding-nursery-build-busby-primary-playing-fields-wednesday-16-january-2019-at-200pm-council-hq#45453 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45453-example-3-webcast-planning-meeting-regarding-nursery-build-busby-primary-playing-fields-wednesday-16-january-2019-at-200pm-council-hq#45453 , J Fletcher, J McLean, S Miller and J Swift.

PLANNING APPLICATIONS COMMITTEE
A meeting of the Planning Applications Committee will be held in the Council Chamber, Council Headquarters, Eastwood Park, Giffnock on
Wednesday, 16 January 2019 at 2.00pm.

Reference No:
2018/0620/TP

Site:
Busby Primary School, 23 Church Road, Busby, East Renfrewshire, G76 8EB

Description:
Erection of nursery school, plant room and cycle/pram shelter; extension to car parking area

You can read the full papers here -

www.eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=23672&p=0

Should this meeting not be Webcast and archived for future viewing?

Public interest?

2.00pm is not a convenient time for most Residents and for those at work?]]>
Public Forum Fri, 11 Jan 2019 22:37:59 +0000
Subject: ‘Incompetence’ at heart of housing benefit issue - by: Ernhw Ltd http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45452-incompetence-at-heart-of-housing-benefit-issue#45452 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45452-incompetence-at-heart-of-housing-benefit-issue#45452
DAWN RENTON

Concerns over East Renfrewshire Council’s handling of housing benefits have been raised by Conservative councillor Jim Swift.

He described the council’s performance as “shockingly bad”.

And he has also claimed:
• The council processes new claimants really slowly and is amongst the worst in Scotland.
• The council reports how long it takes inaccurately.
• It conducts too few interventions that would identify those who are primarily overpaying, but also those who do not access what they are due.

Cllr Swift said: “There is much in the media about food banks, all blamed upon Government austerity, but the harsh reality is, if ERC is processing new claims that are, at best, around 50 per cent longer than in other councils and likely twice as long, ERC is causing people unnecessary hardship.

“ERC is also condemning people to debt recovery processes and long run difficulty if it has miscalculated their benefits and overpaid them or short run and also unnecessary difficulty if it has underpaid them.”

However, a council spokesman said: “As one of the smallest housing benefit services in Scotland, with an annual caseload of around 3,600, we have been planning for the gradual phasing out of housing benefit as a result of the implementation of Universal Credit.

“National delays in the rollout of Universal Credit have made the planning of resources in recent years a particular challenge and the Accounts Commission has noted this is having an impact on council benefit services.

“We have undertaken a number of initiatives to understand and improve benefits processing and our proactive approach is highlighted in the Audit Scotland report.

“Since the Audit Scotland assessment was carried out last summer, we have an action plan to address the points raised in the report and there is increased focus on improving our performance.

“Specific absence and performance management issues within our small benefits team have been addressed.

“The issue of accuracy of reporting has been addressed and we have introduced a much more targeted approach to areas such as debt recovery where further improvements have seen us recover 82 per cent of housing benefit overpayments.”

Read more at: www.glasgowsouthandeastwoodextra.co.uk/n...u-TwOwnBAGC5VG_x-EEU]]>
Public Forum Fri, 11 Jan 2019 10:15:15 +0000
Subject: Example 2 - Why Committee Meetings should be made available via Webcast and/or Social Media etc and be Archived - by: RM64 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45438-example-2-why-committee-meetings-should-be-made-available-via-webcast-andor-social-media-etc-and-be-archived?limit=6&start=12#45438 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45438-example-2-why-committee-meetings-should-be-made-available-via-webcast-andor-social-media-etc-and-be-archived?limit=6&start=12#45438 Date:21/11/2018 20:19 (GMT+00:00)
To: "Miller, Stewart (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Subject: AUDIT AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE 22 November 2018 - Agenda Item 6

Hi Stewart

AUDIT AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE 22 November 2018 - Report by Director of Education -JOINT ERCLT AND COUNCIL ACTION PLAN IN RELATION TO INDEPENDENT FINANCE AND BUSINESS REVIEW OF THE TRUST REPORT

As my Councillor and as Chair of this committee would appreciate if you can ask these questions and let me know the answers.

I refer to the above Report and para 4 and in particular the sentence 'This will be the subject of a report to the Trust Board next month when the four elected Members on the Board will be able to scrutinise it.'

What does this mean to say?

What will this report consist of?

Who will compile/write/publish this report?

Who will this report be made available to?

How will the four elected Members on the Board scrutinise this report?

Who are the four elected Members on the Board to scrutinise this report on behalf of -

- The Council?

- The Leisure Trust?

- Themselves?

Once the four elected Members on the Board scrutinise it what will they then do?

Once the four elected Members on the Board scrutinise it what action will they take?

Once the four elected Members on the Board scrutinise it what is their responsibility to the Council regarding their scrutiny of the report?

Once the four elected Members on the Board scrutinise it how will they report back to the Council regarding the results of their scrutiny of the report?

- Please give details of how, when and where this is done.


The Audit & Scrutiny Committee Members should be able to read the minutes of 27 February 2018 and 17 April 2018 Leisure Trust Board Meetings that pertain to this report.

Why have the Audit & Scrutiny Committee Members not been able to read accurate ERCLT minutes of the meetings where the implementation and access plan was discussed.

When will the accurate minutes of the ERCLT Board meetings of 27 February 2018 and 17 April 2018 be available?


The current published minutes for these meetings are not accurate -

'Minute of a Meeting of the Board of Trustees of East Renfrewshire Culture and Leisure Ltd. Eastwood House,Room 4 on Tuesday 5 June 2018 at 3.30

3.Minutes of Board Meeting of 27 February 2018

It was agreed that the minutes would be reissued with more detail regarding the duration, challenge and robustness of the discussion to accurately reflect the meeting for approval by the Board.

Minutes of Extraordinary Board Meeting 17 April 2018

As above.'
If we have to wait until after the 4th December 2018 Board meeting it will be 11 months since the 27 February 2018 meeting and no official accurate minutes have been agreed/published.

If we have to wait until after the 4th December 2018 Board meeting it will be 9 months since the 17 April 2018 meeting and no official accurate minutes have been agreed/published.

The minutes for these ERCLT Board meetings were published -

27 February 2018 - approx. 7 months after the meeting (see above)

17 April 2018 - approx. 5 months after the meeting (see above)

5 June 2018 - approx. 4 months after the meeting.

The minutes for the meeting (4 September) will not be made available until after the 4 December meeting - some 3 months after the meeting has taken place.
During the time these Board Minutes have not been published, there have been Serious specific Financial Implications involving the Trust.


Your help with this matter will be appreciated and a reply with the requested information would again be much appreciated.

Thanks]]>
Public Forum Thu, 10 Jan 2019 12:18:53 +0000
Subject: Example 1 - Why Committee Meetings should be made available via Webcast and/or Social Media etc and be Archived - by: RM64 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45435-example-1-why-committee-meetings-should-be-made-available-via-webcast-andor-social-media-etc-and-be-archived#45435 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45435-example-1-why-committee-meetings-should-be-made-available-via-webcast-andor-social-media-etc-and-be-archived#45435 Date : 25/04/2018 - 15:32 (GMTST)
To : This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , paul.o' This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Subject : Cabinet Meeting - FoI attack - A Personal Opinion and View from the Public Gallery

Dear East Renfrewshire Council Cabinet Member

A Personal Opinion and View from the Public Gallery

Meeting of the Cabinet held in the Council Chamber, East Renfrewshire Council(ERC)on Thursday 5 April 2018 at 10:00am.

Agenda Item No. 5 - Report by Chief Officer (Legal & Procurement) Freedom of Information Annual Report 2017.

I was present in the Public Gallery for this Item.

Make no mistake, in my opinion, this meeting was conducted by the Cabinet in a hostile and aggressive atmosphere towards ERC Residents/Council Tax Payers who make FoI requests.

In my opinion this Agenda Item was hijacked and bordered on a ‘witch-hunt’ to attack those Residents/Council Tax Payers who make FoI requests.

There was no attempt to give a balanced view on the benefits of Freedom of Information and the Democratic right to hold Councils and Administrations etc to account.

Barrhead News subsequently reported -

’An East Renfrewshire councillor has attacked the press and public over Freedom of Information requests.

He demanded that those who use FOI laws, which give everyone the right to ask for any information held by a Scottish public authority, be “weeded out.”

Councillor Lafferty also complained about residents’ use of FOIs after it was claimed the local authority spends in excess of £100,000-a-year responding to requests.

“It’s bad enough that we have to grapple with our local residents but at least they are our residents.”

Independent councillor Danny Devlin claimed that some information being used by community groups was “on the verge of cyber-bullying.”

And council leader Tony Buchanan questioned why details of FOI applicants aren’t made public.

He said: “I do have some concerns as to how some of this is used, particularly in terms of the cost to the taxpayer.

“Freedom of Information allows transparency of what we do but there seems to be no transparency on the individuals who have made the requests on several occasions.” ‘



I agree that East Renfrewshire Council Residents and Council Tax Payers were attacked, the tone of the meeting towards East Renfrewshire Council Residents and Council Tax Payers was hostile and that words such as “weeded out.” and ‘grapple’ were unnecessarily inflammatory.

The tone of the meeting and the language used against law abiding East Renfrewshire Council Residents and Council Tax Payers made me feel, as one who has made FoI requests, and sitting in the Public Gallery, intimidated and threatened.

Making a FoI request is not illegal but part of the Democratic process.

I have made several FoI requests to ERC.

I have included my name and address (and email address) on ALL my FoI requests to identify myself as an East Renfrewshire Resident/Council Tax Payer and that the request is of interest to myself and East Renfrewshire Resident/Council Tax Payers.

I did not have to provide this information.

Cllr Lafferty knows my name & address. Cabinet knows my name and address as Cllr Lafferty is a member of Cabinet.

The Council’s Records Manager knows my name & address as as I have provided them in exchanged emails regarding FoI requests.

Gerry Mahon, Chief Officer Legal and Procurement knows my name & address as as I have provided them in exchanged emails regarding FoI requests.

As my name & address are known, why would Cabinet and especially Cllr Tony Buchanan

‘And council leader Tony Buchanan questioned why details of FOI applicants aren’t made public.’

want to compile a list,

- if it is not for the purpose to name & shame those who make FoI requests.

- use this list as a ‘Blacklist’ to be used against those who make FoI requests.

I would not expect my name(and any other details) to appear on a list compiled by the Council’s Record Manager to be submitted to Cabinet for the purpose of being named and in the opinion of the Cabinet, shamed by them for making a FoI request.

My name & address is known to all the relevant ERC Officials and ERC Councillors.

They don’t need to produce a list.

If there is a problem they can contact me directly.

Again to be clear in my opinion -

The Cabinet asked and wanted the Council Records Manager to provide a list of the names of East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers who make FoI requests and make this list available to Cabinet.

The Cabinet asked and wanted the Council Records Manager to provide details of what East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers do with the information received as a result of their FoI request, and make this information available to Cabinet.

The Cabinet asked and wanted the Council Records Manager to provide details of On Line WebSites to identify what East Renfrewshire Council Tax Payers do with the information received as a result of their FoI requests, and make this information available to Cabinet.

The Cabinet asked and wanted the Council Records Manager to provide details specifically of an On Line WebSite known as East Renfrewshire Neighbourhood Watch, and make this information available to Cabinet.

I would ask Cabinet to confirm -

- My FoI requests have been within the FoI act legislation.

- I have done nothing illegal as regards these FoI requests and have done nothing illegal with the provided answers/replies.

- that using, in any way I see fit, the information received from an FoI request as long as it is within the law, is not illegal.

- an On Line WebSite known as East Renfrewshire Neighbourhood Watch is operating within the law.

Cllr Lafferty had the opportunity to demonstrate that this was not a ‘witch-hunt’ by raising the issues I had highlighted regarding the Annual Report. I considered my comments regarding these issues both constructive and relevant to the overall balance of the report and worthy of debate by Cabinet.

Cllr Lafferty refused to do so.

In my opinion this confirmed that this Agenda Item had nothing to do with the Annual Report but was hijacked to attack those Residents/Council Tax Payers who make FoI requests.

I have attached my request to Cabinet member Cllr Lafferty below. I do not think this was an unreasonable request -

'Have read the report further.......

This is only a statistical report.

The author seems to be giving their own opinion on matters which do not concern the report -

FINANCE AND EFFICIENCY

6. The continued growth in the volume of requests is having a financial implication on the Council in terms of demands on the staffing resource. This has not been formally quantified but the impact is considered in the report

This is not relevant to this statistical report -

'It also considers the use of exemptions and fees',

If needed, under the fees section it should give the regulations of what fees can be charged and the statistical numbers of request where fees were charged.

Again this is not relevant to this statistical report -

Further guidance on the use of fees is being developed and the issue is being considered by Cabinet.

Again this is not relevant to this statistical report and anyway with the inclusion of may, casts doubt on the figures -

It is difficult to accurately quantify the financial impact of FoI but in terms of man hours, the 1296 requests received in 2017 may have cost the equivalent of approximately 4 FTE “man/years”

If the report wishes to introduce these matters then to remain impartial, the report must also attempt to quantify the benefits of FoI .

Again along with below, can you raise with the committee(and any other relevant persons) regarding the reports shortcomings.

I refer to meeting of the Cabinet to be held in the Council Chamber, East Renfrewshire Council on Thursday 5 April 2018 at 10:00am.

I refer in particular to agenda Item No. 5 - Report by Chief Officer (Legal & Procurement) Freedom of Information Annual Report 2017 and

Para 6 Fees

Further guidance on the use of fees is being developed and the issue is being considered by Cabinet.

Can you give more details on this please.

Can you give assurances that the use of fees are not to be used to deter East Renfrewshire Constituents from making FoI requests.

Can you raise the following with the committee (andany other relevant persons) regarding the reports shortcomings -

Most of the FoIs where I have had to request a review were due to ERC errors/mistakes/lack of knowledge of FoI act. These are not represented in the report.

3 recent examples of apologies from Gerry Mahon regarding FoI wrongly refused -

- 'I am however conscious that the Trust did not ask if you wished to refine your request to make it more manageable in terms of their obligation to provide reasonable advice and assistance in terms of section 15 of the Act. I would therefore apologise for this oversight and make such an offer now. Please advise if there are any specific aspects of your request which are of particular significance to you in this regard.'


- '"What confusion are you apologising for?" - I understand that the reference to confusion arose as a result of the department initially indicating to you that they held no information regarding a building conditions survey and then upon further investigation identifying and intimating that such a survey was in existence. '


- 'Having considered the terms of the Council's response I am satisfied that it does not fulfil the requirements of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 insofar as it does not provide identification of the statutory basis upon which certain information has been withheld from disclosure. This being the case, I would apologise unreservedly on behalf of the Council.'

Again the report does not emphasise that Gerry Mahon has stated FoI is normally a 2 Stage process -

'Mr Mahon, Chief Officer – Legal and Procurement, has previously clarified -

'As you will be aware the Council's response to an FOI request does not merely revolve around the initial request but also the review process. '
'It is hoped that any human error in relation to the 1st part of the process is properly remedied at the 2nd stage.' '



In my opinion the Barrhead News report reflects my opinion and view of how this Agenda Item was conducted by Cabinet.


A Council Official made a long comment at the end of the Agenda Item, but as they turned their head sideways and did not speak directly into the microphone, I did not hear what they said.

I presume their comments will be minuted.

Thanks]]>
Public Forum Thu, 10 Jan 2019 11:27:53 +0000
Subject: Special meeting Audit and Scrutiny Committee - Friday, 11 January 2019 at 2.00 pm. Call-In Notice with regard to Woodfarm Educational Trust - by: RM64 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45400-special-meeting-audit-and-scrutiny-committee-friday-11-january-2019-at-200-pm-call-in-notice-with-regard-to-woodfarm-educational-trust#45400 http://ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/45400-special-meeting-audit-and-scrutiny-committee-friday-11-january-2019-at-200-pm-call-in-notice-with-regard-to-woodfarm-educational-trust#45400 Councillors Stewart Miller (Chair), Barbara Grant (Vice-
Chair), Provost Jim Fletcher, and Councillors Charlie Gilbert, Annette Ireland, Jim McLean and Jim Swift.

AUDIT AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
A special meeting of the Audit and Scrutiny Committee will be held in the Council Chamber, Council Headquarters, Eastwood Park, Giffnock, on
Friday, 11 January 2019 at 2.00 pm.

Background -

On 6 December 2018 the Cabinet considered a report by the Director of Environment seeking approval to transfer ownership of the Woodfarm Educational Centre from the Council to the Woodfarm Educational Trust.

On Monday, 10 December, a notice calling-in the Cabinet’s decision was submitted.

The notice was signed by Councillors Gilbert, Miller, McLean, Swift and Wallace, with Councillor Wallace being the lead signatory.

The call-in notice listed a single reason for the call-in of the Cabinet’s decision, this being that it does not represent Best Value.

The alternative proposal to that agreed by the Cabinet listed on the call-in notice was that existing arrangements be retained.

In terms of the procedures for the consideration of a decision that has been
called-in, Councillor Buchanan as the relevant Convener; Councillor
Wallace as the lead signatory to the call-in; and relevant officers from the Environment Department, have been invited to attend the meeting to speak to the report, the Cabinet’s decision and the call-in notice


You can read full Agenda/Papers here -

www.eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=23652&p=0


Why should this meeting not be Webcast ?]]>
Public Forum Sun, 06 Jan 2019 18:51:41 +0000