Could be a good idea for city west to pinch?

New power for residents to assess services

Published by Hannah Wooderson for 24dash.com in Housing
Friday 31st July 2009 – 4:37pm

New power for residents to assess services New power for residents to assess services

A group of residents in Salford have been appointed to assess housing services on behalf of tenants.

The residents have been brought in by Salix Homes, Salford City Council’s housing management company, as an independent panel to ensure housing services are at the highest level.

Under the title of the Customer Senate, they will have the power to carry out assessments on any area of service.

The group will report its findings back to the organisation’s board of executives and will be able to make recommendations for service improvements.

Thirteen Salix Homes tenants have been chosen by residents to sit on the group.

These members will act as representatives for Salix Homes tenants giving them another powerful voice on local issues.

As a result of the Senate’s first inspection into the service offered by Salix Direct, the company’s telephone support service for residents, changes are being put in place for the benefit of customers.

Alison Hill, Salix Homes’ director of improvement and customer service said: “The idea of a group like this was first promoted by our customers and we’ve taken it forward to develop this panel of residents, which we believe is one of the first of its kind in the country.


“We are working towards giving tenants more opportunities to self regulate services so that they meet the needs and expectations of the people who use them.

“The appointment of this group is a step in that direction and we’re really keen to ensure that it becomes well established in the community.”

Chair of the Customer Senate and Pendleton resident Colin Marchbank-Smith added: “Local people have been keen for a committee of residents to be set up to give them more of a say on services and we feel very lucky to have been able to work with Salix Homes to establish a model where customers can have a real influence.


“As the chair of the Senate I’d like to reassure residents that it’s our job to represent them and ensure services meet the need of tenants across central Salford.

“We will be looking at a number of different housing services throughout the year and would like to encourage residents to get in touch with us if they have any issues or concerns about any services in particular.”

The panel can be contacted at customer.senate@salixhomes.org

 

Good news any funding or help for this city is welcome.

Promise of 800 new jobs for young people

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Promise of 800 new jobs for young people

At least 800 new jobs will be created in Salford over the next two years as the whole of Greater Manchester shares in the government’s Future Jobs Fund.

More than £5 million will be pumped into Salford’s economy, creating jobs in public services over and above the normal level of spending.

The aim of the fund is to target people in the 18-24 age bracket, offering jobs in such diverse areas as street repairs, housing refurbishment, the care sector, community workers and health.

Salford worked closely with other Greater Manchester authorities to bid for cash from the FJF. Altogether they were awarded £52 million to fund around 8,000 new jobs.

Councillor John Merry, Salford City Council leader, said: “This is a very welcome boost for the city and is an important strand of the council’s work in tackling the local impacts of the global recession.

“There has been phenominal interest from a whole range of public and voluntary sector organisations in creating opportunities for local people, starting in October.”


 

I’m a scouser who went to Salford university many years ago. I lived on langworthy road. And I have good and bad experiences of the place

Bad:
Langworthy Pub
1) Once I was in it and it was blocaded and then set on fire by the local kids
2) ‘once I was in there and a guy came in and shot the back of the bar with a shot gun (but got a free pint when he ran out)

Indian guy from motor spares shot was robbed for £40 and was shot in the knee

There was a group of 14yo girls at the time going around indescrimiatly stabbing people

The centre was being protected by some vigilante group (the ones with berets)

Good:

My electric needed a card which you chrged up at the hole in the wall in shopping centre – everyone but me went back for the weekend and didnt leave me a card – the local shop keeper (justoff nadine street) sent his young daughter and bought some vouchers for me on his card at about 10 o’clock at night

same as many place – poverty and despair breeds crime but also some people who know the importance of helping each other –

I agree that discipline and respect is degrading daily and sarted when there was nothing left to respect

Sad when this is how someone discribes my city?

About time people over 65 deserve a decent living standard.

MPs urge action on pensioner poverty

MPs urge action on pensioner poverty

The government should ensure the same commitment to eradicating pensioner poverty as to ending child poverty, MPs have said.

The Commons work and pensions committee found it “unacceptable” that two million pensioners remain in poverty, 1.1 million of them living on under half of average income.

Despite the overall figure for pensioner poverty being lower than it was in 1997, with one in five pensioners classed as living in relative poverty, the committee is calling for further government action.

MPs called on the government to increase the allowance provided to pensioners in residential care, from the current £21.90 to £40 to “allow them to live fulfilled lives, and to keep up contact with their families”.

The committee urged that the default retirement age of 65 be scrapped and that older workers be given protection from discrimination.

Committee chairman Terry Rooney said the compulsory retirement age was “discriminatory, bad for society, bad for older people and bad for the economy”. “It has to go.”

MPs called on councils to focus on ensuring easier access for different benefits through the introduction of a single phone line for pensioners, to avoid claims being lost.

And the report warned of recessions past, calling on the department to avoid disproportionate numbers of older workers losing their jobs and “a life of poverty in retirement”.

“The government has committed to eradicating child poverty, now it needs to commit to eradicating pensioner poverty,” explained Rooney.

“Many government strategies have worked well in the past but are now showing diminishing returns.


“The government needs to develop new and innovative programmes to lift pensioners out of poverty.”


Responding to the report, pensions minister Angela Eagle said the government had already shown a commitment to eradicating pensioner poverty by lifting more than 900,000 pensioners out of poverty since 1997.


She added: “We recognise there is more to do, which is why even in these difficult economic times, we have targeted an extra £4bn to helping our pensioners this year.”


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What a joke this story is Mr Healey, councils have no housing stock to allocate!!

Healey: Councils to be given more control over social housing allocations

Published by Jon Land for 24dash.com in Housing
Friday 31st July 2009 – 1:46pm

Healey: Councils to be given more control over social housing allocationsHealey: Councils to be given more control over social housing allocations

Housing Minister John Healey has today taken steps to give people confidence that councils allocate housing in their area fairly.

It forms part of the Prime Minister’s Housing Pledge to improve access to housing by giving councils a bigger role in meeting the needs of people in their area, and clamping down on tenancy cheats who unlawfully sub-let their properties for a profit.

Draft guidance published today makes clear that first priority for housing must be given to those in greatest housing need. But it also strengthens the freedoms councils have to prioritise needs specific to their local area.

This could include:

  • Attracting people with particular skills into an area
  • Giving priority to those who have been on housing waiting lists for a long time
  • Supporting people in work – particularly those on low incomes

The draft guidance also makes clear the need for councils to tackle the myths and misunderstandings surrounding allocations, by doing more to inform their communities about who is getting housing, and to consult tenants and residents when setting their local priorities, so that allocations policies are better understood and have greater legitimacy among local people.

Mr Healey also launched plans for a coordinated crackdown this autumn on people who cheat the housing system and profit from subletting their council house or housing association home. This anti-fraud drive, the first of its kind, could free up between 5,000 and 10,000 homes for those who need them over this and next year. There is a waiting list of 18,000 alone in Salford….

This multi-million pound anti-fraud drive includes a data sweep of housing and benefit records, and new practical advice for councils and housing associations on the best way to catch tenancy cheats – including on setting up local hotlines, and special crack squads to investigate reports of fraud.

This initiative is supported by the Audit Commission, National Housing Federation, Chartered Institute of Housing, the Tenant Services Authority and the Local Government Association.

Councils that sign up to this commitment and agree to work with local housing associations will benefit from a share of £4million to help them start their own anti-fraud initiatives.

John Healey said: “People must have more confidence that decisions about who gets housing are taken fairly. This means better information for residents, so that local authorities’ allocation policies are clear, well understood and meet the needs of the whole community. It also means councils making the most of the greater leeway I’m giving them in the new guidance to allocate homes according to local needs.

“But this is only one side of the equation. Anyone getting council or housing association homes should stick to the same rules as everyone else. So today, I am also announcing a coordinated crackdown on the tenancy cheats who profit from unlawfully sub-letting their home. This could free up thousands of properties for people who really need them.

“These two measures combined present a valuable opportunity to tackle head-on the myths and false perceptions around social housing. By working together and with local residents, councils and housing associations can ensure fairness in allocations.”

The plans come as an Ipsos-Mori poll shows more people disagree (32 per cent) than agree (23 per cent) that the way local authority housing is allocated is fair – while 45 per cent simply do not know enough about how housing is allocated in their area.

The survey also found that 81 per cent agreed that social housing tenants who abuse the conditions of their tenancy should not be allowed to stay in their homes.

Housing experts have suggested that the number of social homes unlawfully sub-let by tenants could range from one in 100 to as many as one in 20 in some inner-city hotspots.

Some councils have found that recovering a property that has been unlawfully sublet can cost as little as £4,000, whilst the total cost of building a new social home can be well over £100,000.

Steve Bundred, Chief Executive of the Audit Commission, said: “For every illegal tenancy there is a homeless tenant or family who stands to lose out. This is because housing which should have been theirs is occupied illegally by some one else holding two or more tenancies. It also represents a waste of taxpayers’ money.

“We are delighted to be working with government and local authorities on this initiative to root out the fraudsters who exploit the social housing system for personal gain.

“Extending our National Fraud initiative will help to prevent this type of fraud occurring in future.”

David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: “Subletting social housing is not only unlawful, but it deprives people in pressing need of affordable housing. At a time of recession and growing waiting lists this is unacceptable.

“It’s because this scandal is compounding the national housing crisis that we are fully behind this drive.”

Sarah Webb, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Housing said: “Every year almost 200,000 people get the keys to a good quality, affordable home in communities up and down the country. With shortages of affordable rented housing the way that these homes are allocated is critical.

“Local councils and housing associations have a shared responsibility to house people who are in real need and a shared responsibility and motivation to help build strong communities. But we know that there can be real tensions around who gets priority and access to affordable housing.

“CIH believes today’s announcements are an important measure in providing local communities with a greater say in the allocation of affordable housing, something that in turn can help tackle some of the myths that exist around waiting lists.”

Chief Executive of the Tenant Services Authority, Peter Marsh, said: “The TSA exists to ensure that current and potential tenants are protected. We believe that action should be taken when people are abusing the system and profiting from sub-letting.”


Sam Younger, chief executive of Shelter said: “Our desperate shortage of social housing makes the allocation of social housing an incredibly difficult decision and Shelter believes it must be made on the basis of greatest housing need.

“We are calling on local authorities to continue to use their powers to ensure those with the greatest housing need are allocated social housing so that the most vulnerable people in society continue to access a decent home.

“We will continue to highlight cases where we think this is not being put into practice.”

 

Motorists to pay £250 parking tax, well lets hit the motorist again!!!

Motorists who drive to work face having to pay a £250 ‘parking tax’ under a scheme to be announced by ministers today. The country’s first ‘workplace parking levy’ will come into force in Nottingham in 2012 and is likely to be adopted by other councils. Councils in Milton Keynes, Exeter, Cambridge and Oxford have expressed interest in the scheme the paper reports. Birmingham, Manchester, Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle and Sheffield are also thought to be interested. The British Chambers of Commerce gave a warning that it could cost companies £3.4 billion a year if every English council followed Nottingham’s example.

What planet does this women live on, come and talk to the residents of Salford Luv..

Esther: Blears right not to go

PROSPECTIVE MP Esther Rantzen has backed Hazel Blears’ decision not to quit Parliament in the wake of the expenses scandal.

The TV presenter, who has announced plans to stand on an anti-sleaze ticket at the next general election, backed the under-fire Salford MP on a visit to Manchester.

She said politicians do ‘good work in the community’, deserve a ‘second chance’ and should be judged by the voters on polling day.

Esther, founder and president of ChildLine, spoke about her bid to become an MP in Luton as she met volunteers at the charity’s refurbished call centre in Manchester.

The former That’s Life star said: “I think people want to see politicians who have not sought a professional career in politics, who have had careers elsewhere. I think all of us feel that. Parliament’s been a private club too long.”

Expenses

Esther plans to stand for Parliament as an independent in Luton South, the seat being vacated by MP Margaret Moran over her expenses.

But Esther backed Hazel Blears’s decision not to resign her seat when she stepped down from the government in the wake of the expenses scandal.

Mrs Blears was criticised for avoiding a capital gains tax bill of more than £13,000 on the sale of a flat in London. She later repaid the money.

Asked what she thought, Esther said: “It’s important the voters have a chance to decide. If someone is doing extremely good work locally, they deserve a second chance.”