Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Council pledges continued support for older people

The results of a tendering exercise for the community self-help schemes known as ‘neighbourhood networks’ in Leeds will be announced this week.

The tendering process was set up to make sure that all the networks deliver the same high standards of support and achieve the best possible outcomes for older people in the city.

Over 40 organisations were invited to bid for five-year contracts, which if successful, will give them greater security to plan ahead and develop their services knowing that they have long-term funding, particularly in the current uncertain financial climate.

Leeds neighbourhood networks have gained national acclaim for their work in supporting older people and helping them to stay in their own homes, living independently for as long as possible, and were also praised in the Audit Commission's 'Under Presssure' report, which was published last week. They organise a range of activities like help with gardening, DIY, shopping, exercise, classes, housing and money advice. They are voluntary support organisations, mostly charities, and are mainly run by volunteers.

The council provided funding to help with the initial set up of the networks in 1993 and, along with NHS partners, have continued to fund them on an annual basis ever since. The schemes accept referrals from adult social care and health services, and can be accessed by any older person.

Neighbourhood networks currently provide support to around 25,000 older people in the city. The council and it’s NHS partners have pledged to continue to invest in these networks and the older people they help by spending over £1.7million per annum for the next five years. An additional £360k has been put into the neighbourhood network budget for the next financial year.

Councillor Peter Harrand, executive board member with responsibility for adult social care said:
“The award of new long term contracts to these organisations is confirmation of the council’s pledge to continue supporting older people in Leeds.

“Neighbourhood networks do a tremendous job and currently support around 25,000 older people in the city. These new contracts will formalise our arrangements with them and secure their long-term future by moving them on from hand to mouth funding to the security of long-term contracts.

“It will give them the confidence to develop their businesses and tailor their services even more closely to the unique needs of their local communities.

“Leeds network of neighbourhood organisations is the envy of towns and cities from all over the country, who are keen to learn from our work. These new contracts will enable them to achieve new levels of excellence for the benefit of older people in the city.”

Notes to editors

The decision about which organisations have been successful in the tendering process will be announced w/c 22 February. The decision will not become effective until 12 March 2010.

Council funding for neighbourhood networks will be £1,716,000 per annum for the next five years. Total annual funding per annum will be £1,982,000 including cash from NHS.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578

Council leaders in call to stamp out insecure locks

Council leaders have joined forces with police, trading standards and industry specialists to stamp out the use of insecure household locks in Leeds.

Door manufacturers and locksmiths who attended a meeting at Leeds Civic Hall on Monday were told that locks fitted with Eurocylinders were known to be easy targets for burglars.

The meeting was organised by West Yorkshire Police and hosted by Safer Leeds, the city’s Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership, to draw attention to the problems caused by the widespread use of Eurocylinders in the city.

Delegates were told that snapped euro-cylinder locks accounted for 20 per cent of all domestic burglary in West Yorkshire and West Yorkshire Trading Standards said, in future, traders who fitted poor quality locks could face legal consequences.

Councillor Les Carter, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for Community Safety and chair of Safer Leeds, said:
“This is a problem that the police are aware of but you are the experts. We need your help to tackle it if we are to reduce burglary in the city.”

Assistant Chief Constable David Evans from West Yorkshire Police said:
“Tackling this issue of insecure locks is a vital part of our overall strategy to reduce burglary. We need to create a climate where everyone understands the importance of fitting safer locks.”

Graham Hebblethwaite, Chief Officer for West Yorkshire Trading Standards, said:
“In future traders who fit locks they know to be insecure could face prosecution under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations which require traders to use their professional expertise and not leave their customers exposed to known domestic security risks.
“I would urge you to take forward this message and use it in your own marketing. We want you to be reliable and not liable.”

Safer Leeds staff will be following up those traders who had failed to attend the event to ensure they understood the seriousness of the situation.

West Yorkshire Police advise householders to install locks which conform to British Standard EN 1303:2005 and carry the BSI Kite Mark.

Anyone wishing to check the security of their homes can call CASAC for a free survey on 0845 5192122

For media enquiries please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council (0113) 224 3937