Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Crews continue effort after clearing bins backlog

Efforts to ensure new bin routes across Leeds work efficiently are continuing this week after a special one-off day of Sunday working to clear the backlog.

Council chiefs decided to organise the extra collections on Sunday to catch up with missed bins so that refuse collectors could focus on the new, reorganised routes from Monday.

Crews were clearing up the Christmas backlog and visiting streets where reports of missed bins had been received. This included catching up on delays caused by Friday’s snowy conditions.

The day’s working successfully tackled the vast majority of the backlog, with just one estate in Seacroft being earmarked for attention on Monday instead. Back-up crews are continuing to work to help clear any further reports of missed bins to allow refuse collectors to focus on the main routes.

Cllr Tom Murray, Leeds City Council’s executive member for environmental services, said:
“We’re very pleased with the outcome from Sunday’s special collections and we are focusing now on working to get the new routes embedded and operating well.

“We know that issues around the new systems won’t be solved overnight but we have made a lot of headway and there’s a real determination within the service and across the council to make this work.”

Back-up crew routinely catch up on missed bins and anyone whose rubbish has not been collected within 48 hours of their scheduled collection day should report it by calling 0113- 222 4406.

For media enquiries please contact:
Donna Cox, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 224 3335
e-mail: donna.cox@leeds.gov.uk


Glowing report for Leeds adoption services

Leeds City Council’s adoption service is good and some areas are outstanding according to government inspectors.

Following an inspection last month, the latest Ofsted report which was published today, states that all aspects of the adoption service are good or outstanding, which resulted in an overall rating of ‘good’.

Inspectors commented that: “This is a good adoption service with significant strengths. It operates with a clear focus on providing good outcomes for children through adoption. It is well managed strategically and operationally and has made significant developments and improvements to its practice since the last inspection.”

Councillor Judith Blake, executive member responsible for children’s services said:
“This is a fantastic achievement thanks to the hard work and dedication of a great team of people who go the extra mile on a daily basis for the city’s most vulnerable children and young people.

“It is especially pleasing to note that the inspectors recognised that our staff provide outstanding support to people who’s lives have been touched by adoption – what a great achievement. All adoption service staff should be very proud.”

The service was inspected across four criteria and was found to be: good at protecting children from harm or neglect and helping them stay safe; outstanding at helping children achieve well and enjoy what they do; good at organisation; and good at helping children make a positive contribution.

The inspection report highlighted that the adoption service “provides outstanding support to people whose lives have been touched by adoption. It works proactively and creatively with other agencies and services to provide flexible, effective and well-managed support, based on the individually assess needs of the people involved.” And that “The authority’s children who require adoptive families are matched and placed with suitable, well-prepared and well-matched adopters in a timely manner.”

Nigel Richardson, director of children’s services said:

“This is a time of great change for children’s services in Leeds so it’s a great credit to everyone involved in adoption services that, despite many challenges, they have not only continued to provide an impressive service, but have helped make significant improvements as well.

“This is a great report but we will not rest on our laurels and are already working on the inspectors’ recommendations to secure future improvements.”

The report acknowledged that the adoption service had addressed all the recommendations made in the last inspection report in 2008.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713
Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk

Work begins to deliver new housing in south Leeds

Work is to begin to transform a derelict site in south Leeds into new affordable housing which will free up much needed council housing, and increase the number of affordable rented homes available to local people.

Empty land at Eastleigh Drive in Tingley is to become the site of 20 two-bedroom flats and five two-bedroom bungalows thanks to Leeds City Council’s innovative Affordable Housing Strategic Partnership.

Accent Foundation, working in conjunction with Leeds City Council, Aire Valley Homes and the Homes and Communities Agency is beginning work on the £2.3 million development.

The properties will be aimed at people aged over 55 who are under-occupying larger council homes, meaning family-sized council homes in the Tingley area will be freed up.

The site at Eastleigh Drive was included in the first phase of the Partnership’s sites as part of Leeds City Council’s commitment to increasing the city’s affordable housing.

The work can go ahead after a grant of £1.3million was secured from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

As well as delivering 25 new affordable homes, Accent Foundation will also providing an improved green space as part of the scheme.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for neighbourhoods and housing, said:
“It’s good to see that even in the face of very difficult times, we are still working to provide new housing for Leeds.
“Not only are we committed to providing new and affordable housing for the city, but by thinking strategically we can ensure it frees up much-needed council housing.”
by thinking strategically we can ensure it frees up much-needed council housing.”

For media enquiries please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council (0113) 224 3937
e-mail: michael.molcher@leeds.gov.uk

Leeds City Council vows to maintain spending on PCSOs

Leeds City Council has announced that funding for police community support officers (PCSO) will not be cut, despite the massive financial pressures of the year.

The council will spend £1.4million on PCSOs in the city next year – the same as in 2010/11.

Leeds currently has a total of 324 PSCOs working across the city. Most of those are paid for jointly by the council and West Yorkshire Police, though a small number are funded independently.

The news comes as Leeds City Council faces tough decisions in order to cut £90million from next year’s budget following the government’s public spending review.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council's executive board member for community safety and chair of the city’s crime-fighting partnership Safer Leeds, said:
“This is a very difficult time in local government and we are having to look very closely at how we spend our money. However, as a council we are not prepared to compromise on public safety.
“Police Community Safety Officers make a vital contribution to fighting crime. They also do valuable preventative work which has helped to reduce burglary and other offences in the city.
“As a council and as part of the Safer Leeds partnership we are committed to supporting neighbourhood policing. Providing funding for PCSOs is one way in which we can show that support in a practical way. “

Chief Superintendent Mark Milsom, of West Yorkshire Police's City and Holbeck Division, said:
"We are delighted at Leeds City Council's decision because it demonstrates the strength our of joint commitment to making the communities of Leeds even safer.
"The real winners from this decision will be local people in local neighbourhoods, who really value their local police community support officers."

For media enquiries please contact:
Michael Molcher, Leeds City Council (0113) 224 3937
e-mail: michael.molcher@leeds.gov.uk