Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Council to trial new approach to litter and dog fouling enforcement

In a bid to clean up streets and grot spots, the council is set to trial a firmer approach to littering and dog fouling.

More frequent, dedicated litter and dog fouling patrols will be operating in Leeds city centre and parts of west and north Leeds.

From Monday 22 April patrols, provided by officers from specialist firm 3gs, will work alongside the council’s existing team of enforcement officers.

The environmental patrols will be targeted at high profile areas in the city centre and problematic hot spots for six months.

The patrols will be a very visible reminder to residents and visitors to put their rubbish in bins or take it home with them and to pick up their dog’s mess. Bagged dog waste can be put in any street litter bin.

The patrols will be enforcing littering and dog fouling laws. If they witness anyone blatantly dropping litter or failing to pick up after their dog, they will issue £75 fixed penalty notices for those offences.

Another part of the pilot project will be a reward scheme offered by 3gs. If people are seen by officers using litter bins, they will be given the option to have their name entered into a prize draw.

In addition, 3gs intend to establish their own environmental education charity to work with schools in the areas where they have a long-term relationship with clients.

With an annual £8 million bill for street cleaning and repeated complaints from residents about rubbish and dog mess, the council hopes the presence of uniformed patrols will change attitudes and behaviour.

Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for the environment, said:

“With the financial pressures we face, we have to balance the cost of our street cleaning operations and enforcing environmental law with the needs and expectations of our residents.

“But let me be clear from the start – this is driven by residents fed up of litter and dog mess on their streets. This is not about raising money by handing out fixed penalty notices.

“We need the co-operation of residents, businesses and visitors alike to keep streets clean. We can’t afford to continually clean up after others, nor do we have the resources to be everywhere, all the time, to catch offenders.

“Our approach has always been to educate and inform people about their responsibilities and to follow this up with enforcement. But with repeated complaints from concerned residents, now is the time to test if a firmer approach to those blatantly ignoring the law will help us influence people’s attitudes to waste, bring about behaviour change and cleaner streets.”

Patrols by 3gs will be targeted at problems areas in the hope that the presence of the officers will be enough to deter people from littering or allowing their dog to foul.

If people don’t drop litter and pick up after their dogs, then they have nothing to worry about.

The trial period will allow the council to assess if the uniformed presence and zero tolerance approach will bring about the positive behaviours that the majority of residents expect to keep streets clean.

Levels of cleanliness will be monitored throughout the trial to gauge what impact is being made before decisions on the long-term future of littering and dog fouling enforcement are taken.

It’s hoped that people will act and deal with their litter properly and pick up after their dogs so that local communities, and people drawn to the city centre by prestigious developments like Trinity Leeds and the Leeds Arena, will see that high standards of cleanliness are maintained.

Notes to editors:

  • 3gs are a specialist environmental and security firm.
  • Patrols for littering will take place in the city centre. Patrols for littering and dog fouling will take place in Otley, Adel, Bramhope, Cookridge, Holt Park, Horsforth, Guiseley, Rawdon, Pool in Wharfedale, Yeadon and also on Woodhouse Moor. Other dog fouling hotspots is residential parts of these areas will benefit from patrols. 
  • Cleansing and enforcement service level agreements based on local priorities across Leeds are also making a real impact. Efforts to provide education on litter and waste to local residents means communities are seeing improvements. Backed with enforcement action where these efforts are ignored has already resulted in successful prosecutions. The trial patrols will enhance this work.
  • The council has already made changes to street cleaning operations in the city centre that means higher standards of cleanliness are maintained at no extra cost.
  • An exercise in September 2012 demonstrated the scale of the challenge that city centre street cleaning teams have to meet every day. Around five to six tonnes of rubbish collected from 450 litter bins and picked up from the streets in a 24 hour period were dumped on Briggate to show how much rubbish people generate in a short space of time.
For media enquiries please contact:
Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1577
email: amanda.l.burns@leeds.gov.uk

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Council to discuss allocation of council housing

The council has updated how it allocates its council housing stock to take account of the Localism Act and the impact of welfare changes.

At a meeting of the executive board next week (Wednesday 24 April), the board will be asked to consider a number of options for the new lettings policy, and to approve these as part of the revised policy that could be implemented in May 2013.

Following extensive consultation with the public and other stakeholders, the following changes are proposed for the policy;

- tackling antisocial behaviour and focussing on the rights and responsibilities of tenants

- committing to retaining a waiting list open to all

- plans to improve the lettings process in terms of staff training and intelligent letting to replace automated computer based letting.

- continuing to help tenants affected by welfare changes through promoting home swaps and other options available to them.

Councillor Peter Gruen, Leeds City Council executive board member for neighbourhoods, planning and support services said:

“We are today announcing some very important and fundamental changes to how we operate our Lettings Policy. Most importantly, we are suggesting returning the day- to-day management of housing to housing managers and their teams. Active, practical and knowledgeable decision making will be the basis of 'intelligent' housing management. This could replace the largely automated computer based process currently in operation. Housing managers will organise home swaps and take account of local factors when making decisions.

“The new ideas include not tolerating poor behaviour from tenants, ensuring we are meeting the needs of people with the highest need.

“We have consulted widely with our tenants, voluntary sector housing organisations and the voluntary sector to find out the policy should look. We had over 1400 responses and have incorporated feedback from the consultation into the final proposals for the new policy.”

For more information and to see a copy of the report visit www.leeds.gov.uk

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For media enquiries contact
Cat Milburn
Leeds City Council press office,
0113 2474450, Catherine.milburn@leeds.gov.uk


Council on track to implementing new social care management system

Leeds City Council has entered into an innovative shared services partnership with Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council, with the two local authorities working together to implement a new adult social care case management system in Leeds.


In a report to the council’s executive board meeting next week, an update is provided on the significant progress that has been made in Leeds towards implementing the social care case management system, which was developed and is owned by Calderdale.

The two authorities have now signed a partnership contract and established ongoing governance arrangements. Plans are in place to complete system build, development and testing by December 2013, with full implementation planned for April 2014.

Calderdale has a proven track record of system development, and adopting their Client Information System (CIS) will give social workers in Leeds a highly efficient tool to collect, store and manage information about people who use social care services in the city. It also offers a cost effective solution for Leeds’ business and technical requirements, plus the opportunity for both councils to work together,with the potential to generate revenue in the future.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive member responsible for adult social care services in Leeds said:
“I'm delighted that this innovative partnership approach with Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council is progressing on time and within budget.

"Caring for the increasing number of older, vulnerable adults in our society is one of the biggest challenges facing all local authorities across the country, and joining forces with another council to develop a flexible client management system for adult social care will deliver enormous benefits for both parties.

“Calderdale has a proven track record in system development, and by embracing the principles of civic enterprise and entering into a partnership agreement with them, we will be able to work together to develop the system further more cost effectively whilst retaining public money in the public sector.

Calderdale Council’s cabinet member for adults, health and social care, Councillor Bob Metcalfe, said:
“I’m really pleased that Calderdale and Leeds are working together on the Client Information System. It means the councils can share skills and the cost of enhancing the system – for example, to give easier access to information on our performance and services, and to develop new ways for people to access services directly on the internet.”

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For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578
Email: claire.macklam@leeds.gov.uk

Investment in the future of assistive technology in Leeds

Leeds City Council’s executive board will be asked to approve proposals for a new Assistive Technology Hub to be established in the city at their meeting next week.


The AT Hub will provide a central access point for health and social care equipment for people in the city that want support to stay in their own homes, living safely and independently for as long as possible.

Authority is being sought to spend a total of £2,170,963 on the development, using funding from the Community Capacity Grant, a capital grant from the Department of Health.

For the first time ever in Leeds, the hub will bring, under one easily-accessible and central roof:

• Assessment facilities for people needing support in the home, so they can try out different kinds of equipment and select which is best suited to their individual needs and circumstances, before making a choice.

• Round the clock new technology and helpline services to promote safety in the home for vulnerable people, such as those living with dementia, or those prone to falling whilst alone, forgetting to turn off cookers and heaters, or wandering from home.

• Services to supply, deliver and fit equipment such as specially adapted beds, chairs, bathing, kitchen and daily living devices.

• Assessments for people applying for Blue Badges to help them continue to use their own cars by taking advantage of parking and other concessions.

• A one-stop information point for older people, disabled adults and children, carers, families and professionals seeking advice on sometimes simple measures that can be taken within a vulnerable person’s home. These can often have far-reaching, beneficial effects on independence, wellbeing and safety, enabling people to continue to remain in their own familiar surroundings, with family and friends.

The development of the AT Hub will see services that are currently delivered from six sites across the city consolidated on one site, and will also offer new services that are not currently available.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, executive member for adult social care services said:
“Assistive technology is playing an increasingly important role in helping older, disabled and vulnerable people to remain living safely and independently in their own homes for as long as they are able to do so.

“Our aim is for Leeds to be the best city for health and wellbeing, and by bringing these services together under one roof, we will significantly improve access and availability for our customers.
“This investment and innovative approach to assistive technology will help us to develop preventative, re-abling, cost effective services to meet the needs of our ageing population, and remain at the forefront of AT provision nationwide.”

Leeds is well equipped in terms of AT service provision having a range of services available across the public, private and third sectors. The new AT Hub would see Leeds Community Equipment Store (LCES), Telecare, and the Blue Badge service relocate to 81 Clarence Road. Bringing these services together in one location will mean Leeds can do more to remain at the forefront of AT provision nationwide.

Given the range of AT available and the speed with which the sector is developing, it is increasingly important to make sure that information about and access to these tools and services is available to both professionals and service users.

A planned second phase of the new hub is proposed to include:

• A ‘smart house’, which would offer personalised information in a ‘demonstration home’ setting of how new technologies can help people improve vulnerable people’s quality of life and help them remain at home safely, for longer.

• An assistive technology retail unit, a showroom offering a range of equipment available both for council-assisted and self-funding customers. Products will be offered by commercial as well as statutory suppliers but all will be expected to work to the standards of the British Healthcare Retail Traders Association.

• A product testing laboratory, for suppliers, developers and innovators of assistive technology equipment. It will host product demonstrations so that service users and professionals can help influence future design and use of new technology in older and disabled people’s homes.

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Additional info
In 2010/11 Leeds Community Equipment Store (LCES) provided 16,350 adults and 738 children with equipment.

The population of over 85 year olds in Leeds is projected to increase from 17,000 in 2012 to 27,900 in 2030, an increase of over 60%.

For media enquiries, please contact;
Claire Macklam, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1578
Email: claire.macklam@leeds.gov.uk