Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Leeds City Council agrees changes to staff conditions

Leeds City Council has agreed changes to staff terms and conditions as part of its ongoing efforts to deal with greatly reduced budgets over the past few years.

The council’s General Purposes Committee today unanimously accepted proposals to change some local terms with staff. The plans received cross-party support from all political groups on the council. They include removal of some historical payment arrangements, introducing a redundancy policy and reducing spending on travel, including mileage rates and car allowance payments.

The council has been in talks with unions over a number of months about how to reduce employment costs while protecting key public services and jobs as far as possible, taking feedback from them into account.

Leeds City Council deputy chief executive Alan Gay said:
“While we hope to continue talking to unions over the coming months we have to act now as we deal with very significant further cuts to our budget over the coming year. We have done everything we can so far to be more efficient in order to continue our focus on protecting vulnerable people while managing our finances properly.

“We value our staff and acknowledge that they have had little or no pay increase over the past five years and these changes will have minimal impact on take home pay for the vast majority of employees. We’re very much committed to continuing to do the best we can to provide essential council services to the people of Leeds.”

Ways in which the council has achieved significant savings to its costs in the light of reducing budgets over the past few years include:
• significantly reducing the number of senior manager posts by 22% since 2010;
• reducing agency spend;
• restricting recruitment;
• supporting staff wherever possible to leave the council through the voluntary Early Leaver Initiative (ELI). Over 2,000 staff have left since the scheme was launched;
• a cost of living rise of just 1% for the majority of staff over the past four (with no increase for senior management);
• no cost of living rise for staff over the past three years (four years for senior management);
• developing more flexible roles/job descriptions (to reduce the need for recruitment / agency / overtime spend);
• actively promoting voluntary reductions in working hours/working weeks;
• ongoing work to further reduce sickness absence ;
• reviewing existing temporary payments and acting up arrangements.


For media enquiries please contact:
Donna Cox, Communications Manager, Press & Media Relations
Leeds City Council press office
T: 0113- 224 3335 m: 07891- 270582
email: donna.cox@leeds.gov.uk



ENDS

Quality tenant payback from Leeds City Council


Leeds housing tenants are to be on the receiving end of a bold initiative from Leeds City Council as new homes are targeted to tenants with good tenancy records and local connections.

Councillor Peter Gruen, executive board member with responsibility for neighbourhoods, planning and personnel, said:

“It is only right that new homes go to people who will look after them.

“We will let three quarters of the new flats and houses we are delivering in Beeston Hill and Holbeck to council tenants who already live in local wards. The remaining quarter will be let to people with a local connection who are in employment; training as a keyworker, or living in high rise flats with children. We’ll also prioritise overcrowded households and members or former members of the armed forces and their partners.

“The council’s new letting policy means only letting these new homes to people who have an excellent tenancy record. Applicants being considered can expect the council to visit their home and carry out an inspection of their property – both inside and outside – to ensure the criterion for allocations is being met.”

Notes for editors:

Interested applicants must have an application registered the Leeds Homes Register and bid for the property when advertised by Leeds Homes. Those who have applied to Leeds Homes can check their application is still active.

To find out more visit www.leeds.gov.uk/buildinghomes

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For media enquiries, please contact:

Phil Morcom
Communications and Marketing team, Leeds City Council,

Tel: 0113 395 0244
Fax: 0113 247 4736
www.leeds.gov.uk

Centenary commemoration marking start of the First World War to be held on 4 August


[Picture Caption] First World War medal and prayer book, moving excerpts marked with petals. ©Leeds Museums & Galleries, photography by Sara Porter.

An act of remembrance and reflection will take place at Victoria Gardens next week, forming part of a programme of events in Leeds marking the beginning of the First World War one hundred years ago.

Held on 4 August 2014, members of the public are invited from 10.45pm to 11.15 pm to gather at Victoria Gardens to remember and reflect on the moment when the declaration of war was signed in 1914. There will be readings, a short item of music and the illumination and then dimming of the First World War Light specially created by the Leeds Lights Team which is part of the national initiative LIGHTS OUT. As part of the LIGHTS OUT campaign, people are being invited to leave on or turn off a single light or candle between 10pm and 11pm. The inspiration for this initiative is taken from the famous statement by the foreign secretary of the time Sir Edward Gray who said: “The lamps are going out all over Europe: we shall not see them lit again in our life time.”

Councillor Keith Wakefield, Leader of Leeds City Council said:

“The legacy of the First World War had a profound effect in so many different ways, and it is only right that here in Leeds we pay our own tributes to the sacrifices of those people who served their country at home and abroad.

“With partners we have put together a programme of activities, events and exhibitions that over the four years of the Commemoration we  hope will offer a compelling insight into the very real impact the war had not on just on an international and national level, but also in Leeds and on its people.

“This will include the council marking the moment on Monday 4 August when war was declared in 1914, with a special act of reflection and remembrance held in Victoria Gardens, which will feature readings and the illumination of the First World War Light which is part of the national LIGHTS OUT initiative.”

Earlier in the day, Leeds City Council’s Museums and Libraries will also be opening two exhibitions on the 4 August to mark the event.

Held at Leeds City Museum, the ‘But Not Forgotten’ display will offer a poignant and reflective insight into the First World War through letters, photographs and objects in museums and galleries collections. Working with writer Mary Cooper and photographer Ian Glover, this exhibition will explore imagined attitudes to war from perspectives at both home and abroad.

An exhibition featuring images of Leeds during the First World War is also set to open at Leeds Central Library. Aspects of Leeds during the Great War will offer range of interesting information, including material from the munitions factory at Barnbow, the National Ordnance factories and the Leeds Flag Day Committees. Central to the exhibition will be the culmination of an Arts Council funded project centred on a scrapbook compiled by the Matron of Gledhow Hall hospital during the war.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for digital and creative technologies, culture and skills said:

“A key aim of our commemoration programme is to really engage with people of all ages and generations in our communities on the many facets of the First World War both at home and abroad.

“Some aspects of the conflict are more well-known than others, and this is a chance through our work to highlight a range of areas that despite having a lower profile were just as vital.

“On 4 August, as part of the centenary commemorations remembering the beginning of the First World War, we will be through our museum and libraries launching two exhibitions that promise to be not only interesting, but also very poignant.”

Notes to editors:

For more information regarding the LIGHTS OUT campaign, please see: http://www.1418now.org.uk/lights-out/

Involved in the council’s individual programme are Leeds Museums and Galleries, who will be leading on exhibitions and events, and the library and information service covering a range of themes. These include hospitals, industries, the armed forces, literature, war and peace, the warfront, the role of women, the home front and how the war affected young people and their families. These teams will be joined in the planning by children’s services, arts development and the art team. The council has also being working closely with the University of Leeds through its Legacies of War programme featuring major research projects, is examining a range of historical, cultural and social legacies.

For more information on the global commemoration of the First World War Centenary, please see the Imperial War Museums website at: http://www.1914.org/ or the University of Leeds: www.arts.leeds.ac.uk/legaciesofwar

For media enquiries, please contact;
Colin Dickinson, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 39 51578
Email: colin.dickinson@leeds.gov.uk

Leeds Minster:
Poetry by Leeds born and legendary Padre "Woodbine Willie" (Father Geoffrey Studdert-Kennedy) with music of the period sung by Anita Wiencelewski and Quentin Brown will underpin a Candlelit Vigil at Leeds Minster from 10 – 11 pm, led by Rector of Leeds, Canon Tony Bundock.

For more information please contact;  simon@simonlindley.org.uk

Summer holiday fun is a Breeze as popular events return




Caption: Young people enjoying one of last year's popular Breeze on Tour events.

Thousands of local young people are expected to flock to Temple Newsam for some free fun in the sun this week.

The event on Wednesday and Thursday from 1pm-5pm will the first of this summer’s Breeze on Tour activities, and will include a packed programme of inflatables, sports and art workshops for young people to enjoy.

Last summer's Breeze events attracted more than 21,000 young people, with up to 3,000 expected to be at Temple Newsam this week.

An opening time of 11-12pm for young people with additional needs is also available through pre-booking by calling 0113 3783167.

Further events will be held at Roundhay Park on Aug 6 and 7, and Kirkstall Abbey on Aug 13 and 14.

Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, Leeds City Council’s executive member for digital and creative technologies, culture and skills, said:

“Our Breeze on Tour events have become one of the highlights of the summer for young people in Leeds and I’m sure this year will be no exception.

“These events are a great opportunity for children and young people to come along, join thousands of others their own age and try some activities that are
fun, free and different.

“It’s also something parents can take their kids along to and get them out and about over the summer holidays without breaking the bank.”

All activities are free but some charges apply at the fairground zone and refreshment stalls.

Some height restrictions will apply and height charts will be available throughout the area.
As well as Breeze on Tour, Mini Breeze events will also be taking place at locations across Leeds throughout the summer.

To attend, just being a BreezeCard or sign up for one at the event. Accompanying adults don't need a BreezeCard.

For more information about Breeze events including a full list of events and location, visit: www.breezeleeds.org/breezeontour

ENDS

For more details, contact:
Communications Officer
Leeds City Council
Tel: 0113 224 3937