Thursday, 21 April 2011

CWaC fails in promise to do better

Last minute panic for aspiring Northwich councillors. Brian Jamieson, from Northwich’s Labour Group, said this caused issues for prospective candidates because the wrong Electoral Register had been sent out, which candidates need to fill in their nomination forms.

Brian said: “It would have been a problem if I hadn’t intervened because they’d issued all the registers in the old wards.”

Brian had a list of the new wards from the Boundary Commission but some candidates were still working from a list of the old wards, which had been provided by Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC).

A spokesman for Cheshire West and Chester (CWAC) said: “There was an issue with the candidates because registers were sent out containing the old ward names.

My comment: They sent out some wrong registers last year, just what is the problem with Cheshire West and Chester Council? They even promised to do better because of the debacle last year. This article appears to prove they have failed miserably.

Read the full story from the source Northwich Guardian

May elections: CWaC council, we promise to do better

Cheshire West and Chester Council has offered this assurance after eating humble pie in 2010 when 157 postal votes weren’t processed in time and some polling stations were supplied with an out-of-date electoral register.

At the last general election some areas of the country saw queuing outside polling stations in the run-up to the 10pm deadline resulting in some electors not being allowed to vote.

My comment: Steve Robinson, the returning officer and chief executive officer didn't prevent the chaotic organisation of the 2010 elections nor stop incorrect electoral registers being sent to some polling stations. Doesn't give me confidence that CWaC Council is being run properly. Especially since this last few months we have seen his 'solutions team' wanting to illegally charge for FOI requests and the Council inserting potentially illegal terms in compromise agreements

Read more about CWaC council's voting cock up from the source Chester Chronicle

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

What has CWaC Council done for us?

THE local elections are almost upon us and will probably be greeted with voter apathy as usual.

A while ago, the Guardian carried an article on the front page showing pictures of the Northwich CWAC councillors and asked what had they done for us. I think that question is still as relevant today.

This is the same, council that thought it was a great idea to spend £20 million (of your money) moving into a shiny new headquarters.

I don’t care who you vote for but please consider exactly what CWAC has done for us over the past three years.

My comment: £20 million?.... Plus the money they are going to have to be spend within the next few years on repairs and maintenance. An FOI in a few years will prove if the new headquarters were as good a buy as they now argue it is.

Read Simon Barnes' full letter from the source Northwich Guardian

Saturday, 16 April 2011

‘Gagged’ ex-employee of CWaC Council mounts legal challenge

A FORMER council employee is taking legal action against Cheshire West and Chester Council over a ‘gagging clause’ he signed on leaving the authority.

Paul Cardin, a former lighting design engineer, had previously raised allegations about a senior council manager sparking an external investigation.

My comment: Why have so many councils attempted to silence potential whistle blowers? Wirral Council, Brent Council, Suffolk County Council and Cheshire West and Chester Council to name but a few. Just what have they got to hide?

Read the full story from the source Chester Chronicle

Friday, 15 April 2011

CWaC charge homecoming parade soldiers for tea and coffee

The soldiers were supposed to be given free drinks at the hall, run by Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC), but an administrative error meant the instruction did not reach staff until it was too late.

My comment: As I stated in a previous post CWaC Council couldn't organise a binge in a brewery let alone a cup of tea for our soldiers during their homecoming parade.

Read the full story from the source Northwich Guardian

Thursday, 14 April 2011

City university and council chiefs criticised over student housing

CAMPAIGNERS have accused the city’s university and council chiefs of failing to control ‘spiralling’ student numbers in Chester following a heated public debate on the matter.

“On the night the Bell Developments proposal was subject of both opposition and support, but it was the council and university that were the subject of strong words of criticism for what residents from across the city generally agree was a failure to control a spiralling increase in student houses in multiple occupancy in Chester’s residential streets.”

The statement from Chester Communities Together added: “The independently chaired meeting saw speaker after speaker from many areas of Chester voice strong criticism of CWAC for what they claim is a long standing failure to audit and responsibly manage this growth in student numbers by way of planning and delivering dedicated student accommodation away from residential streets.

My comment: CWaC Council couldn't organise a street party for the Royal wedding, or should that be a binge in a brewery? 

Read the full story from the source Cheshire First

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Another gaff by air guitar playing Cheshire West MP Graham Evans

AN MP launched a scathing attack on Northwich’s Labour Party candidates in Parliament after they organised a petition against car park charges in town.

Now the Labour group will write to the Speaker of the House of Commons to demand an apology from Weaver Vale MP Graham Evans.

“We’re going to write to the Speaker because we want an apology for the people of Northwich – why should Graham Evans say we’ve done things we haven’t done?

“We never said there was going to be charges – Mr Evans has completely misrepresented the consultation petition signed by 1,200 Northwich residents in Parliament.

“It is he who should apologise to the people of Northwich and the House of Commons for so openly misleading them."

“Mr Evans has obviously never seen our public petition, for the record it is worded: ‘A response to Cheshire West and Chester Council’s consultation on the possible introduction of charges on the council’s Northwich town centre car parks. I object to the introduction of car parking charges for Northwich town centre car parks’.

My comment: I think he should stick to playing the air guitar in Parliament.

Read the full story from the source Northwich Guardian

Thirteen bosses at CWaC Council are in the £100,000 club

ALL top 13 managers at Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC) are receiving financial packages worth more than £100,000. The Taxpayers’ Alliance has published its annual Town Hall Rich List for UK local authorities in 2009/2010.

Heading the CWaC payroll is chief executive Steve Robinson with a salary of £180,000 plus pension contributions and benefits in kind totalling £218,000.

My comment: I even got a mention in the article "Trevor Nunn, who runs the CWaC Watch website, said: “Thirteen staff paid over £100,000 last year by Cheshire West and Chester Council. £1,684,426 in total for just 13 staff, an average of £129,571 each. Who got the cream!” Read the post in question.

Read the full story from the source Ellesmere Port Pioneer

Youth workers label council 'clueless'

SUPPORTERS of a popular summer scheme in Winsford, which has ended this year due to council cuts, have accused Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWAC) of getting its figures wrong. CWAC’s claims it will continue to contribute 25 per cent of the administration costs, as well as premises costs and staff wages.

Maggie Anderson, co-ordinator for the Winsford Youth Forum, said: “They are only contributing five per cent towards administration costs and 20 per cent on weekend youth work. “By removing the structure and stating that they are cutting back on office costs in line with council priorities is in fact removing activities for young people – as a local charity we do not have back office costs.

“Further to this, the Council do not pay for the Marina premises costs which is the building we will be vacating from.”

Mike Kennedy, chairman of the Winsford Youth Forum Action group has labelled the CWAC Council ‘clueless’.

He said: “I have sadly found that CWAC is about as believable and trustworthy as the old Cheshire County Council and that doesn't say a lot, at least with the old County Council you could see them coming before they mugged you. 

My comment: Well said, I and many others also think they are clueless. Just like Cheshire County Council they are always spinning a line. It's just that Cheshire West and Chester Council are a little more devious than the old Cheshire County Council.

Read the full story from the source  Winsford Guardian

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Developer still cutting grass verges on Rookery Rise

Cheshire West and Chester Council have, on numerous occasions, stated that Rookery Rise is fully adopted. However, within the last few days a private contractor working for a Developer has been cutting some of the grass verges on Rookery Rise (specifically between Pinetree and Beechfields), something they wouldn't do if the road was adopted because if it was it would clearly be the responsibility of the Council.

In addition the contractor also cut the grass on the open space and the play area adjacent to Linwood and Firtree, so the questions remains,
  1. is this part of Rookery Rise adopted or not?
  2. is the open space adopted or not?
  3. is the play area adopted or not?
If they are adopted, then why is a Developer still carrying out maintenance work 10 years after they were completed? If they aren't adopted, it would explain why the Developer is still carrying out maintenance work but that would mean Cheshire West and Cheshire Council and their predecessors, have been lying over the adopted status of the road for the last 10 years.

Looks like the only thing Cheshire West and Chester Council have adopted is the deceitful ways of Cheshire County Council and Vale Royal Borough Council.

Unlawful gagging clauses?

Cheshire West & Chester Council and Brent Council have both imposed restrictions which prohibit former employees making requests under the Freedom of Information and Data Protection acts.

My comment: Both Councils have been caught out in the past by bloggers when they tried to push the envelope of 'legality'. 

Read the full story from the source Paul Cardin

Friday, 8 April 2011

Error-filled letter about English courses sent out by CWaC

Private Eye features an error-filled letter about English courses sent out by Cheshire West and Chester Council.

Cheshire West and Chester Council accepts the letter, which contains four spelling mistakes and two grammatical errors, should have been checked.

My comment: It's not the fault of the person who sent the letter it's the fault of their supervisor. They knew the person responsible was dyslexic but didn't bother to check their work. Not the first time that those in charge at CWaC don't check things properly.

Read the full story from the source Chester Chronicle 

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

CWAC Council still griping about the cost of FOI

CHESHIRE West and Chester Council (CWaC) says the cost of answering requests under the Freedom of Information, Data Protection Act and Environmental Information Regulations is ‘significant’.

The council, in response to an Freedom of Information (FOI) request, says the cost is ‘very difficult to quantify’ because the number of enquiries received differs as does the complexity of each question.

Previously CWaC estimated answering FOIs cost about £250,000 per year in officer time when justifying a charging policy.

The Solutions Team, comprising one full-time and one part-time officer, handles such requests and also manages a network of about 90 ‘champions’ who disseminate complaints, correspondence and requests throughout their service area and collate the response. This role is in addition to the champions’ ‘day job’.

My comment: What the morons in charge don't appear to understand is the same applies to every service they are legally obliged to provide. Yet we never hear them gripe about the cost of those. Me thinks it's more to do with their fear of exposure than the costs involved. In addition if they published the information in the first place, as many good councils do, they would significantly reduce the number of FOI requests.

Read the full story from the source Ellesmere Port Pioneer