Star date: 10th June 2013


The Salford Star has called off its two week old strike against Salford Council's attitude towards the city's independent community press, to expose its attitude towards its own citizens.

Over the last few weeks the Council has been forced to apologise for the way it treats Salford people and we're now hearing of many cases where the community has similar experiences to the Star. So we ask `Is Salford the rudest council in England?'

Full details here…


And the Salford Star thought it was just the city's only independent community press that was totally blanked by Salford Council – with Freedom of Information requests hitting the bin; questions to the press office ignored at will; legal accounts queries illegally blocked; and emails to a `neutral' senior officer (Martin Vickers, as you ask) about the ethical standards of its Assistant Mayor, ignored for months (click here for full details)…

…But no! While the Salford Star has been on strike, a formal case has come to light which shows that the Council's rudeness seems to be endemic…

As part of the cuts to Adult Social Care, Salford Council wanted to replace overnight carers at Monks Hall Grove with its `Telecare' service – basically substituting human carers with a telephone. Only one problem – some of the residents at Monks Hall couldn't use telephones.

Their relatives wrote to Sue Lightup, Salford's Strategic Director for Community, Health and Social Care, and Councillor Peter Connor, Assistant Mayor for Adult Social Services, to express their concerns and ask for a meeting about the bonkers proposal - but their emails and calls were totally ignored.

After the relatives complained to the Local Government Ombudsman it took three months for the Council to respond and even longer before they got a formal apology…Sue Lightup admitting "very poor communication and follow up from myself" and Chief Executive Barbara Spicer stating "the main failure was without doubt communication".

Bob Goodall, whose son Richard would have been affected had the Telecare proposals gone ahead, now wants Assistant Mayor Peter Connor taken to the Council's Standards Committee for repeatedly ignoring his emails and calls.

The Salford Star says `Good luck with that one Bob! You may be waiting months, like us, for a reply from Standards officer Martin Vickers - it might be back to the Ombudsman for you!'*

Meanwhile, a trawl through the Comments section of the Salford Star website shows the trials and tribulations of people, including an ex-councillor, who have tried to write to Salford City Mayor Ian Stewart about various issues with absolutely no response, except for an auto-reply.

We were even contacted last week by a woman who went to the trouble of sending Chief Executive Barbara Spicer a registered letter four months ago and is still awaiting a response.

And we thought it was just the Salford Star that was being dissed – it appears that ignoring emails and calls to senior officers, councillors and the Mayor is almost routine. For this reason we are dubbing Salford Council the rudest in England...

The Salford Star strike certainly had an affect, firstly in bringing wider attention to Salford Council's blatant illegal actions in ignoring Freedom of Information requests and blocking accounts information. Secondly, the strike was successful in that the Council did actually finally provide answers for information requested up to nine months ago (see here).

The Salford Star is now back in business and will continue to hold Salford Council and other public bodies in the city up to account – we're now bursting with stories. So watch this space!!!


* Getting a result from the Ombudsman is incredibly rare. The last set of formal figures for the year 2011-12 reveal that out of eighty complaints about Salford Council received, only five had `injustice remedied'.

See previous Salford Star articles…

Salford Star Goes On Strike – click here

Salford Council Concedes As Strike Hits Second Week – click here

China On The Irwell – click here

Salford Council Re-launches Its Town Hall Pravda as Salford Star Refused Access – click here

Michael Felse wrote
at 11:20:11 AM on Wednesday, June 12, 2013
@Brain thank you for these questions. I stand for trust, respect, justice and safety. This is why I cannot be a Councillor on Salford Council, because I fear they do not show they deserve any of those labels. I lost trust in political parties over the expenses scandal. The debt level makes me believe its level will drive our Council to the wall. This goes towards answering @MrGreen's points. Has any Council been closed down due to overbearing debt? Surely there has to be a limit. Rules provide for Councillors to be surcharged. I say give this one to UKiP as a start in making Salford Council sit up and realise they must listen to all people. Then I see an organised opposition fighting for local and vulnerable citizens that seeks a caring Salford.
Sue wrote
at 11:18:15 AM on Wednesday, June 12, 2013
I would happily sell my house, car and children if only more money could be pumped into Salford Reds. Blessed is the glorious leader Jock Stewart. Hurrah say I, let us salute Britain's greatest politician
Mr Green wrote
at 4:16:58 PM on Tuesday, June 11, 2013
@Michael, trouble is the council will not go bankrupt because all they will do is charge us the people of this city more council tax. Salford has one of the highest council tax rates in the country why do you think it is so high and has been for so long, because down at the town hall it's "piss it up the wall, slosh it down the grid, tell the people that we weep".. But why would they care when it's not their money to waste. I really would like to see all the cllrs having to pay the massive debt they have racked up out of their own pockets, but for now it's all dreams unfortunately.
Michael Felse wrote
at 4:16:24 PM on Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Corrected Text:- I admire Mary for her courage but be sure, this is not an election worthy of winning. I read a comment that Salford Council deficit is £600million. It is a fire too big to extinguish and looks to burn out of control. The best solution is to let our Council go bankrupt, surcharge all the Councillors for our losses, write off all creditors and start a new age of elected members. Until then any opposition will face stress and turmoil in the no win battle. Step aside, let UKiP take this one, because they can from what I hear on the doorstep, then get ready for when the bailiffs move on the Council chamber to take away their chairs and cheque book.
not a brain dead labour voter wrote
at 4:14:27 PM on Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Michael FALSE, what the f*ck do you actually stand for, sorry don't answer that, I don't even know you know the answer to that question. you've not got a splinter up your arse from sitting on the picket fence, you've got the whole f*cking picket fence up your arse.
Michael Felse wrote
at 10:02:30 AM on Tuesday, June 11, 2013
I admire Mary for her courage but be sure, this is not an election worthy winning. I read one comment that Salford Council deficit is £600million. It is a fire too big to extinguish and looks to burn out of control. The best solution is to let our Council go bankrupt, surcharge all the Councillors for our losses, write off all creditors and start a new age of elected members. Until then any opposition will face stress and turmoil in the no win battle. Step aside, let UKiP take this one, because they could from what I hear on the doorstep, then get ready for when the bailiffs move on the Council chamber to take away their chairs and cheque book.
joe oneill wrote
at 10:02:23 AM on Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Well Mike you take the biscuit, You call the Election and then step down, I believe Mary Ferrer would make an excellent candidate far in excess of the people who seem interested in noting bar picking up their pensions and making a few bob on the way living under a Labour Banner. You see mike I along with others will be hitting the streets again tomorrow win or loose we will offer a fight on Labours doorstep, for to long they have got away with living it up at the Town hall like it's their own private members club and people like you have let them, choose your sides fight them or join them. We don't have their money but a will that one day with perseverance we will win.
mary ferrer wrote
at 8:53:27 AM on Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Mr Felse, Your comment "candidates work" "Best choice is labour" What work,his day to day work or do you know something we don't about his community work? The only thing I know is he is a school governor and he is the son of Ronny Wilson,who is one of the ward Councillor for Weaste. I have never seen the man at Community Committee, never heard of any community work he has been involved in. The way things are going up at the Civic is its going to be one big extended family run business. We have god knows how many husband and wives and now its bring the kids along as well. This City needs some form of opposition,because at the moment we have none. The Garrido's are only shouting when its in their area and forget about the rest of the city. Which is letting Labour do what ever they want. And any chance of their own councillors challenging decisions is getting slimmer by each and every new family member getting elected.Its a very sad state of affairs. The people of Salford need and deserve better.
Matt wrote
at 8:52:54 AM on Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Micheal "Count down to the by-election and looks like those standing in opposition to Labour have accepted they are not going to stop Labour." and you base that generalization on what? The voices in your head? Perhaps people will respect candidates that get out there and speak to them, as opposed to ones who quit at the first hurdle.
GB wrote
at 11:51:55 PM on Monday, June 10, 2013
Regarding salford council attitude to the narrowgate homeless shelter it is simple realy,The all knowing , cannot do any wrong council,(they belive there own spin). Like the 3 wise monkeys -hear no evil,see no evil, speak no evil..THERE ARE No HOMELESS IN SALFORD.DUHHH This corprate approach is applied to all council departments. If you have ever taken part in a council run "consultation"..The nodding dog syndrome is practiced by council representatives. God help us all.
Michael Felse wrote
at 11:51:48 PM on Monday, June 10, 2013
Count down to the by-election and looks like those standing in opposition to Labour have accepted they are not going to stop Labour. I have looked at the candidates work and, Sad but True, it is clear the best choice is Labour for the people of Weaste and Seedley. If oppositions do no better in the future then their cross fighting will keep Labour in Power across Salford for the next decade. Maybe now our Mayor is providing answers this will turn out to be good news for us all.
Mr Green wrote
at 2:03:08 PM on Monday, June 10, 2013
I would like to know which Cllrs will be getting disiplined over the refuse fiasco. 3 Years ago we had 130 bin collections a year 52 Black, 26 Blue, 26 Brown, 26 Pink, then some clown decided to change it to "encourage recycling" and save money, slashing collections down to 102 per year. Now were are back at 130 collections a year 26 Black, 26 Blue 26 Brown, 52 Pink, same as 3 years ago but with the black and pink switched around, and the reason this time "to encourage recycling". So come on town hall clowns who messed up? The reason Salford cllrs why people do not recycle enough is because the system is too complicated for many people, lets just have one recycling bin collected weekly in which people throw everything barring garden waste, dog shit, dirty nappys, and food waste. Then you take it in your big lorry and EMPLOY some people to sort it, the grade of recyclable waste would be much higher resulting in a better price paid to council by the merchants and MORE would be recycled.
Ex-Liebour wrote
at 2:02:32 PM on Monday, June 10, 2013
@Joe, oh no is his missus at it as well, for gods sake isn't 1 Stewart enough. @Matt, get ready to be surprised Labour will win Weaste & Seedley, it will happen because even though thousands in Weaste are affected by the incompetence of this council (bedroom tax, cuts to vunerable, bins cock up, Salford reds, etc) they will blindly vote for Labour because they always have. I have 1 message for the people of Weaste & Seedley VOTE FOR ANYONE EXCEPT LABOUR.
White wrote
at 10:20:13 AM on Monday, June 10, 2013
I don’t think this is anything new for Mr Stewart. When he was our MP I wrote to him on a matter which required a response from him. I received an acknowledgment postcard but I’m still waiting for a proper response. I’m hopeful though, after all its only been about nine years.
Matt wrote
at 10:20:06 AM on Monday, June 10, 2013
I'm going to be really surprised if Labour win Weaste & Seedley. There is so much anger out there from people who just want the basics like bins and potholes done right. They really appreciate the Star and the work you do, so there will be a lot of happy Salfordians knowing you guys are back on the case.
joe oneill wrote
at 8:57:58 AM on Monday, June 10, 2013
I wonder Mary are we blacklisted like the construction workers Mrs Stewart goes on about?
mary ferrer wrote
at 6:42:40 AM on Monday, June 10, 2013
Thank God your back. With regards to being ignored,that appears to be the norm.It took me over a year to get answers to my emails and I never did get any response from the MAYOR.Must be beneath him to respond to us commoners. The amount of local residents in Claremont who have told me they can't get hold of their ward Councillor's by email or phone.They don't turn up to our residents meetings and don't send their apology, nothing new there then. And for the council to ignore the request of families of our most vulnerable members of the community is a crime.
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