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SALFORD COUNCIL SECRETS
 

Star date: 2nd November 2009  

ACCOUNTABILITY IN SALFORD DOESN'T EXIST!

Did you know that Salford Council is about to spend £131,509 and 93p doing up the ground floor of the Civic Centre in Swinton?  Almost a month ago the Salford Star asked innocently what this was for. We're still waiting for an answer.

In fact, we're still waiting on answers to around twenty questions dating back over a month on seven different subjects ranging from Salix Homes to the future of Athole Street to the future of Higher Broughton. Plus there's two Freedom of Information requests outstanding. And not one of our questions has been answered yet…

Full story here…


Given that there is barely any proper media left in Salford at the moment, you'd think that the City Council would be only too pleased to answer the concerns of its residents, filtered through the Salford Star.

For instance, we have old ladies panicking about the future of their homes – they don't know whether their houses are staying up or being demolished.  So they've asked us to try and find out, which we've done. But the Council doesn't seem bothered about them.

We have a situation where 55% of Salford Council owned homes don't meet the decency standard, with virtually no prospect of any funding to bring them up to a proper standard. The Council doesn't seem to want to answer its residents' concerns about this.

Meanwhile, in Higher Broughton the Council is being brought to the High Court by its own residents in two days time – but it doesn't want to explain this either.  And we have questions on lots of other stuff too but we're just being blanked.

The Salford council press office has promised us answers to at least some of these questions but so far we've heard nothing. We've no idea what their game is but surely a city council should be accountable to the local media somewhere along the line. Or perhaps it just prefers to put out bland propaganda through its own Life in Salford magazine of which we still don't know the true costs because no-one's got back re our Freedom of Information request.  

So where do we go to complain?  Opposition councillors? Government Office North West? The Audit Commission? The Government? Europe?

We can only tell Salford people that the Council - whose wages and expenses and `refurbishment costs' we are paying - don't want to be accountable in the slightest to anyone. Yet if the Salford Star writes an article without including a Council quote the article is seen as `unbalanced'.

What the hell is going on in StALinFORD?

 

* Salford Council is not alone of course - we've also been waiting for five months for an answer to a question put to the Government's Homes and Communities Agency re the spending of public money, at least a year for a Freedom of Information request from the University of Salford...and nearly two years for a reply from our local MP Hazel Blears! British democracy - the best in the world eh?

** Amazing - since this was posted yesterday we've had replies to two questions and a Freedom of Information request answered.

***The Freedom of Information reply was unacceptable as it had half the information missing, so we've sent it back requesting an internal review/appeal.

**** And here's the answer to what the £131,509.93 refurbishment was for...

Councillor David Lancaster, Salford City Council's deputy leader said: "We're undergoing a refurbishment on the ground floor of the civic centre to enable us to bring our Human Resources team into one place providing a modern and fit for purpose service.
 
"This is part of our ongoing commitment to making efficiency savings across the council by improving the way we work and how we use our buildings.
 
"Since 2000, our office rationalisation has produced £3.2m of capital receipts, a further £5.8m is projected and £400,000 per annum on savings on running costs from closed buildings has already been achieved.
 
"Staff occupancy levels have improved from 19 square metres per person to 11 square metres per person and ongoing accommodation strategy improves efficiency and staff morale."

Hope that's clear...but taking 8sq metres off each person sounds like they're employing battery hens to us...

***** The other reply was in relation to Salix Homes and indecent homes which we will add to the original article

Mike Skeffington wrote
at 13:41:45 on 03 November 2009
No surprise to me, this is a normal non-response from Salford council. I think Mary Ferrer has a point, but unfortunately part of the problem has been apathy from the people born out of the attitude of the council. Salford has a proud history of helping to bring about radical change through direct action: remember the, Battle of Bexley Square, or the birth of the TUC. The problem is that many people are now 'armchair scialists' and whilst their anger and frustration is evident their willingness to go along in person to press home their concerns face to face with councillors is, on the whole, sadly lacking. However, given the brazen attitude of Hazel Blears and her cohorts on Salford council I wonder if even this would make them face their responsibilities to the long suffering people of Salford.
 
Masked avenger wrote
at 09:54:17 on 03 November 2009
Any news on the councils share of the profits or SUPER PROFITS from the sale of Broughton Green yet? How about the Community hub,playing field,developer interested in building on their "land bank" where they demolished? Thought not.
 
Charlie Cairloli wrote
at 05:29:59 on 03 November 2009
Three duff commissioners (re:Data Protection Act) http://www.e-health-insider.com/news/4917/ico_issues_privacy_guide;_salford_rapped
 
Disgusted of Lower Broughton wrote
at 19:39:46 on 02 November 2009
As the festive season inexorably approaches I'm thinking we should collectively compose a Salford Star special 12 Days of Christmas ditty, summing up the state of play in this particular rotten borough. We already have: six (mental health) drop-ins empty, two (FOIA) requests outstanding, an unknown number of councillors scamming, and a Lord-a-lurking (not to mention Hazel F****** Blears). I'm sure that in the time left we can creatively fill in the blanks, and maybe perform it on the Town Hall steps just before our "representatives" break up for their Christmas hols.
 
Mary Ferrer wrote
at 12:07:52 on 02 November 2009
One way to get some answers to some of your questions. as a resident of Salford ask them at public questions at Novembers full council. Get the residents who have asked you to come along and ask the questions or for them to get a rep, as I know some people don't feel at ease asking questions in public. They shouldn't have to do this, as these questions should be answered when the residents ask. the questions need to be sent in by post or email a few weeks before.
 
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