Saturday, 25 December 2010
Little Jesus, sweetly sleep, do not stir;
We will lend a coat of fur.
We will rock you, rock you, rock you,
We will rock you, rock you, rock you:
Fur is no longer appropriate wear for small infants, both owing to risk of allergy to animal fur and for ethical reasons. Therefore faux fur, a nice cellular blanket or perhaps micro-fleece material should be considered a suitable alternative.
Please note, only persons who have been subject to a Criminal Records Bureau check and have enhanced clearance will be permitted to rock baby Jesus. Persons must carry their CRB disclosure with them at all times and be prepared to provide three forms of identification before rocking commences.
Dashing through the snow
In a one-horse open sleigh
O'er the fields we go
Laughing all the way
A risk assessment must be submitted before an open sleigh is considered safe for members of the public to travel in. The risk assessment must also consider whether it is appropriate to use only one horse for such a venture, particularly if passengers are of larger proportions. Please note, permission must be gained from landowners before entering their fields. To avoid offending those not participating in celebrations, we request that laughter be moderate and not loud enough to be considered a noise nuisance.
While shepherds watched their flocks by night
All seated on the ground
The angel of the Lord came down
And glory shone around
The union of Shepherds has complained that it breaches health and safety regulations to insist that shepherds watch their flocks without appropriate seating arrangements being provided, therefore benches, stools and orthopaedic chairs are now available. Shepherds have also requested that owing to the inclement weather conditions at this time of year they should watch their flocks via CCTV cameras from centrally heated shepherd observation huts.
Please note, the angel of the lord is reminded that before shining his/her glory all around s/he must ascertain that all shepherds have been issued with glasses capable of filtering out the harmful effects of UVA, UVB and the overwhelming effects of Glory.
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer
had a very shiny nose.
and if you ever saw him,
you would even say it glows.
You are advised that under the Equal Opportunities for All policy it is inappropriate for persons to make comment with regard to the ruddiness of any part of Mr R. Reindeer. Further to this, exclusion of Mr R. Reindeer from the Reindeer Games will be considered discriminatory and disciplinary action will be taken against those found guilty of this offence. A full investigation will be implemented and sanctions - including suspension on full pay - will be considered whilst this investigation takes place.
Little donkey, little donkey,
on the dusty road
Got to keep on plodding
onwards with your precious load
The RSPCA has issued strict guidelines with regard to how heavy a load a donkey of small stature is permitted to carry. Also included in the guidelines is guidance regarding how often to feed the donkey and how many rest breaks are required over a four-hour plodding period. Please note that owing to the increased risk of pollution from the dusty road Mary and Joseph are required to wear face masks to prevent inhalation of any airborne particles. The donkey has expressed his discomfort at being labelled 'little' and would prefer to be referred to simply as Mr Donkey. To comment upon his height or lack thereof may be considered an infringement of his
We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Following yonder star
Whilst the gift of gold is still considered acceptable, since it may be redeemed at a later date through such organizations as 'cash for gold' to pay the student tuition fees, gifts of frankincense and myrrh are not appropriate owing to the potential risk of oils and fragrances causing allergic reactions. A suggested gift alternative would be to make a donation to a worthy cause in the recipient's name or perhaps give a gift voucher.
We do not advise that the traversing kings rely on navigation by stars alone in order to reach their destinations and suggest the use of RAC route finder or satellite navigation, which will provide the quickest route and advice regarding minimum fuel consumption. Please note that, as per the guidelines from the RSPCA for Mr Donkey, the camels carrying the three kings of Orient will require regular food and rest breaks. Facemasks for the three kings are also advisable owing to the likelihood of dust from the camels' hooves.
Away in a Manger
No Crib for a bed -
This is definitely one for Social Services.
Monday, 20 December 2010
Last week the Meteorological Office forecasts were for snow on Friday, and heavy snow on Saturday. And this time they got it right - spot on, in fact and there was even some for good measure on Thursday! Despite these warnings, Redbridge Council, Essex County Council, and Transport for London (TfL) all appeared oblivious to the threat. The roads in the Barkingside, Clayhall, Fairlop, Grange Hill and Hainault areas of the borough, and those in neighbouring Epping Forest District, were like the proverbial skating rinks and showed no signs of having had preventive treatment of salt and/or grit in response to the warnings. Traffic was either at a standstill, or simply crawled - 45 minutes, for example, to travel from the Tesco traffic lights to Fullwell Cross. Many bus routes were curtailed at various times, and some buses temporarily abandoned on roads like Tomswood Hill.
All this despite assurances from the Transport Secretary, and the London Mayor, that local councils and TfL had ample stocks of salt to be ready for bad weather - weather accurately FORECAST.
Contact was made with Redbridge's Director of Environmental Services to protest about the situation. Remarkably, he claims to have visited Redbridge on Saturday and found ALL the principal roads in excellent condition! Either he was hallucinating very badly, or the Redbridge that he visited must have been the one close to Southampton Docks at the end of the M271.
Welcome to cloud cuckoo land.
Monday, 29 November 2010
Tuesday, 16 November 2010
The newest virus circulating is the UPS/Fed Ex Delivery Failure. You will receive an e-mail from UPS/Fed Ex Service along with a packet number. It will say that they were unable to deliver a package sent to you on such-and-such a date. It then asks you to print out the invoice copy attached.
DON'T TRY TO PRINT THIS. IT LAUNCHES THE VIRUS!
Pass this warning on to all your PC operators at work and home.
This virus has caused Millions of dollars in damage in the past few days.
Snopes confirms that it is real:
Although it dates back to 2008, it has started recirculating.
It's just starting out and doesn't look too political at present, in fact good it is. Three informative posts on matters of local interest. Keeping your constituents informed on the interwebby is a good thing and hopefully it might catch on in other wards? Having just said that a dodgy bar chart has just appeared. Presumably for Roding ward but you never can tell with the LibDems :)
And no comment RSS feed I could find.
Thursday, 7 October 2010
You may receive an e-mail like this.
DO NOT OPEN IT OR RESPOND TO IT.
It asks you for your FULL CREDIT CARD DETAILS!
NEVER give this information away on-line like this.
McDonalds was the victim of a similar scam about 18 months ago. McDonalds Corporation states on its website that it would never request this information in this manner.
Tuesday, 28 September 2010
And after it was so eloquently defended by councillors at last weeks Area Committee 3 meeting.
The government will confirm a crackdown on council-funded newspapers and magazines this week as it seeks to protect media groups which claim they cost them readers and advertising revenue.
Eric Pickles, the communities and local government secretary, will announce new guidelines ahead of the Conservative party conference this weekend that will effectively ban councils from using taxpayers’ money to produce free papers and magazines, MediaGuardian.co.uk can reveal.
Pickles promised at the start of the summer to ban what he called “weekly town hall Pravdas” in an Observer piece, but the details of tougher guidelines have now been agreed following consultation with the newspaper industry.
Under the new rules, it is understood councils will only be allowed to publish free titles four times a year. They will also have to remove any content which appears to praise the council or endorse the quality of its local services, including quotes from local residents.
Friday, 17 September 2010
Tuesday, 14 September 2010
Those that have read "Viz" will know what the two "ladies" depicted were collectively known as. Two of that ilk boarded a 275 bus going towards Barkingside, each with a baby-buggy. (How either of them ever got pregnant is a matter of speculation. It must have been a dark night.)
At almost 4p.m. exactly, the bus reached the "Crown & Crooked Billet", Woodford Bridge, at which stop a man in a wheelchair was waiting to board the bus. The driver duly lowered the ramp, at which the two "Viz Ladies" refused to make space for the wheelchair. One accused the wheelchair user of pretending to be disabled (perhaps understandable in your little world, dear) and one responded to a polite request from the driver to fold the buggy, "Me Mum's not 'ere so I dunno 'ow".
The driver eventually had to apologise profusely to the wheelchair user and suggested he waited for the next bus in 10 minutes time. (The bus had been held at the stop for about 10 minutes while all this was going on.) One of the "Viz Ladies" was still babbling on when the bus got moving about how people had a cheek expecting her to do anything. One of the two got off the bus two stops later.
A lot of people were shaking their heads at this behaviour but no-one said anything, for fear of being verbally abused, but what was perhaps more surprising was a number of passengers who thought that the wheelchair user was unreasonably delaying the bus! Perhaps these people come from a Universe where there is no respect for humanity and disabled people are all treated as beggars. The even-more-mouthy-than-the-other-one was still on the bus at Fullwell Cross, blissfully unaware of how appaling her behaviour had been and full of self-serving indignation at the cheek of people expecting her to move over for someone else.
What a sad little life - and she could learn (but never will) from the dignity in adversity of the wheelchair user. She will have a good laugh about it with her mates, though.
Pig Ignorant? An insult to any self-respecting pig.
Friday, 10 September 2010
We have just been voted in at number 48 in the Top 50 Non-Aligned blogs in the Total Politics poll, see the side bar>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
So far we, Redbridge, have:
Barkingside 21 (4th Green)
Weggis (11th Green)
Flesh is Grass (14th Green)
Greens Engage (16th Green)
Chadwell Green (24th Green)
Helen Duffett (27th LibDem)
Wes Streeting (86th Labour)
City Hall (Roger Evans) (19th Councillor) (38th Conservative)
So, I thought I'd better add the missing ones into the side bar, plus a few others, and update our logo to something more "appropriate" now that the Redbridge-i Forums are post moderated.
Of course the really interesting bit comes when we find out where those blogs feature, in relation to each other, on the Overall List.
If you know of any other Redbridge Blogs that could be added please let me know.
Thursday, 9 September 2010
What is interesting, as reported by Barkingside 21, and now updated by me is that so far there have been 354 submissions with an average council tax reduction of 4%.
Monday, 6 September 2010
Thursday, 2 September 2010
Thursday, 26 August 2010
Up one place at 4th is Barkingside 21.
Our very own Weggis is up to 11th from 19th .
Flesh is Grass, a keen High Street Shopaholic, reappears after a year break at 14th.
And Chadwell Green is a new entry at 24th.
The half blog is Greens Engage, in at 16th, which lists among its members 2 Redbridge residents. The others appear to be from Liverpool.
This of course is just the first list, but as there appears to be little blogging going on locally in the Blue, Red and Yellow corners Redbridge can’t expect much from those lists when they are published. We do though expect Roger Evans to feature in the Top Councillors list as he did last year.
It also appears that this blog is in mix, so somebody must have voted for it ;-) We are in the Non Aligned category.
Tuesday, 24 August 2010
A good forum moderator needs to be calm and needs to be able to stand an arguement without becoming heated.
They need to have a good amount of common sense and they need to be able to handle having harsh words tossed at them.
They cannot go easy on any one member and they must treat all members fairly.
They need to understand their position and not take advantage of it or abuse their powers.
Im my opinion a good mod is like a good umpire.Never leave the game having the players and fans talking more about the umpire than the game
.and if I ever have to delete or censor a post, I always state why so the poster in question knows exactly what the infraction is so that if the poster in question cares to know, and is the sort of poster that made an honest mistake, he or she knows what behavior not to repeat
Someone that doesn't abuse the power that they have.
a good mod is usually factually correct, but a GREAT mod has the humility to admit when he's not
If someone violates your rules or guidelines, there are several options at your disposal. It's important to give a sense of due process by starting with the lightest sanction you feel comfortable with, and if necessary, to escalate methodically. Here are some approaches, as used on The WELL in our software environment, in increasing order of severity. Note that this process is not required in a "moderated" environment where hosts must affirmatively approve all material before it is posted.
And also constantly upgrading your forum and adding new stuff to make your forum more interesting.
Be consistent in how you enforce the rules.
Hopefully this time all the power will NOT be in the hands of Officers, but they will have a Councillor-Moderator as a" judge of last resort"
What about the very early idea of "Community" Moderators- i.e some of the posters to do
service as Moderators, which may open our eyes as to the difficulty of the job (or ease)
Monday, 23 August 2010
A passenger needs to take two buses to get from his home to work. Each route runs every 20 minutes. The two routes meet at a point where his first bus is due to arrive 4 minutes before the second is timed to leave there - 8.02 and 8.06. Sounds reasonable. However, one morning the first arrived 3 minutes late at 8.05, and the second left 2 minutes early at 8.04. He missed his connection despite both buses being "on time" according to TfL.
To any passenger a bus is early if it leaves before the scheduled time, and late if it leaves after. Why should it be different for the crackpot management of TfL?
Friday, 20 August 2010
Listen to the show which took place in the last 50 minutes of the link below:
More and more British Pakistani Christians are being invited to appear on Mainstream media shows. This is excellent news, as it allows our community to be recognised. Many British People are still unaware that Christians exist in Pakistan, we must raise the recognition of our community if we are to tackle the issue of persecution in Pakistan.
Thursday, 19 August 2010
Well, she [Redimanager] has overtaken me on the all time list and moved into 5th place. Still just over a hundred to go before she catches Dopeyf. Sometime in May I should think.I was a bit optimistic.
Of the top 20 contributors to Redbridge-i forums, 12 have not appeared since 9th Feb 2010 or before - at least 6 months.
Top of the pops since that date is Redimanager.
Redimanager – 88
Morris Hickey – 29
Anne Sevant – 12
Julie Bradley – 11
Knowsie – 8
Vfmctax – 7
Weggis – 6
Dopeyf – 6
Redimanager is now just 6
Friday, 30 July 2010
It is a bit different though when "one of your own" goes.
"The Doctor Johnson" , known as "The DJ" or just "The Johnson" has "finally" shut up shop in Longwood Gardens, Barkingside.
We are lucky for local pubs and "The DJ" seemed to do good business but the problem always was that the site was worth more as a building plot than as a business. The various property booms since the 80s have exacerbated this. Users of "The Bald Hind" are probably thinking the same.
During the 80s it was arguably the best pub in the district - it had the atmosphere of a village pub. Like many suburban pubs, it suffered from all day opening, as there was always a "5.30 club" of city suits returning home and they then came back at weekends and later on midweek evenings. These customers then found their space at the bar occupied by people who finished work when it got dark, plus the over-staying lunch-timers of course. Then Wetherspoons turned up at the end of the 80s and almost emptied a lot of local "boozers".
"The DJ" was opened in 1934, with the local houses then being built, as a Simonds pub - built on the plot of Hedgemans Farmhouse, which was at what is now the corner of Evesham Way, where the shops are. Unusually for a pub, it was a freehold site. It was built as a commercial hotel and "roadhouse" in typical 30s style. It was to have been on a main road to Romford - at a roundabout, hence the curved frontage - but the alignment of the "main road" was changed when Woodford Ave. and Clayhall Ave. were built, leaving it somewhat isolated.
Simonds merged with Barclay & Perkins and that all became part of Courage which is how most people remember it.
The pub was popular during World War II with aircrew from local bases at Fairlop and North Weald. The Yanks used to throw a baseball down Rushden Gdns. for the local kids to chase. Whoever caught the ball could keep it. The Yanks, of course, also had chocolate bars and chewing gum.
With the Olympics coming, one would have thought that there was a demand for "travel lodge" style accommodation in the area and maybe that will be its future but what would apartments on that corner be worth to a developer? It has a conservation area status so there are limits to what can be done with the frontage but there are building techniques to get round that. There is currently a "To Let" sign up but no buyer came forward before the closing date.
So, goodbye, and happy memories. If those walls could speak, what tales they would tell.
Thursday, 29 July 2010
These are being used fraudulently to 'chase' British Gas Customers for money that they do not owe. The fraudsters will know your initials, surname and address but will have no details of your account. They may, therefore, ask you to pay an electricity bill when you do not get electricity from B.G.! Bit of a give-away that!
Saturday, 24 July 2010
"The Ilford Recorder (July 22nd) ran the story about Club Watch on page 5, which was at least a prominent position.
Unfortunately despite a comprehensive and carefully prepared press release the article was deficient in a number of respects.
The report gives the impression Club Watch is a Borough wide initiative, which it is not.
It fails to give credit to all the organisations involved, only mentioning three of the six, despite accurate details of all involved having been provided.
It make no reference to the special circumstances of so many clubs co-located in one area.
It makes no mention of Fairlop Ward or Fairlop SNT.
It makes no reference to Neighbourhood Watch or the aims of the Club Watch.
It fails to use any of the quote provided, particularly parts thanking and acknowledging the hard work of those involved."
We did at least get access to a (unpublished) photo, courtesy of the Ilford Recorder:
PCSO Emma Andrews (Fairlop SNT); Steve Wills (Met Police Crime Prevention - att. Redbridge Council); Inspector Dan Carlton (Met Police Redbridge North SNT Cluster); Nicholas Hurst (Chairman Governors, Frenford Clubs); Jason Meads (Area Manager, Powerleague); Mick Foster (Bar Manager, London Marathon site); Sgt. Chris Chandler (Fairlop SNT); some old geezer from Old Parks; PC Adam Taylor (Fairlop SNT); Lisa Cherry (Met Police Redbridge Borough Watch Manager); Will Savill (one of the Duty Managers at Redbridge Sports Centre); Steve Stuckey (Hon Sec. Ilford Wanderers RFC)
This is the first such scheme in the Met Police area and could be a template for others in the Borough and throughout London. A look through a colour version of the A-Z will show how many green spaces there are, each one possibly a cricket, rugby, bowls club. They all share the same problems of thefts from parked cars, vandalism, graffiti, dog fouling, and many more aspects of "anti-social behaviour".
Sunday, 18 July 2010
Is there an undiscovered "black market" in recycling bags?
Are they appearing in large numbers on ebay?
Who would want to nick them?
Last year my father and I were each presented with a Big Green Bag. Now, my collection day is Tuesday and his is Thursday so it was very convenient for us to 'borrow' each other's bags so that we could use both at the same time.
Last year I had my bag taken (stolen?) from outside my front door but, no bother, we could share his. Then, while I was borrowing his, that went missing! but, no bother because ....
This year we were each given a new Big Green Bag. One of those then went missing and, last week, the remaining one went missing from outside my Dad's house!
So, any ideas as to where they are all going?
Monday, 12 July 2010
From the menu at the local Wetherspoons.
A) sausages, chips and beans £2-99
With three award-winning lincolnshire pork sausages.
B) Portion of Chips £1
C) Portion of Baked Beans £1
D = A – B – C = 99p for three award winning lincolnshire pork sausages.
E) sausages and mash £4-99
Three award-winning lincolnshire pork sausages, in a caramelised onion & ale gravy, with peas.
F) Portion of Mash £1
G) Portion of Peas £1
H = E – F – G – D = £2 for Caramelised onion & ale gravy
Wednesday, 30 June 2010
Saturday, 26 June 2010
Were you aware that "the Council is committed" to providing HALF-A-MILLION TONS of aggregates (gravel and ballast) , shared with Havering? Most of the proposed areas for additional mineral extraction are to the north of Forest Road (private sports grounds). Area 3 and 4 Councillors are on the case. There is a consultation exercise and you can support or reject the proposals (or state 'No Preference') by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than July 26th 2010.
This 'commitment' appears as a "Borough-Wide Primary Policy" in a Development Plan Document of May 2008.
This appears to follow on from a London Aggregates Working Party (LAWP) report that refers (para. 4.9) to a report on Redbridge (LAWP09/03) , which I am unable to locate on the Internet.
As most of the Club Groundsmen working on the north side of Forest Road well know, this area contains poor quality GRIT at a depth of 4 to 6 inches. Most grit nowadays is supplied from rock-crushing plants.
The document that is essential to the Consultation is now available on-line, having previously been blocked! Perish the thought that the Council would make it difficult for us to get hold of information!
You can send your responses by email: email@example.com or using the Council’s freepost address at:
Minerals Development Plan:
Issues and Options,
Development Plan Document
London Borough of Redbridge
Ilford IG1 1DD
Saturday, 19 June 2010
TV News programmes have reported that The Police Pagan Association has obtained for its Members the same rights as other Faiths within the Police Service to have "religious" holidays taken into account when rostering duties.
Paganism in the Police has previously reached senior levels
This certainly gives a new meaning to "The Boys in Blue". Woad is a plant (Isatis Tinctoria) related to the cabbage (Brassica) that yields indigo dye. Julius Caesar in "De Bello Gallica" (Gallic Wars) records that the pagan Britons painted their bodies with a blue pigment but this is now believed to have been a copper-based dye.
What special "holy days" should they have, apart from the Solstices and Equinoctes? The Norse God Loki ("The Skywalker") was the god of fire and of thieves and liars, which might be appropriate for Police Officers (as they deal with such people). Loki was always mocking the Chief God, Odin or Woden, so perhaps they should have every Wednesday off.
As honest pursuers after justice they could perhaps consider October 28th., Feast day of St. Jude, the Patron Saint of Lost Causes and therefore of Lawyers, or December 1st., that of St. Eligius, the Patron Saint of goldsmiths, silversmiths , minters of coinage (which gets stolen, frequently).
Redbridge Police were unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.
Friday, 11 June 2010
“Of particular note is the new MyNeighbourhood application through which we will create an interactive, ultra local, communications network that links residents to their own communities, and to information provided by the council and other local organisations. This development will enable us to expand the impact of existing resources and learn more about combining new, web-based technologies to enhance information flow and resident interaction”
and this is one of the better examples, I doubt that the author – The Chief Executive knows what this means, yet alone the reader, and if you understand it, you also now know that is has not worked.
Redbridge boasts of the success and high standard of its schools, there is little evidence of it in the public face of Council documents. But the Senior Officers are almost without exception Graduates, and as such you would expect them to impose a degree of literacy on their subordinates. It is clearly apparent that nobody proof reads anything, nobody checks anything and quite often officers are not capable of writing clear concise properly punctuated documents. Senior Officers may consider this to be acceptable, the people that pay for it do not, and worse still, all these documents that are published on Redbridge I are available to be universally ridiculed on the World Wide Web. It is not necessarily the error itself, but the lack of care and interest it shows, and if employees can’t spell properly what else are they doing, what else is hidden.
It is time that the Council had a “Sky” literacy year, closing all the roads to spelling errors, bad punctuation, and gobbledygook, for the duration. It can be done with care, and the WILL of senior officers.
We will of course help you by quietly and unobtrusively pointing out the errors we find,.
Thursday, 10 June 2010
Tuesday, 8 June 2010
Friday, 4 June 2010
Tuesday, 1 June 2010
Unfortunately, this good start has to some extent been undone by the opposition party who fielded an ineligible candidate at the elections in May, so we are now faced with an unnecessary by election on July 8th costing the council, and us taxpayers, about £12,000, and I suspect the opposition a seat in the council chamber.
Frankly, the Ilford South Labour Party should be footing the bill. It is entirely down to their inadequate selection procedures that these additional costs are to be incurred. It is called taking responsibility for one’s actions and making due reparations. They are very fond of making us pay if we outstay our welcome in a car park and the scope for that has somewhat increased today.
There is a petition to this effect here, but if you sign it please bear in mind that you will be giving your email address to unknown parties, so you may wish to use a disposable one. You can set one of these up for free at Yahoo, Hotmail, Google Mail and probably a few more places.
There is also a Poll over in the right hand side bar.
Bearing in mind that petitions and polls are open to abuse you may also wish to express your opinion directly to the leader of the opposition, contact details here.
Friday, 28 May 2010
The public clearly benefit by the new power they gain to identify wasteful spending and hold the council to account. If the default position for all public spending was that it would be made public, then large amounts of the absurd, self-indulgent and outright bizarre spending that goes on would never get off the ground, and that which did continue would swiftly be stamped out by public demand. This new gold standard of disclosure also sweeps away the advantage that opacity gives to councillors or officers over taxpayers and voters, too. No longer does one party come to the table armed with all the information on a given issue, while the other is kept in the dark.
The council benefits both practically and reputationally. Practically, because if two brains are better than one for solving a problem, then the application of thousands of brains to the question of how best to run the council’s budget can only be a good thing. The internet is a particularly good tool for harnessing the power of a community to study a question or solve a dilemma, and this new policy of openness provides a much greater opportunity for local residents to suggest ways to make the council run better.
Reputationally, the council gains because openness in public spending dispels suspicion. The MPs’ expenses saga proves all too vividly that keeping the details of how taxpayers’ money is spent simply serves to feed the fire of suspicion, rumour and disdain. As mentioned above, if a council is wasting taxpayers’ money then transparency will force them to stop doing so. If they are not, then this policy gives them the opportunity to reassure the public that they are good stewards of our money and thus bolster their reputation.
Local democracy itself benefits because a better informed electorate is always able to make better choices. This is taxpayers’ money being spent, and for them to be able to control democratically how it is spent and how their local services work, they must be allowed to see in detail what goes on behind the doors of the town hall.
In the age of the Freedom of Information Act, it seems ridiculous that only ten years ago taxpayers in Britain had almost no right to know how their money was spent. Windsor and Maidenhead has just opened a new age of transparency, and in ten years it will seem just as ridiculous that once we only had the right to take potshots in the dark using Freedom of Information requests to guess how politicians and civil servants spend our money. Other councils must now follow suit.
Redbridge is one of the worst for LOGOS Local Government Official Secrets, one classic example which is an insult to taxpayers is the release of Senior Executives salaries, despite all the guidelines that they should be released as the actual salary or at the absolute minimum of bands of £5000 – Redbridge Senior Officers actually insult the people of Redbridge by using bands of £30,000 and they have in the past either ignored or been months late replying to FoI requests.
Some of the proposals soon to be implemented are
* We will require public bodies to publish online the job titles of every member of staff and the salaries and expenses of senior officials paid more than the lowest salary permissible in Pay
Band 1(£58,200) of the Senior Civil Service pay scale, and organograms that include positions in those bodies
*All expenditure above £500 to be declared
*We will allow councils to return to the committee system, should they wish to
* We will require anyone paid more than the Prime Minister in the centrally funded public sector to have their salary signed off by the Treasury
*All Contracts and tender details
However this transparency has to go much further
*Senior Officers Meetings open to public Scrutiny
*Teach ins about how each Department works
*"Ask the Leader" questions, a much more formalised thing than his blog
* Ask the Chief Executive"
*10 Working Days to respond to residents enquiries is not acceptable.
*Refusal to provide information, hide behind a referral to the FoI Officer is not acceptable.
*Reinstatement of Borough wide open forums to discuss borough wide problems
*Reports of Council/cabinet/Area Meetings in Redbridge Life
*The right of reply to councillors after asking a question in Council/Cabinet/Area *Meetings/Planning Meetings even if the time is limited to 1 minute, to refute often condescending,rude or untrue statements by councillors.
*Webcasting of all important council meetings including Planning meetings.
*Specific teach ins on how to object to the proliferation of “Rabbit Hutch” Developments which Council Officers are so fond, and completely unwanted by residents.
*Reset the default information position to disclosure
*Monthly Expenses of Councillors and Senior Officers
*Installing automatic meter reading (AMR) equipment in the main civic buildings as a means of driving down energy consumption and reducing costs. The AMR will measure carbon emissions and the costs resulting from the electricity and gas consumption at the chosen sites.
*A search Facility on Redbridge I which works properly.
*Publish F.o.I Data where possible- recipients can elect to have it publicly published.
*Publish proposed expenditure above a certain limit say £2500 BEFORE the money is spent.
*We would welcome Officer and Councillor explanations of criticisms expressed on RedI, here and elsewhere
And this is not an exhaustive list.
Unless Councillors and equally importantly Senior Officers grasp the nettle of disclosure, they will be overtaken by events and forced to disclose, or they will be branded as reactionaries, and reap the deserved opprobrium and loss of salary. Much better to lead London Boroughs into the gold standard of a new future of disclosure and local democracy.
I look forward to the day when the Chief Officer is as equally enthusiastic and proud about disclosure as he has been about Redbridge I
And this is a much more important for our future than a mere website…
As with all things the council is capable of great heights so long as the WILL exists to reach
out and grab opportunies with both hands. This WILL can only be led from the very top.
We, the residents, give you the chance for greatness.
Thursday, 27 May 2010
It would appear to be in line with the phasing of women's state pensionable age from 60 to 65. And it would seem applies to both men and women.
The date at which these new rules apply would suggest that the decision was taken by the previous Labour government but I don't recall any notification in the media.
What now for prescription charges? Winter fuel allowance? Grants for insulation? etc.
Wednesday, 26 May 2010
– if we set out to make an e-participation system that was as undemocratic as possible, what would it be like?
So here we go with the latest list, as adapted from our brainstorming session: please do add further comments and suggestions here and we’ll hone the list further over the coming weeks and months, before deciding what else to do with it.
Best methods for undemocratic participation
1 - TOPIC FOR DEBATE/CONSULTATION
Pick the topic for democratic debate yourself, without reference to any of the bothersome people who are going to be doing the debating. REDI SUCCEEDS
Choose a topic with no emotional impact for anyone normal. REDI SUCCEEDS
Pre-select the questions you are going to answer in a “live” online debate. REDI SUCCEEDS
2 - TECHNOLOGY/DESIGN
Don’t waste time on accessibility. Nobody with a disability or a slow internet connection is going to take part anyway. REDI SUCCEEDS
Or… spend all your budget on accessibility
If designing for a different generation, make your own mind up what they will need or like. REDI SUCCEEDS
Always give your supplier a vague, loose specification. REDI SUCCEEDS
Use technology that only runs in one type of browser; require a plug-in; and does not view properly on mobile devices. REDI SUCCEEDS
3 - USER INFORMATION PROVISION
Do not be transparent about who is hosting the project, and why. REDI SUCCEEDS
1Have a hidden agenda. REDI SUCCEEDS
4 - LAUNCH/PROMOTION
Do not connect your online activity with any other existing offline political or social activity. REDI PARTLY SUCCEEDS
Or if you do… don’t tell people how the two (online and offline) are related. REDI SUCCEEDS
Choose a few people to form the initial core of the project from among your immediate associates, contacts and buddies. REDI SUCCEEDS
Allow the rest of the participants to be self-selected from among the usual democracy geeks with the technology, skills and education to find your project, understand it and engage easily.REDI SUCCEEDS
As for everybody else - just create the website and wait for users to find you. The web’s not that big, is it?
5 - PARTICIPATION PROCESS
During the registration process, ask every participant for at least 10 pieces of personal data .REDI SUCCEEDS
Allow people to easily assume multiple identities. REDI SUCCEEDS
Make the whole site hard to use, with at least 5 or 6 clicks required just to post a message. REDI SUCCEEDS
Ignore all other needs of the user: communication, motivation, abilities. REDI SUCCEEDS
6 - MODERATION
Never use any form of moderation – after all, it’s more democratic that way, however unpleasant or dominant some of the voices may become.
Or if you do…
Pre-moderate, but make sure your moderators only work 9-5 on week days. REDI SUCCEEDS
Never reveal the identity and method of moderation. REDI SUCCEEDS
Ensure moderators remain anonymous. REDI SUCCEEDS
Do not give any commitment to the length of time moderation will take.. REDI SUCCEEDS
Take ages to moderate anything. REDI SUCCEEDS
Let the only recourse for people who feel they have been unfairly moderated be the law courts. REDI SUCCEEDS
7 - POLITICIANS
Do not involve any elected politicians – they won’t understand the technology. REDI SUCCEEDS
Or if you do promise participation or replies from politicians, don’t deliver on the promise. REDI SUCCEEDS
We could add one more to this list already- restriction of the number of characters in a post I have tried to post this on Redi I once again came up against the 2000 character restriction
Sunday, 16 May 2010
Rumour has it that there will be a new local political alignment called The Redbridge Alliance made up of Condemsoclibmarxistreformists. This will be a progressive movement, apparently, which will introduce PR [Proportional Responsibility] immediately, i.e. sharing the blame by proportion of vote share – not on them you understand, but on those who voted!
Saturday, 15 May 2010
Meanwhile, Boris's campaign to exterminate the bendy-buses is moving to Ilford. From June next year, the existing 39 articulated buses on the 25 route will be replaced with 59 new double deckers, so don't expect to see any increase in available road space!
London has a complex route network and service frequency that must be the envy of many parts of the country where, even in large built-up areas, the services that do exist dry up at tea time but TfL seems to have lost the way, somewhere.
On the one hand, new routes have been introduced to cover previously bus-less areas, frequencies and hours of service increased, etc. whilst on the other, we have seen projects such as the expensive abomination of Ilford Lane which has has the effect of causing the maximum of congestion to all forms of road transport including the much vaunted East London far from Rapid Transit which doesn't even have a physical connection with the truncated 179 route in Ilford in the northbound direction!
One wonders what effect the expensive,lengthy works that TfL are undertaking at Gants Hill will have on traffic flow that couldn't have been achieved much sooner and at considerably lower cost by the simple expedient of installing correctly phased traffic lights on the existing road system.
Thursday, 13 May 2010
Saturday, 8 May 2010
It is a matter of public knowledge that The Frenford Clubs are in the process of vacating Oakfield (Jack Carter Pavilion) and Cricklefield, in order to occupy the former PLA site in The Drive, Ilford.
News has come out the Spurs Academy are to occupy the Frenford Oakfield site for two years from July 2010.
They are providing their own security which may provide a few surprises for the local community.
Tottenham Hotspur F.C. previously conducted First Team Training at a site in Luxborough Lane, Chigwell. This site is being vacated and the senior players are moving to the yet to be completed Training Centre at Bullsmoor, Enfield (west of the A10 and just south of the M25), thus displacing the Academy temporarily.
Nothing else can thus be built at Oakfield for at least two years and the involvement of a major football club may yet continue into the future as Spurs will leave a lot of infrastructure behind.
Monday, 12 April 2010
Monday, 29 March 2010
Conservative Technology Manifesto
"All local councils will be required to
publish online every item of spending over
£500. In addition, we will require local
councils to publish procurement contracts
and tender documents in full. To tackle
runaway local council salaries, we will require
councils to publish the names and the full
remuneration package of all senior local
authority staff earning over £60,000. We will
also require councils to publish data on
individual councillor expenses, enabling the
public to compare councillor expenses across
But this does not go far enough,all Senior
Officers meetings should be open to scrutiny
by the public, as are the workings of Councillors.
I can hear the screams of agony from Officers all
over the country, they are not, however, loud
enough to frighten us the Council Tax payers,
Nobody in their right mind would give a service
provider £1400 a year,unquestioningly, you would
want some control over how it was used.The theory
is that Councillors should do this, but as we know from
Statements by Councillors and our own experiences,
it is Officers that control the Council and how the
money is spent.Therefore it is attendance at those
meetings which is even more important to us than
those of Councillors.The scream of “confidentiality”is
a fallacious argument often used by Officers to hide
behind what they are really doing,There are actually
only the very smallest number of activities that are
“confidential” and in terms of what we should know
is happening even they are dubious, although you
would not believe that listening to age old arguments
by Officers, Time to clear away Local Government
Official Secrets.It is time Councillors insisted that ,
Officers opened themselves up to public scrutiny,
we have a chance to do it in the next few weeks,
by quizzing all those candidates that knock on your
door, One simple question, “When will we be able to
scrutinise Officers activities” and get an answer that
satisfies you, don’t accept no for an answer!!.
It not necessarily that we would want to question every
£500 of expenditure, but much more importantly the
underlying premise for the spending of funds,quite often,
in direct contravention of what local people need or want.
This is not all bad for Officers as they may be able to justify
some of the more bizarre decisions, directly to the Public,
something they conspicuously fail to do presently. As Officers often
tell us they have nothing to hide, then they cannot object to being directly
Friday, 26 March 2010
Redbridge Council is restricted on what it can publicise from when an election is announced to when the polling stations close.
The Council cannot show political preference, use public resources or publicity materials such as leaflets, press releases, or the website and it’s features to promote one party or policy over another. The pre election period is usually between four to six weeks.
From 5pm on Friday 26 March 2010
- Borough forums will be read only and you will not be able to post comments on the forum.
- The Council Leader’s blog and the Redbridge Mayor’s blog will not be available to view.
- The Neighbourhood Matters homepage module will not be available to use.
- Pledges home page module will be pre moderated. *
- The Ask My Neighbour home page module will be pre moderated.*
- My Neighbourhood will remain unaffected.
* pre-moderation means that posts submitted to the forum will be checked by a forum moderator before it appears on the forum.
Thursday, 11 March 2010
An additional public meeting has been arranged for people in the Chadwell area, but all residents will be welcome.
The meeting will be held from 19:30 on Thursday 18th March, at Somerville Hall, Somerville Road (opposite First Avenue-A12 end!)
Additionally, on the day the consultation closes there will be a delegation to 10 Downing Street to hand in the petition.
After that there is another protest march on 17th April 2010 from Little Heath Green at 1:15pm to Ilford Town Hall.
[Post as amended by Redbridge Eye]
It appears that in future emergency dental care will take place at either Whitechapel or South Hornchurch. Home visits by local practitioners will no longer be funded and only 20 dentists will be providing urgent dental care treatment during opening daytime hours (in-hours service). This severely affects the less mobile.
More details here.
[Post as amended by Redbridge Eye]
Wednesday, 10 March 2010
Sunday, 7 March 2010
Now we get to Redbridge Life, the council's monthly news sheet [checks spelling]. This gets put through every letterbox in the borough, except, presumably, those with a "no free newspapers" notice. The council take great pride in this publication. Blown up versions of the front page of each edition are ostentatiously framed and displayed in the committee rooms of the Town Hall where visiting consultants and VIPs can view them in awe. But do the residents actually want it or read it? Some obviously do, but probably about the same proportion as would answer a public consultation - about 1%.
So, to address this the Labour group, in the form of Bob Littlewood, are proposing that it should be more localised. For this read more expensive. So, people who live in the south of the borough are not interested in what's happening over at Fairlop Waters? People in the west of the borough are not interested in events at Hainault Forest Country Park? Only those people who live in South Woodford are interested in parking arrangements or the library facilities. Nobody from outside South Woodford uses the shops there or the tube station, do they?
So, would you be more or less likely to read it if it were "localised"?
Goldilocks eventually found something that was "just right", but this serendipitous eventuality seems to be eluding both our Councillors and officers.
Wednesday, 3 March 2010
Tuesday, 2 March 2010
"Private forum for BUG champions".
Of course, it won't let me in to read it to find out what it is all about, it's "private", but the URL tells me it is the "Bicycle Users Group". Another subject that "they" do not want us to discuss in public, or at least on "their" forum.
I wonder if there is a Tricycle Users Group? TUG!
Friday, 26 February 2010
Here is the "Redbridge Council Emergency Updates" blog set up to provide "Information on service disruptions in the London Borough of Redbridge. If we are unable to update www.redbridge.gov.uk then information will appear on this blog." As you can see it was used this time last year for this very reason. But there is nothing there, and as far as I can see there is nothing on the Redbridge-i site either. There is flood advice but you have to search for it.
You'd think they would have a link on the front page at these times - wouldn't you?
Tuesday, 23 February 2010
Friday, 12 February 2010
So why not discuss it here in the meantime?
It was posted on the "Tell us what you think of this site" thread by Dopeyf. Here it is:
It is time that Senior Officers and Councillors realised the failure of V2. The Pledge bank has failed , The whole neighborhood thing is a nonsense, with no activity, as has been said the internet will find its own route around censorship. We are supposed to be in the middle of yet another review (or has that been abandoned?) Let the website at least do something useful, instead of a system of comment nobody uses. The effort spent on My Neighborhood is wasted and the money and time would be better spent on something useful such as NHS Choices web services.For Anne: P.O.E.T.S = Piss off early tomorrow's Saturday
NHS Choices web services allow you to make NHS Choices content available through XML feeds on your website, intranet, widget or application. This means you'll always have up-to-date, trusted NHS content available for your users.
Redbridge's "Innovative Website" is only innovative as far as web technology goes, what users want is innovation directed to people, things like "ask the Leader"- "ask the Chief Executive"-
A unique citizen participation exercise in which young people ‘govern’ a virtual simulation of their borough through an online platform echoing the popular computer game ‘Sim City’ is being used to help shape policy in Croydon Council, E-Government Bulletin has learned.
The Croydon2040 project (http://www.croydon2040.com), which ran from September to December 2009, allowed teams from 25 schools and colleges around the borough to compete against each other, taking on the role of their local authority and local strategic partnership using an online decision-making tool.
It is time that this council displayed some imagination with this website.
Wednesday, 10 February 2010
Saturday, 30 January 2010
Thursday, 28 January 2010
... Possibly not, for the reason already stated, but there were four posts (Wow!) that sat in limbo for the day waiting for someone on the moderation team to sit up and take notice ...
... So, where they asleep? Or was there a more pressing demand on their time ...?
Methinks someone got their wish - but not in the way we all wanted ...!
Tuesday, 26 January 2010
Note how it is the "highways" they are keeping clear and no mention of Footways. The infirm, elderly and disabled plus those who use wheelchairs or prams are not as important as keeping the highways open for vehicles.
OK, so the photo below is nicked from our neighbours in Waltham Forest, but you will get the drift, you will have seen similar sights here in Redbridge.
Perhaps we should all start complaining?
Saturday, 23 January 2010
If you haven't already been following this story elsewhere, take a look here.
As expected, I found a bus! Ok, a new bus, but nothing really different to any other new bus one finds in Greater London these days. The moquette covering on the seats is a different colour but, as the bus wasn't open for inspection, I've no idea how user friendly it will be for people like me who need plenty of knee room. I don't think, from looking at the way other passengers try to cram themselves into modern bus seating that I'm in a minority either but, as I get older, I find it somewhat painful at times - almost crippling - if my antique knees are rammed up against the hard back of the seat in front.
However, what I did discover is that TfL have discovered another Ilford in a parallel universe which is laid out a little bit differently to the one we know and, possibly, love - take a look here:
Click on graphic for larger image.
Now I have to admit that there is a little disclaimer which says: "The illustration is indicative only and not to scale" but it is clearly indicative that these new buses start in the High Road, then run past Ilford Station, the Town Hall and the Kenneth More Theatre - in that order!
Apart from the impossibility of this, the ELT doesn't run along or pass any of these!
I took one of the TfL staff to task on this - and was directed to the disclaimer! I then challenged the Ilford Station destination on the bus - pointing out that it doesn't go there and terminates at Ilford Hill. TfL tell me that it's only 60 metres away from the station! It has to be around 300m at least but I give up - I don't have a 60m tape measure, let alone a 300 metre one, but if somone wants to measure it, I'd like to know the correct answer.
Friday, 22 January 2010
Good news for taxpayers in Windsor and Maidenhead this week: the council have announced the largest cut in council tax in Britain - a whopping 4%. You may remember them as the council that has pioneered spending transparency. The cut equates to £41 a year off band D properties, and will be manna from heaven to hard-pressed taxpayers. People across the UK have seen their council tax more than double in the last ten years, and even now when times are tighter than ever we at the TPA have had reports of many councils continuing to increase council tax by the maximum of 4.9%.
David Burbage, the council’s leader, told The Daily Telegraph: “We are showing that council tax can go down as well as up. For too long council tax bills have inexorably risen, and there is no correlation between high council tax and good services. Our council has proved that we can make public services better and cut tax at the same time. There’s a huge amount of waste in the system and we should never forget that it’s taxpayers’ money we are spending.” Wise words indeed, debunking the convenient council myth that any reduction in tax take will lead to public service cuts. The TPA welcomed this move in the national press, and we would like to see other councils follow this example and ease the financial burden on the rest us by cutting their bloated administrations and focussing on providing better value for money instead of simply empire building.
In the light of this I think we are entitled to ask our highly paid Chief Executive and his highly paid management board, precisely why they cannot deliver exactly what Officers have achieved in Windsor and Maidenhead
Wednesday, 20 January 2010
But I think there is a problem with the structure.
The format is:
I will [do this] but ONLY if [n] [people] will [do this].
That’s not how volunteering works. Emotional blackmail doesn’t work in real life let alone on the anonymous internet.
If I want to do something I will do it. If I don’t, I won’t. If I want to change all my lightbulbs to energy efficient ones, I will do so regardless of whether I can convince n other people to join me. Similarly if I want to pop down the road and check on those elderly people I know who live on their own to see if they are OK for milk and bread during the cold weather, I will do that. I am NOT, not going to do it just because I can’t get n other people to say they are going to follow suit on RiV2. That’s bx.
I didn’t say I will start this site ONLY if 10 other people join me. I started it, I invited other people and some more asked to join. That’s how the voluntary sector works.
If it’s worth doing, then do it. Set an example. Lead. Show the way. Be the Pied Piper and others will follow.
I AM going to [do this]. If you do so too, it will make a difference.
Note: this all goes to show how inept our masters are when it comes to understanding us and the way we interact with each other. They are probably “sociologists”?
Wednesday, 13 January 2010
Shame, really, I was really looking forward to seeing proof of the the theory that RiV2 was designed so that the Council could have discussions with itself ...
Sunday, 10 January 2010
MP's, Councillors, the leader of the Council and Kajul Pahl our Carnival Queen challenged local people to sign the petition.
Cold weather could not stop the demonstration!
Just look at the ice on the floor! We refused to leave until the day was complete!
Over 50 people attended the vent we just could not squeeze them into our camera. Sorry!
Visitors to the event included:
Leader of the Council Cllr Keith Prince
Mike Gapes MP
Lee Scott MP Cllr Balvinder Saund
Cllr Lorraine Sladden (Redbridge Mayor 2008)
Cllr John Tyne
Kajul Pahl - Redbridge Carnival Queen
Mark Dawes - Redbridge and Waltham Forest Green Party Co-ordinator
Bob Archer -Hope Not Hate
and several other councillors......
Thank you to all that joined us - we will be arranging more events....so keep watching this space!
Do sign our on line petition (click here).