Ban local councils right to snoop

Local Councils should be banned from snooping, it waste's precious time and resource all of which the tax-payer has to foot the bill, without even going into the civil liberties issues. Local councils are there to administer and manage local services only not intrude on people's lives

Why is this idea important?

Local Councils should be banned from snooping, it waste's precious time and resource all of which the tax-payer has to foot the bill, without even going into the civil liberties issues. Local councils are there to administer and manage local services only not intrude on people's lives

Council Waste. Action Plans, Non Jobs, etc.

I was recently researching Stockport Councils website and came across – The Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Trans Gender Equality Action Plan. Somebody employed by the Council and paid out of our Council Tax must have spent months, if not years, on this. There is pages and pages of absolute BUMPH. Even the Chief Executive appears to have been involved.

In no way am I homophobic, but I just do not see the point in spending all that time and money on such a load of waffle.

I encourage you to go on the site, search 'Civic Review' and follow the link.

Presumably other Authorities have prepared similar Action Plans.  What has that cost the Country? And what, if any, are the benefits?

Scrap it together with other worthless Action Plans, schemes and reports like it.

Why is this idea important?

I was recently researching Stockport Councils website and came across – The Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Trans Gender Equality Action Plan. Somebody employed by the Council and paid out of our Council Tax must have spent months, if not years, on this. There is pages and pages of absolute BUMPH. Even the Chief Executive appears to have been involved.

In no way am I homophobic, but I just do not see the point in spending all that time and money on such a load of waffle.

I encourage you to go on the site, search 'Civic Review' and follow the link.

Presumably other Authorities have prepared similar Action Plans.  What has that cost the Country? And what, if any, are the benefits?

Scrap it together with other worthless Action Plans, schemes and reports like it.

Excessive salaries and the bonus culture

 

I made these suggestions to Eric Pickles and was disappointed at the usual letter you get from government when you write them with suggestions or comments. It dids no more than restating everything we already know about existing legislation and what the Coalition intends to do about it. No mention of my ideas or what they thought of them. Your votes will indicate whether there is a collective will along the lines of my suggestions:

My suggestions to cut back excessive salaries:  

1. Perhaps an upper limit by law for the various levels within councils and statutory partnerships would be a good measure.

2. Unravel Labour madness on bonuses. I cannot see why any council leader warrants pay in excess of £150,000.

3. Limits required for staff in local authorities as well as councils.

4. How about a law for private as well as public positions making it a requirement to qualify for a bonus only according to strict, relevant, formally documented and approved criteria within government guidelines?

(a) A requirement for written evidence with two or more authorised signatures to fully document the justification for the bonus payment when it is paid.

(b) The criteria should not only include positive criteria, but partly and wholly disqualifying negative ones. Had such existed, those responsible for the fiascos at polling stations could not have legally got anything extra.

5. How about going one step further and establishing deductions from basic salary if certain fundamental criteria are not met? In other words a statutory requirement for penalties.

 

Why is this idea important?

 

I made these suggestions to Eric Pickles and was disappointed at the usual letter you get from government when you write them with suggestions or comments. It dids no more than restating everything we already know about existing legislation and what the Coalition intends to do about it. No mention of my ideas or what they thought of them. Your votes will indicate whether there is a collective will along the lines of my suggestions:

My suggestions to cut back excessive salaries:  

1. Perhaps an upper limit by law for the various levels within councils and statutory partnerships would be a good measure.

2. Unravel Labour madness on bonuses. I cannot see why any council leader warrants pay in excess of £150,000.

3. Limits required for staff in local authorities as well as councils.

4. How about a law for private as well as public positions making it a requirement to qualify for a bonus only according to strict, relevant, formally documented and approved criteria within government guidelines?

(a) A requirement for written evidence with two or more authorised signatures to fully document the justification for the bonus payment when it is paid.

(b) The criteria should not only include positive criteria, but partly and wholly disqualifying negative ones. Had such existed, those responsible for the fiascos at polling stations could not have legally got anything extra.

5. How about going one step further and establishing deductions from basic salary if certain fundamental criteria are not met? In other words a statutory requirement for penalties.

 

Reduce the luminosity and number of street lights and security lighting

Within the last ten years there has been an increase in the number of street lights erected throughout the U.K. For every one of  the  older  style sodium street light that  are   removed, three new style halogen  street lights are erected in its place.

There are a number of issues that this raises….

1. The luminosity of the new style halogen  lighting is far greater than the  sodium  style lighting. This creates nuisance on many levels . Normal residential streets have these halogen  lights on all night  the increased luminosity created by the extra number of lamp posts erected and the lumens they expend is at  a  totally unacceptable level to allow the occupants of the houses to sleep comfortably.

2. There have  not been any studies  carried out of the effects that  the  increase in luminosity has on humans,  animals,birds and insects.

3.  There has been no evidence that  the increase in street lighting has reduced the number of crimes i.e. muggings, burglary  to warrant the propensity of  street lighting and security lighting installed across the U.K . The installation of security lighting on residential dwellings are covered by planning regulations yet many domestic and commercial properties have inappropriate and excessive lighting installed that  cause nuisance and grievance to the surrounding neighbourhood.

4. The reasons given by many Local Authorities for the increase in Highways and Byeways and street lighting   is  that they are  carrying out  Government  Laws and European Directives and that the extra lighting helps to reduce crime and road accidents Both of these are lame excuses for  the excessive wastage of public money in  the production of electricity in the first place to be left burning all night at full luminosity.

5. The main reason that was put forward for changing over and   using  lower energy halogen  lighting was to reduce costs. This was to be achieved by the ability to alter the luminosity of the street  lighting to suit the environmental application . This cannot be happening if the number of street lights in cities, towns, villages , hamlets , highways and byeways has increased threefold exponentially and  all street lighting is set at full luminosity across the U.K.

6. There should be a reduction in the number of street lights erected on highways and byeways by reverting back to the previous permitted distances between lampposts. Lighting in residential areas should be set at a more acceptable lumen level that does not create discomfort and nuisance to the occupants of the dwellings. The act of reducing  commercial and domestic electric usage  and street lighting   that pollute our night sky  globally would have a significant effect on the reduction of carbon dioxide production created by the excessive production of electricity .

 

Why is this idea important?

Within the last ten years there has been an increase in the number of street lights erected throughout the U.K. For every one of  the  older  style sodium street light that  are   removed, three new style halogen  street lights are erected in its place.

There are a number of issues that this raises….

1. The luminosity of the new style halogen  lighting is far greater than the  sodium  style lighting. This creates nuisance on many levels . Normal residential streets have these halogen  lights on all night  the increased luminosity created by the extra number of lamp posts erected and the lumens they expend is at  a  totally unacceptable level to allow the occupants of the houses to sleep comfortably.

2. There have  not been any studies  carried out of the effects that  the  increase in luminosity has on humans,  animals,birds and insects.

3.  There has been no evidence that  the increase in street lighting has reduced the number of crimes i.e. muggings, burglary  to warrant the propensity of  street lighting and security lighting installed across the U.K . The installation of security lighting on residential dwellings are covered by planning regulations yet many domestic and commercial properties have inappropriate and excessive lighting installed that  cause nuisance and grievance to the surrounding neighbourhood.

4. The reasons given by many Local Authorities for the increase in Highways and Byeways and street lighting   is  that they are  carrying out  Government  Laws and European Directives and that the extra lighting helps to reduce crime and road accidents Both of these are lame excuses for  the excessive wastage of public money in  the production of electricity in the first place to be left burning all night at full luminosity.

5. The main reason that was put forward for changing over and   using  lower energy halogen  lighting was to reduce costs. This was to be achieved by the ability to alter the luminosity of the street  lighting to suit the environmental application . This cannot be happening if the number of street lights in cities, towns, villages , hamlets , highways and byeways has increased threefold exponentially and  all street lighting is set at full luminosity across the U.K.

6. There should be a reduction in the number of street lights erected on highways and byeways by reverting back to the previous permitted distances between lampposts. Lighting in residential areas should be set at a more acceptable lumen level that does not create discomfort and nuisance to the occupants of the dwellings. The act of reducing  commercial and domestic electric usage  and street lighting   that pollute our night sky  globally would have a significant effect on the reduction of carbon dioxide production created by the excessive production of electricity .

 

Role of local government Councils – limit their scope

Local Government Councils (County, Unitary, District, Borough, National Park, Parish) should be reminded and have clear thresholds imposed as to what they can and should get involved in. 

This should be restricted to what is their ability and function is in terms of REGULATORY roles. They should therefore be stopped (unless special licence is given) from wandering into other areas which maybe of interest to them as a corporate body, but which do not serve the people.

I would take for example the desire so many councils have for publicising themselves, paying for designer concept logos, leaflets telling the public how great they are (the council tax bill statement is all that is needed in this regard), putting their names on every bit of land, building, street sign, litter bin, they own.

Apart for knowing who to pay our council taxes to, and what that covers (part of open government and accountability) we don'r need to know that one council does this and another does that because they brandish their named everywhere, all we need is an efficient organisation to carry out the essential tasks in a cost effective manner.

If this means that one council does the bin collecting for another council area, so be it, but we don't need to know all the details, just that the job is being done as we, the public, expect and require.

 

Another example, appointing five-figure salaried 'Communications Directors' , 'European Officers', and similar corporate style posts. What value do they offer the public, what benefit do they give to carrying out the services that Councils are there to do ? 

Why is this idea important?

Local Government Councils (County, Unitary, District, Borough, National Park, Parish) should be reminded and have clear thresholds imposed as to what they can and should get involved in. 

This should be restricted to what is their ability and function is in terms of REGULATORY roles. They should therefore be stopped (unless special licence is given) from wandering into other areas which maybe of interest to them as a corporate body, but which do not serve the people.

I would take for example the desire so many councils have for publicising themselves, paying for designer concept logos, leaflets telling the public how great they are (the council tax bill statement is all that is needed in this regard), putting their names on every bit of land, building, street sign, litter bin, they own.

Apart for knowing who to pay our council taxes to, and what that covers (part of open government and accountability) we don'r need to know that one council does this and another does that because they brandish their named everywhere, all we need is an efficient organisation to carry out the essential tasks in a cost effective manner.

If this means that one council does the bin collecting for another council area, so be it, but we don't need to know all the details, just that the job is being done as we, the public, expect and require.

 

Another example, appointing five-figure salaried 'Communications Directors' , 'European Officers', and similar corporate style posts. What value do they offer the public, what benefit do they give to carrying out the services that Councils are there to do ? 

Reduce Council’s costs – Use English only

Stop spending money on translations, translators and their administrators; people should be able to understand English. Those that can't should be required to provide, at their cost, family members or friends to explain any documents etc. Those who have managed to get into this country without understanding English and  without family or friends should not be here claiming support.

Why is this idea important?

Stop spending money on translations, translators and their administrators; people should be able to understand English. Those that can't should be required to provide, at their cost, family members or friends to explain any documents etc. Those who have managed to get into this country without understanding English and  without family or friends should not be here claiming support.

Abolish local government

I propose that local government be entirely abolished. I expect the cost savings would be huge.

Clearly, local government fulfils some important functions, such as running schools and emptying our bins. It would be perfectly possible to transfer those functions to central government, and no doubt it would be more efficient to do so, because of economies of scale.

Some local government functions could easily be axed. Seriously, how many people would be disadvantaged if your local Diversity and Community Engagement Team (no, I'm not making that up, my council really has one) ceased to exist?

At a stroke, we could abolish the council tax. This is not only expensive to administer, but is widely considered to be unfair (particularly to pensioners). Obviously some of the money would still be needed to fund bin collection, schools etc, but that could be raised by increasing income tax (leaving most people better off as a result, as the costs of doing things centrally would be much less than wasteful local government). Same goes for business rates. 

Defenders of local government will point to the democratic accountability that local government gives us. But in reality, it's a complete sham. Much of what local governments do is dictated by central government anyway. And where local governments have discretion to do things their way, I see no evidence that democracy works in any meaningful sense. If you think local democracy works, then consider this: of the councils that have decided to go for fortnightly bin collections, what proportion of residents in those areas were in favour of that change?

Why is this idea important?

I propose that local government be entirely abolished. I expect the cost savings would be huge.

Clearly, local government fulfils some important functions, such as running schools and emptying our bins. It would be perfectly possible to transfer those functions to central government, and no doubt it would be more efficient to do so, because of economies of scale.

Some local government functions could easily be axed. Seriously, how many people would be disadvantaged if your local Diversity and Community Engagement Team (no, I'm not making that up, my council really has one) ceased to exist?

At a stroke, we could abolish the council tax. This is not only expensive to administer, but is widely considered to be unfair (particularly to pensioners). Obviously some of the money would still be needed to fund bin collection, schools etc, but that could be raised by increasing income tax (leaving most people better off as a result, as the costs of doing things centrally would be much less than wasteful local government). Same goes for business rates. 

Defenders of local government will point to the democratic accountability that local government gives us. But in reality, it's a complete sham. Much of what local governments do is dictated by central government anyway. And where local governments have discretion to do things their way, I see no evidence that democracy works in any meaningful sense. If you think local democracy works, then consider this: of the councils that have decided to go for fortnightly bin collections, what proportion of residents in those areas were in favour of that change?

Nationalised Standardised Recycling & Waste Policy

It is rediculous that across the country and even across London Boroughs, the recycling and waste collection facilities and what can be collected vary.  Surely a Nationwide Policy would be more suitable.  Economies of Scale of more sensible and coordinated collections working with a number of different private companies that now provide these varying collection facilities would save money, help the UK achieve environmental targets, reduce confusion and reduce landfill.

Why is this idea important?

It is rediculous that across the country and even across London Boroughs, the recycling and waste collection facilities and what can be collected vary.  Surely a Nationwide Policy would be more suitable.  Economies of Scale of more sensible and coordinated collections working with a number of different private companies that now provide these varying collection facilities would save money, help the UK achieve environmental targets, reduce confusion and reduce landfill.

All Prisoners must be enrolled on to Unpaid Public Service Work Programmes.

It is a disgrace that it costs £30,000-£40,000 per anum to house a prisoner to spend 24 hours of the day laying idle in their cell.

Why can't these criminals who have cost society, not be used as a free human resource to work on some of the labour intensive public work projects – in order to pay society back.

Such suggestions could be digging trenches so underground cable connection can reach our rural parts of the country? Who BT simply cannot afford to cater due to the huge cost (mainly labour costs) – and the small revenues it'd generate. 

Why can't prisoners be the ones who clean our dirty streets, our public places.

I am not suggesting our prison population to undergo tortuous third world conditions and treatment. However, I cannot accept that we the public should be expected to tolerate that a prisoner's life is allowed to stay dormant in cells, then catapulted back in to society once their sentence has finished. The money spent on housing a prisoner is horrendously more than what is spent on the average pensioner's state pension.

I can understand the practicalities of trying to harness prisoners as a cheap human resource are difficult. There is an increased risk of escape, which increases the public's risk, however, surely technologies can be developed to monitor groups of working out-of-prison prisoners. 

It just seems to me that the government has not had the bottle in the past to test the waters on this issue, which I can imagine is a minefield of human right's red tape, but I do feel that the government has not ever simply sat down and looked through the figures – this could save the country a lot of money.

And justly so.

Why is this idea important?

It is a disgrace that it costs £30,000-£40,000 per anum to house a prisoner to spend 24 hours of the day laying idle in their cell.

Why can't these criminals who have cost society, not be used as a free human resource to work on some of the labour intensive public work projects – in order to pay society back.

Such suggestions could be digging trenches so underground cable connection can reach our rural parts of the country? Who BT simply cannot afford to cater due to the huge cost (mainly labour costs) – and the small revenues it'd generate. 

Why can't prisoners be the ones who clean our dirty streets, our public places.

I am not suggesting our prison population to undergo tortuous third world conditions and treatment. However, I cannot accept that we the public should be expected to tolerate that a prisoner's life is allowed to stay dormant in cells, then catapulted back in to society once their sentence has finished. The money spent on housing a prisoner is horrendously more than what is spent on the average pensioner's state pension.

I can understand the practicalities of trying to harness prisoners as a cheap human resource are difficult. There is an increased risk of escape, which increases the public's risk, however, surely technologies can be developed to monitor groups of working out-of-prison prisoners. 

It just seems to me that the government has not had the bottle in the past to test the waters on this issue, which I can imagine is a minefield of human right's red tape, but I do feel that the government has not ever simply sat down and looked through the figures – this could save the country a lot of money.

And justly so.