Croydon Update 11 September

Overview

The government has at least agreed to give Croydon Council £2.3 million after the authority warned it could have to stop taking in refugee children. COVID vaccination clinics are continuing to operate for those 16 and 18 and over. Registration to vote in the referendum for the Leader/Cabinet or a Mayor on 7 October closes on 21 September. The Council is limited in what if can do re-economic recovery due to lackof key information. South West London Law Centres is raising manmic recovery. y to help m those who use their services. The Boxpark boss wants to take on Whitgift. Agency staff cost twice as much per hour that Council employed staff.  Trading Standards says that while riding escooters is illegal it is not illegal to sell them

Extra Money For Unaccompanied Children

The government has agreed to give Croydon Council £2.3 million after the authority warned it could have to stop taking in refugee children.

www.mylondon.news/news/south-london-news/croydon-wins-23-million-after-21524261

The Government could have agreed this as part of the loan agreement to enable the Council to balance the budget. I did ask the Secretary of State to consider this at the time he was considering the loan request.

Are You Registered To Vote?

Midnight 21 September is the closing date for registering on the electoral register it be able to vote in the Mayor referendum on 7 October? Do you have new neighbours who might not yet be registered?

https://news.croydon.gov.uk/register-now-to-vote-in-croydons-referendum

COVID Vac Walk-In Clinics For Anyone Aged 16+

Mayday Community Pharmacy. To Wednesday 15 September.9.30am-6pm (Sat, Tues, Wed). 10am-6pm (Sun, Mon). Pfizer and Oxford-AZ.

Centrale Shopping Centre. Sunday 12 September, 9am-6.30pm. Oxford-AZ and Pfizer; Monday 13 to Sunday 19 September. 8.30am-6.45pm. Oxford-AZ. 9am-6.30pm. Pfizer.

Coulsdon Vaccination Centre – St Aidan’s Church Hall. Tuesday 14 and Wednesday 15 September. 9am-1pm. Pfizer and Oxford-AZ.

Please bring proof of age and your vaccination card from your first dose.

COVID Vac Walk-In Clinics For Anyone Aged 18+

Aumex Pharmacy. Tuesday 14 and Wednesday 15 September. 9am-5pm. Moderna.

McCoigs Pharmacy, Monday 13 September, 9am-5.30pm. Pfizer.

Please bring proof of age and your vaccination card from your first dose.

Events

Sunday 12 September. 8pm. Four Gone Confusion and Singers’ Night

Folk & Blues at Ruskin House

Monday 13  September. 7.30 for 8pm. Nick Marshall

Folk Club at Ruskin House

www.croydonfolkclub.org.uk 

Sunday 19 September. Support South London Law Centre In London to Brighton Cycle Run

South London Law Centre trustee Claire Gilbert and her partner James will raise money for the Centre.

Sunday 19 September. 8pm. Phil Retourne and Singers’ Night

Folk & Blues at Ruskin House

www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/autism-growing-up-my-way-tickets-170081687907

Thursday 7 October. 6.30pm. Friends of the Earth Green Jobs For London

eventbrite.co.uk/e/green-jobs-for-london-2021-tickets-166626880485

The South London Law Centres are taking part as part of their launch of a crisis fund to give their clients emergency support.

Agency Staff Cost Twice That Of Council Staff

The average hourly cost of paying staff supplied by agencies to the Council is £41 as opposed to £20.59 for Council staff. These figures are contained in the answer to a Freedom of Information request I made. The request and the answers are as follows.

1. In relation to the potential number of job cuts that had to be made, what safeguards were in place to ensure that the burden did not fall disproportionately on BAME workers, and on staff with long service records and therefore accumulated institutional knowledge and understanding?

An Equalities Impact Assessment is undertaken to assess any disproportional impact on BAME workers and other protected characteristics.

2. What is the average cost of paying staff supplied by agencies, and the average cost of staff employed by the Council?

The average cost of paying staff supplied by agencies is £41 per hour and the average cost per hour for Council staff is £20.59.

3. If the average cost of paying staff supplied by agencies is higher why can their posts not be turned into directly employed ones, therefore making a reduction in wages and salary costs without losing staff?

The Council seeks to mitigate any redundancies such as through redeployment and releasing agency staff where possible. Not all posts covered by agency staff are established posts or vacancies, and may be due to project work or specific funding.

Council Limited In Ability To Help

Post-COVID Economic Recovery

It appears that Croydon Council is ill equipped to plan and support economic development post COVID because it lacks key information. This is my conclusion its reply to a Freedom of Information request I submitted. In the answer it recognises the value of a suggestion I have been making for a long time – the need for a Croydon research centre.

1. Is data available to show how many workers who commute into Croydon:

(a) have been on furlough?

(b) have been issued with redundancy notices?

We do not collect or hold this information.


2. How many residents of Croydon who commute out of Borough to work:
(a) have been on furlough?

(b) have been issued with redundancy notices?

We do not collect or hold this information.


3. Has analysis been undertaken as to the small neighbourhood location of all the different categories of people who have received special help during the pandemic and if so when will it be made public?

Analysis has been undertaken for the work completed for businesses. There are no plans to make this public but helps us shape future funding requirements, advice, help and guidance in the recovery.

4. Is it known how many businesses in Croydon have been placed into administration, and how many workers were effected?

We do not collect or hold this information.

5. In order to have a flow of independent robust analysis of the social-economics of Croydon will the Council discuss with South Bank and Roehampton Universities and Croydon College the joint establishment of a Croydon Research Centre?

The correlation between research, education and skills and economic and social prosperity is widely recognised by the council and both universities and the GLA.

We are working with the GLA, Universities, Colleges and BIDs to provide open data that would be available from October to assist organisations to do robust analysis.

We currently have no plans for a joint research centre but recognise the potential in the suggestion and will most certainly look at how we can share data openly.

News

Boxpark Boss Proposes To Rescue Whitgift Centre

‘Boxpark founder Roger Wade has expressed interest in forming a consortium to save the redevelopment of Croydon after Westfield and Hammerson walked away from the town centre. Speaking to Retail Week, Wade called the end of the Croydon Partnership’s plans to redevelop the Whitgift shopping centre in the town “a crying shame” and said he was in discussions with property funds and other stakeholders about the possibility of forming a consortium to take over the redevelopment.’ (Retail Week. 18 August)

Value Of South West London Law Centres Recognised

Croydon has one the South West London Law Centres Offices. SWLLC was the winner of the Excellence in Law award 2020 and is a finalist this year. It is on the short list for this year’s Law Society Awards.

The Far Right Rears Its Ugly Head

www.mylondon.news/news/south-london-news/croydon-protests-far-rightanti-immigration-21484205

Extinction Rebellion

www.facebook.com/XRCroydon/

Croydon Community Consortium AGM Papers

Croydon Community Energy Survey

www.croydoncommunityenergy.co.uk

Croydon Green Network Update

https://cvalive.org.uk/empowering-the-community/networks/croydon-green-alliance

The Croydon Underground We Never Had

www.mylondon.news/lifestyle/travel/london-underground-extension-angel-croydon-21539062

Trading Standards Earns Brownie Points

For Speed Of Response About Escooters

There is continual complaint about the failure of Councillors and officers to respond to emails. Trading Standards deserves congratulations for the speed of its response to an inquiry a made on the issue of escooters.

I emailed the Cabinet member and deputy for safer Croydon and communities about the issue of EScooters.

‘At last night’s Pollards Hill Residents Association AGM the police explained about the illegality of Escooters.

It raised in my mind the question that if riding them on the pavement and in the road is illegal then should Trading Standards be taking action against shops in Croydon that are selling illegal Escooters?

I cannot find an email on the Council website for TS. The automatic page to notify a query does not list Trading Standards nor is there an ‘Other’ option. Therefore it is not possible to raise the question through the website.

I would be grateful if you would raise these issues with the appropriate officers.’

I had the following reply the next day from Trish Burls, Trading Standards, Food and Safety Manager.

‘I understand your concerns relating to the increased use of e-scooters on public land and the associated dangers. However, the sale of an e-scooter is currently a legal transaction – and Trading standards have no jurisdiction to deal with the use that they are put to post – purchase by an individual. As such this is not something that the team are able to look into.

You mentioned that you were unable to contact the Trading standards team direct – most ‘first point’ enquiries are referred directly to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service and are then disseminated to the team for action where appropriate – this is a national policy.’

I replied:

‘It is really refreshing to receive such a prompt reply – thanks very much.

I don’t think people will understand how it can be legal to sell a product that cannot be legally used on our streets, but because it is there is nothing you can do.

In relation to the website I understand the route to TS is through CAB, although with CABs stretched across the country this now seems to be just a problem of getting individual complaints dealt with.

The issue I raised was not about an individual complaint but about policy and procedure. You will see in my email that the problems with the website design need to be addressed.’

I had a quick reply stating:

I just wanted to confirm with you that I’ve taken your helpful comments on board in relation to the issues that you experienced with making Trading standards contact through the Council website. The website underwent alteration/update in recent months and I believe this is when the contact details may have become less apparent. We’re now in the process of referring a request through to our digital colleagues to work with us to make it clearer. Hopefully this should be amended for the better in the near future.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention …’

Croydon Trading Standards does have a an email address

trading.standards@croydon.gov.uk 

Campaigns

Liberty’s Stop The Policing Bill Petition

https://action.libertyhumanrights.org.uk/page/78339/petition/1?ea.url.id=5489473

About seancreighton1947

Since moving to Norbury in July 2011 I have been active on local economy, housing and environment issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly. I am a member of the Love Norbury Residents Associations Planning & Transport Committees, and Chair of Nobury Community Land Trust. I write for Croydon Citizen at http://thecroydoncitizen.com. I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and edit the North East Popular Politics database. History Project.. I give history talks and lead history walks. I retired in 2012 having worked in the community/voluntary sector and on heritage projects. My history interests include labour movement, mutuality, Black British, slavery & abolition, Edwardian roller skating and the social and political use of music and song. I have a particular interest in the histories of Battersea and Wandsworth, Croydon and Lambeth. I have a publishing imprint History & Social Action Publications.
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