Category Archives: Fenland District Council

Praise for Council’s efforts during pandemic as it secures customer service excellence

(Excited about this press release as it relates at least partially to my portfolio covering Emergency Planning and Communication at FDC.)

Praise for Council’s efforts during pandemic as it secures customer service excellence

“…it is clearly apparent that Fenland have gone above and beyond in their efforts to maintain services”

Fenland District Council has once again been reaccredited with the Cabinet Office’s prestigious Customer Service Excellence (CSE) Standard following an annual inspection.

An independent CSE assessor said the Council has continued to meet the gold standard for customer service delivery, and gone “over and above” in its efforts to maintain services during the coronavirus pandemic.

Following a remote assessment in June, assessor Neil Potentier awarded reaccreditation of the Standard, which recognises public, private-sector and voluntary bodies that provide excellent, customer-focused services.

He also awarded the Council CSE ‘Compliance Plus’ accreditation in four areas for showing best practice.

In his report, Mr Potentier said despite working to tight budgets, the Council has continued to deliver excellent customer focused services thanks to the “tremendous resolve of staff who always strive to put the customer at the heart of everything”.

He added: “Councils are by their very nature required to interact with wider communities. However, with the onset of COVID-19 it is clearly apparent that Fenland have gone above and beyond in their efforts to maintain services. It is also clearly apparent that Fenland managed the COVID-19 situation extremely well. There was the potential for a significant dip in performance, but Fenland prevented this through the actions they have taken.”

The assessment report also noted the following strengths:

  • How the Council had utilised and extended consultation using social media platforms
  • The success and effectiveness of a dedicated COVID-19 Response Hub, with deployment of staff from across the workforce to facilitate it
  • The empowerment and use of staff insight in delivering and improving services
  • Many customer access channels to enable residents to access services, including during the coronavirus pandemic
  • Partnering arrangements remain strong with a wide range of partners working with the Council resulting in demonstrable benefits for customers and communities

Councillor Chris Boden, Leader of Fenland District Council and Cabinet member responsible for financial and performance management, said: “I am delighted that the Council has retained its Customer Service Excellence Standard. Fenland is one of the few councils that has consistently achieved this rigorous standard for all of its services, both customer facing and internal, not just individual ones.

“The CSE assessor was highly complementary of the Council’s emphasis on continuing to deliver excellent customer focused services, especially in light of the current COVID-19 restrictions. This is testament to the hard work and commitment from Council staff and Members in putting the people we serve at the heart of everything we do.”

Moving forward, the Council is keen to explore new ways of working which maximise available technology, such as more contactless services, to be ready for the ‘new normal’ post COVID-19 and further improve customer experience.

The Most Awful Lies Ever Told About Me

The Most Awful Lies Ever Told About Me

Please see below the full statement from the FDC Legal Team and Senior Officers on behalf of the Council, which demonstrates what a terrible and outright lie has been told about me.

My own statement:

This is the worst thing anybody has ever tried to do to me. I am still stunned that somebody would completely make up a story and spread such awful lies. I did not realise people could be so awful. I can only speculate as to who else might have been involved and what sort of unpleasant individual would think this was okay.

I don’t know why this gentleman decided to do this. I have barely had any interactions with him. But I have taken legal advice and will be proceeding as advised against both the originator of these awful lies and the people who shared them.

Thank you to all my friends for your support. It would have been so much worse if people had believed these lies and it has been a blessing to see that my many friends not only did not believe – but were angry on my behalf. Thank you.

Can You Offer Help?

The Socially Distant Blog Post

The Socially Distant Blog Post

Writing this simply because I have some limited free time and thought I should update the blog.

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been working with Sam Hoy (and others) covering Wisbech and the surrounding villages (Leverington, Tydd St Giles, Elm, Friday Bridge and others) as volunteers with Fenland District Council.  We are running errands, shopping and picking up medication for elderly and/or vulnerable individuals who have no other support and need urgent help during the Covid-19 Crisis.

Initially it was very hard work, as it was just Sam and I covering the entire Wisbech area on behalf of the FDC line.  We managed to keep up, but it was a struggle on occasion as calls were literally flooding in.  It was quite upsetting as some of these people were very frightened and in panic mode and some were absolutely desperate.  The “normal” routes of care struggle when everybody is overwhelmed with fear and you lose huge swathes of your regular volunteers and carers to isolation and illness.

It was disappointing to see a local newspaper invent a completely false story and present a narrative that had little bearing on the truth.  But I guess even in a pandemic a leopard doesn’t change its spots.  It was also disappointing to see some opposition types looking to invent a story where one did not exist, but luckily that was quickly closed down by clear guidance from the very top in the virus response team at regional level.

Nevertheless, as the situation has progressed things have got better.  More volunteers have come on board.  The work done by other groups like 50 Backpacks and the Red Cross have been exceptional.  County Council has been delivering emergency food packages to many vulnerable people too.  All these different streams of help have been coming together and finding the best ways to support one another and work.

During all this i’ve had several jobs.  As Portfolio holder for Communication at FDC i’ve been making sure lots of information is pushed out with regular press releases.  I’m working directly with senior officers to do everything we can to make sure people have easy access to help when they need it and all the *accurate* information to help them.  I’ve also been trying to encourage people to stay calm,  The Covid 19 virus is a horrible one and it is certainly dangerous, particularly for the elderly and vulnerable  People should follow Government guidance, stay safe and stay calm.  Fear is also a killer, and this is obvious by what volunteers are seeing when they are out helping vulnerable people.  Caution and care is vital, scaremongering is unhelpful.  Getting the balance right is important.

Presently I am spending about 11 hours on most free days going back and forth to shops, chemists etc helping people who have no other support.  All of this is done with maximum precautions for those who we are helping – 2m distance at all times.  Hands washed before and after every visit.  Following the most stringent protocols for every person we visit, exactly as instructed from those running the operations at the highest regional level.  It’s a long day and its sad to see how utterly terrified some folks are.  I wish there was more that we could do to help them.

Lots of other volunteers have joined the team now.  We have FACT working in many areas and regular folks are also helping their own elderly and vulnerable neighbours.  It’s a tough time, but I feel we will get through it working together.

I hope all my readers are well and safe.  If you need help in Fenland call 01354 654321 for the Fenland Helpline.  You are not alone.

Council agrees motion against plans for Wisbech incinerator

FENLAND DISTRICT COUNCIL

PRESS RELEASE

February 27, 2020

Council agrees motion against plans for Wisbech incinerator

Members of Fenland District Council will be writing to the Energy Secretary making clear its opposition to plans to build an incinerator in Wisbech.

The move comes after councillors almost unanimously backed a motion against the waste facility at a full Council meeting last week.

The motion was put forward by Cllr Steve Tierney, a Wisbech town councillor and Fenland District Council’s Cabinet member responsible for Waste and Recycling (strategic) and Communications.

The motion states that the Council does not support the construction of an incinerator in Wisbech, and will write to Alok Sharma MP, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to stress its opposition to the plans.

It also states that the Council “will take any and all legal avenues and processes available to continue to fight on behalf of the residents of Wisbech, the surrounding villages, and Fenland as a whole and to challenge this unwelcome scheme every step of the way”.

Cllr Tierney said: “The district council is not in favour of waste being tackled through incineration and we will do everything within our legal power to fight these toxic plans. We need to raise awareness of these plans so people understand the full implications, and make our voices heard.

“The 50 megawatt plant would be positioned in Algores Way, close to the Thomas Clarkson Academy, and there are fears it could impact air pollution, health and congestion. With a 95-metre high chimney it would also dominate the skyline and be visible for miles.”

The scale of the proposed development is such that the planning application will be decided by the Secretary of State, rather than by Cambridgeshire County Council.

“It is essential for local people and local councils to make their views known,” added Cllr Tierney. “It is also important that local people see that Fenland District Council understands the strength of public opinion against the incinerator and that it is willing to stand up and be counted in the campaign to try and prevent it ever happening.”

  • A public meeting about the incinerator, organised by Wisbech Town Council, is being held at the Queen Mary Centre in Wisbech on Friday, March 13, at 6pm. The meeting will provide more information about the proposals and seeks to unite those opposing its development. There will also be speakers, including Steve Barclay MP.
  • A copy of the motion agreed by Fenland District Council can be viewed at: https://www.fenland.gov.uk/localgov/documents/s5684/Motion.pdf

Golden Age Fair a hit with older residents

FENLAND DISTRICT COUNCIL

PRESS RELEASE

February 24, 2020

Golden Age Fair a hit with older residents

Fenland District Council’s first Golden Age Fair of 2020 was a huge success, showcasing the various services available to over 60’s in Fenland.

On Tuesday, February 11, residents from across the district braved the cold to visit the event at Walsoken Village Hall with 22 partner organisations also in attendance to provide advice, help and assistance to the older generations in Fenland.

A vast selection of services were available at the event with Freedom Leisure offering health checks and service information, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Against Scams Partnership providing scam avoidance advice and Careline offering a range of guidance including financial safety advice.

Elsewhere at the event, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service were exchanging electric blankets and offering fire safety advice, Everyone Health provided fitness MOTs, Peterborough Environment City Trust gave energy information while the Alzheimer’s Society offered benefits guidance and referrals.

Cllr Susan Wallwork, the Council’s Portfolio Holder for Communities, said: “The feedback we received from visitors on the day was once again fantastic; everyone who completed a feedback form felt that the event was either good or very good and all respondents indicated they would recommend the fair to others.”

She added: “The Golden Age events have long been a popular staple in our yearly calendar and the advice, support and sense of community at these events is invaluable to the older generations. I encourage everyone to look out for an upcoming Golden Age event near you.”

The event was the first of four Golden Age Fairs that will be held across Fenland this year and preparation for the next event is currently underway. More information on the next Golden Age Fair will be announced later in the month.

Vindicated!

Vindicated!

*This blog post written in a personal capacity only, as per my disclaimer.

The Conduct Complaint that was thrown at me by the usual suspect/s has been thrown out.

No case to answer.  No further action.

Surplus Land

Surplus Land

What A Weekend

What A Weekend

That’s quite a weekend I’ve just had.  Spent Saturday at Wisbech Castle running the Cafe and it was a busy one.  Then I had to rush home and pack the car with disco equipment as I provided the free disco for the FACET charity fundraising party in March.

Despite the late night working I was up early to help set up Armed Forces Day in Wisbech Market Place and then manning the Air Cadets stall with cadets and other volunteers.

In the afternoon I had the great pleasure to attend the Nine Lives Live show at Wisbech Institute.   It was an incredible, exceptionally, inspirational show.  These guys just get better and better.  I have always enjoyed their shows before, but this time my Son was part of the show with two solo songs and lots of other acting and singing parts and even some tap dancing.  My Wife and I were very proud parents.

Unfortunately, the day ended a little sadly as the Castle CCTV and a local witness saw kids trespassing into the Castle grounds.  They did some minor mischief but nothing major.  We have very clear pictures of them and know exactly who they are.  We will be alerting the Police.

The week ahead is pretty crazy.  Now that I’m a Cabinet Member at FDC its pretty “full on” with meetings almost every day this week alongside my normal jobs.  I’m enjoying it though.  I’ve long felt that Communications (a part of my new portfolio) needed a shake up and that’s precisely what I am trying to do.  Officers have been very helpful so far and I think a lot can be achieved.

Wisbech Park Lighting Upgrade

Wisbech Park Lighting Upgrade