shop4support York website questioned

Residents accessing a new York web site have questioned the York Councils role in the initiative.

Although available since May, the shop4support site has had little publicity and there is no explanation on the site of the Councils role or the standing of the site.

click to access site

click to access site

It appears to advertise services for disadvantaged people in the City but representatives of some voluntary organisations say they have only just found out about its existence.

It appears that the site is aimed at personal budget holders – residents who have opted to manage their own social care needs from a budget allocated by the local authority. This is a growing number of people in York where the number of direct payment holders has increased from 99 in 2008 to around 300 today. In addition many elderly people also chose now to arrange their own care.

The web page is clearly marked as being a City of York Council supported initiative, but there is no record of the Council having formally discussed its involvement. No Council contact telephone number is advertised on the site. There is no link to the site from the Council’s own web page.

Many of the services offered involve a payment. Although some of the advertisers are voluntary groups, there are others which appear to have a more commercial background.

Elsewhere on the web site, Councils are being offered the chance to get join the network in return for a payment of “from £45,000”.

Questions about the Councils involvement with the web site are likely to be asked at the next Council meeting which is taking place on 10th October.

Social care costs in York click to enlarge

Social care costs in York click to enlarge

York Council call centre customers face 20 minute wait

Figures for August released today by the Council will confirm many residents experiences.

The time being taken by the Council to answer telephone calls is ridiculously high.

West Offices

In some cases, residents have had to wait for 20 minutes for their call to be answered.

Many Councils routinely publish on their web site quality of service stats covering basic services such as the time taken to deal with issues. The York Council fails to do so.

In response to a Freedom of Information request, the Council has now admitted that the maximum time that telephone callers had to wait, during the week commencing 5th August, was:

Between 8:00am and 9:00am 3:52 mins (maximum waiting time for call to be answered)

9am-10am 11:30 mins

10am-11am 09:22 mins

11am-12am 08:34 mins

12am -1pm 12:32 mins

1pm -2 pm 11:56 mins

2 pm-3pm 20:22 mins

3pm -4pm 10:27 mins

4pm -5 pm 10:03 mins

5pm -5:30pm 16:21 mins

The failures have prompted calls for the switchboard to remain open for an additional hour to deal with the backlog.

It is likely that many callers will have abandoned their attempts to get through.

The figures suggest that the quality of service being provided by the Council has declined since it moved into its new “state of the art” West Office building

Friday 13th – Looking unlucky for York Council as traffic congestion and un-emptied bin problems mount

The Council’s web site crashed for a short time as problems with traffic congestion and un-emptied waste bins mount.

Click to update

Click to update

A combination of the Lendal Bridge closure, poor weather and high traffic volumes is causing mounting delays on the northern by pass and the inner ring road.

Further congestion is expected tomorrow as the City hosts the “skyride”.

Meanwhile the backlog in emptying waste bins shows little sign of subsiding. There is talk of working on Saturday to address the backlog but how residents will be made aware of such a decision remains a mystery.

The local media have been strangely reluctant to report the scale of the problem pausing only to remind residents to put their bin out by 0700 hours – pretty much futile if the bins aren’t cleared for over 24 hours.

The Council is now saying “ on Friday 13th September some properties in the following streets did not have their garden waste collected as scheduled:

Poppleton – Streets and all streets off

• Station Road
• Longridge Lane
• Black Dykes Lane
• Main Street
• Ebor Way
• Montague Road
• Millfield Lane
• Beech Grove
• Westfield Close
• Willow Croft
• Hodgeson Lane
• The Green

Clifton – Streets and all streets off• Shipton Road
• Malton Way
• Brompton Road
• Rawcliffe Lane (part)
• Surray Way
• Filingsdale Road
• Eastholme Drive
• Northolme Drive
• Southolme Drive
• Westholme Drive
• Grasmere Grove
• Borrowdale Drive
• Westmore Drive
• Alwyne Drive
• Alwyne Grove
• Westholme Drive
• Potterdale Drive

Rawcliffe – Streets and all streets off• Bowness Drive
• Furness Drive
• Howard Drive
• Troutsdale Avenue
• Stainsdale Close
• St Marks Grove
• Bilsdale Close
• Manor Park Road
• Manor Way
• Rawcliffe Croft
• Eva Avenue
• Manor Lane
• Cobham Way
• Armstrong Way
• Conningham Avenue
• Village Street

We will return to these properties to make collections on Saturday 14th September. Please ensure that your bin is out by 7am as the crews will be returning early in the morning.

“Sherlock” star traces her family history at York Archives

York achivists have helped actress Una Stubbs discover that her grandmother once lived in the York workhouse – and can help others looking to trace ancestors.

Una Stubbs with Sherlock

Una Stubbs with Sherlock

The team, skilled in extracting data from some 800 years of documents conserved in the City Archive, helped Una identify that the woman she knew as strong-minded independent Annie Robinson, gave birth to an illegitimate son in the Huntington Road workhouse in 1903. At the time she was using the name Annie Horsfall. after the family that had informally adopted her as she, herself was born illegitimate.

Una uncovered the information during filming for an episode of Who Do You Think You Are? which airs today (24 July) on BBC 1. With the help of the archivists she was able to trace Annie back to her home in The Groves area of York using documents dating back over 150 years. They revealed a hidden family history of hard work, determination and difficulty.

Filming for the show took place at City of York Council’s Archives last November and the discoveries kept a secret until now. The Archives temporarily closed in February this year in preparation for the building phase of the £1.6m Heritage Lottery Funded ‘Gateway to History’ project. The project will see the Archives provided with a new state-of-the-art home at the York Explore Library Learning Centre, and give more people access to the city’s history than ever before.

People inspired by the programme or interested in genealogy can drop into York Explore seven days a week to talk to staff about where to get started with their own family history.

Bookings are also being taken for two free sessions in September which introduce beginners to tracing their family history using the internet. Contact archives@york.gov.uk for details.

Rubbish skips this month

Although the Council has cut back on the number of amenity skips it provides, several residents associations continue to run programmes aimed at making it easier for tenants to get rid of unwanted items.

The skips are only in place for a few minutes and residents must ensure that they put any rubbish into the skips and do not leave it on the path or highway.

Saturday 6.7.13
1 Ebor St 08:30 09:30
2 Paston Walk 10:30 11:30
4 Kingsway West 08:30 09:30 70-72
5 Stuart Rd 10:30 11:30
6 Windsor Garth 12:30 13:30
7 Hewley Ave 08:30 09:30
8 Rawdon Ave 10:30 11:30
9 Hadrian Ave 12:30 13:30

Saturday 13.7.13
1 Woodlea Ave 08:30 09:30
2 Spurr Court 10:30 11:30
3 Cambridge St 12:30 13:30 Catesby House
4 Bramham Rd 08:30 09:30 Community Centre
5 Oldman Court 10:30 11:30
6 Bellhouse Way 12:30 13:30 Community Centre

Saturday 20.7.13
2 Ostman Rd 10:30 11:30

Saturday 27.7.13
2 Pottery lane 10:30 11:30 Garage Area
5 Fossway 10:30 11:30
8 St Paulinus Church 10:30 11:30

Saturday 3.8.13
1 Dringfield Close 08:30 09:30
2 Ganton Place 10:30 11:30

3 Jute Rd 12:30 13:30
4 Hebden Rise 08:30 09:30
5 Lindsey Ave 10:30 11:30 26-36
6 Fenwick St 12:30 13:30

Rubbish skip locations – Saturday 29th June

Although the Council has cut back on the number of amenity skips it provides, several residents associations continue to run programmes aimed at making it easier for tenants to get rid of unwanted items.

The skips are only in place for a few minutes and residents must ensure that they put any rubbish into the skips and do not leave it on the path or highway.

1 Bramham Rd 08:30 09:30 Outside Community House

2 Saxon Place 10:30 11:30

3 North Lane 12:30 13:30

4 Barfield Rd 08:30 09:30

5 Fossway 10:30 11:30

6 Lindsey Ave 12:30 13:30 124-142

7 Don Ave 08:30 09:30

8 Bramham Rd 08:30 09:30 Grange Lane Junction

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Students help to clear up and give back to the community

City of York Council is teaming up with the British Heart Foundation and students from both the city’s universities to help recycle and reuse household goods from students who are coming to the end of their academic year.

The council will be running two extra waste collections for students who are leaving before their designated collection day. The collections will be on June 15 and 29. Two crews will be circling the main student areas in The Groves and Haxby Road on both dates, and also in the Heslington Road and Hull Road areas on June 29.

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Residents unhappy with York Council’s ice and snow clearance policies

30 days hath September, April, June and November all the rest have 31 save February which has 28 and January which has 80 (and rising)

Damaged salt bin Cornlands Road

Damaged salt bin Cornlands Road

Residents responding to a survey carried out in the Westfield ward, have criticised the York Councils winter maintenance performance.

57% were disappointed with icy weather arrangements.

An overwhelming 97% felt that the Council should top up all salt bins at the beginning of winter.

This winter – for the first time- the Council only filled some of the local salt bins and had to be forced by public opinion to fill the rest around the middle of January.

Unfortunately the bins had been left out over the summer period and many had been damaged. Lids were missing from some of them while many of the rest had become informal litter bins.

We believe that the Council should recover all the bins this summer and repair them.

Then they should make sure that they are out on the streets again, and full, before the icy winter weather starts.

Labour back down on Green Bin Tax – but second bins will cost £35 to empty!

The Liberal Democrat campaign to stop Labour introducing a charge for emptying green bins has been successful.

A report to the Councils Cabinet says that there will be no charge for emptying one bin at each property.

Green bin petition

However the service will not be available between November and March (when less than 17% of green waste is collected). The Council hopes to save around £67,000 by discontinuing this part of the service.

A survey undertaken by the Council revealed that only 14.5% support a charge. That compares to 96% who responded to our survey in the Westfield area who were opposed to a charge.

There are over 5000 additional green bins in use at properties with large gardens. The Council hopes that around 3500 residents will pay £35 a year to have these second bins emptied.

The majority of respondents to the Councils survey supported having a combined food and green waste collection. In other parts of the country this has reduced landfill volumes by 15% and officers are to look further at how this could be introduced in York.

The Council is also to close the Towthorpe recycling centre on one day a week. It appears that they have still not learnt the lesson that closing the Beckfield Lane centre should have taught them (inconvenience means increased landfill volumes).

The Council claim that their online/telephone survey attracted about 1000 responses.

It was attacked as misleading as it failed to explain that changes to the current arrangements would have been unnecessary if the Council had decided to scrap some of its more extravagant plans like establishing an “arts barge” on the Ouse.