council wardens

Emissions blitz nets four offenders

A two-day crackdown on dodgy cars which damage the environment saw Renfrewshire Council workers net four offenders.

Staff from the Renfrewshire Wardens Service took to the streets of Paisley town centre to check whether vehicle emissions were within the legal requirements.

Of the 281 vehicles tested, four failed and were issued with £60 fixed-penalty notices.

Also present were staff from the council’s licensing section, who inspected 13 taxis and 20 private-hire vehicles – with one driver given an immediate suspension for failing the emissions test.

Licensing staff also issued six compliance notices to cabbies for a range of defects including worn tyre treads, blown bulbs and missing fire extinguishers.

The tests – at Wallneuk, Renfrew Road, Paisley – were carried out in partnership with officers from Strathclyde Police’s Road Policing Unit, who were responsible for pulling over the vehicles from traffic.

Councillor Chris Gilmour, Deputy Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Environment and Infrastructure Policy Board, visited the testing site to see the operation in action.

He said: “The aim of this campaign was to issue a highly-visible reminder to drivers that it is up to them to ensure their vehicle’s condition complies with the law.

“The fact more than 98 per cent of vehicles passed the emissions test shows that Renfrewshire’s motorists take that responsibility seriously.

“Vehicle emissions which are outwith the legal limit are liable to pollute the air we all breathe, which brings with it various potential health risks.

“The job of the wardens is to make sure Renfrewshire is a greener and cleaner place to live, and preventing damage to the environment is a key part of that.”

All drivers fined on the day will have the penalty waived if they are able to produce evidence the emissions problem has been fixed within 14 days of the offence.

The police also detected a number of minor road offences during the testing, including vehicle defects and seatbelt violations.

All drivers were also given a council leaflet containing information on the problems caused by vehicle idling.

Picture one (from left to right): Martin Brier, civic enforcement officer; Jeanette Love, senior warden; Councillor Chris Gilmour; Andy Redmond, environmental protection officer; PC Sandra Ewing; with Eric Gilday, senior warden (front).

Picture two: Jeanette and Eric test one vehicle’s emissions.

For more information please visit Renfrewshire Council.

renfrewshire council

Renfrewshire residents offered support on benefit cuts

Renfrewshire residents are being urged to prepare now for major welfare reforms which could see them lose out on benefits.

Renfrewshire Council is launching a range of measures to help local residents prepare for the impact of changes being made to the benefits system by the UK Government under their Welfare Reform programme.

Councillor Mike Holmes, Renfrewshire Council’s Welfare Reform spokesperson, said: “The huge benefit changes being brought in by the UK Government are seriously worrying and what we’re particularly concerned about is that people don’t know about the changes or aren’t going to find out early enough for them to prepare.

“That’s why we’re taking action to raise awareness and provide as much information about the changes as possible, as soon as possible.

“We’re also keen to work with our partners wherever possible to support local residents so the Welfare Reform summit in December will be an important opportunity for local organisations to get together and discuss a joined up approach.”

Working age people in Renfrewshire could lose as much as £22million in benefits as a result of welfare reform.

The council is hosting two events in December, including a Welfare Reform summit with partner organisations, such as housing associations and advice providers, whose clients will also be affected in order to explore ways of working together to help local people.

The second event will be a Make the Most of Your Money Day in Paisley Town Hall on Thursday 13 December which will offer members of the public a chance to come along and speak to a range of experts and organisations about benefits, debt and money advice.

Information about the imminent changes will also be provided on the council’s website and social media sites, and staff training is being carried out to ensure key groups of council employees can advise the public of changes that might affect them and where they can get support.

The customer contact centre within the council’s headquarters is also being revamped to create more space to cope with anticipated increase in demand for services from the public.

In addition, eight young unemployed people have been taken on as trainees to provide further support for housing tenants affected by benefit changes. Over the next few weeks, the council will be sending leaflets to tenants expected to be affected by new housing benefit rules, often known as ‘under-occupancy rules’ or ‘bedroom tax’.

These rules will mean people in social rented accommodation who the government believes have more rooms than they need will have their housing benefit cut. In many cases this means the amount of housing benefit they receive will no longer cover their rent.

Councillor Tommy Williams, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Housing and Community Safety Policy Board, said: “We’re sending leaflets to our tenants who are going to be affected by under-occupancy rules set to come into effect in April.

“This change alone is expected to affect more than 3000 households in Renfrewshire and could see more than £1.8million in housing benefit lost locally so it’s vital that we start to speak to our tenants now about what options are available to them.

The changes being brought in under Welfare Reform are largely aimed at people of working age, rather than pensioners.

To find out more about the changes go to www.renfrewshire.gov.uk/benefitchanges

Renfrewshire_TeamoftheYear

Renfrewshire Council’s procurement team is celebrating after staff won three prestigious awards at their industry Oscars – at both UK and Scottish level.

The team – which oversees the council’s purchasing needs – lifted the Team of the Year and Leadership of the Year titles at the Government Opportunities Awards Scotland last month.

They then followed it up by winning the Outstanding Achievement in Procurement for a Unitary Authority honour at the Society of Procurement Officers in Local Government Awards in London.

Renfrewshire_TeamoftheYearRenfrewshire Council established its procurement team in 2009, and since then has delivered savings of around £4 million by introducing more efficient practices.

Councillor Michael Holmes, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s General Management and Finance Policy Board, who attended the GO Awards ceremony in Glasgow, said: “It is of the utmost importance the council gets value for taxpayer money in all its dealings.

“The council spends more than £200 million a year on a massive range of goods and services from thousands of different suppliers, both big and small.

“The job of the corporate procurement unit is to co-ordinate all contracts and spending as efficiently as possible.

“For the team to be recognised by their peers – and not just in Scotland but at a UK level too – is testament to how well they are doing. I would like to congratulate them on these awards.

“In these tough economic times, it is a real boost that we have been able to save
£4 million, which can then be reinvested elsewhere.”

The submissions for both awards outlined how the council has made savings well in excess of targets by introducing new ways of working over the past three years.

The corporate procurement unit’s innovative structure – with one centralised team dealing with all council spending – is considered rare within local government.

Ends

For more information, call Colin Orr, Renfrewshire Council Communications Unit, on 0141 618 7348.

For regular updates on local news and events follow @RenCouncilNews on Twitter or our page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/renfrewshirecouncil.

Paisley photographs of Paisley Christmas lights 2012

Paisley Photographs of the Paisley Christmas Lights 2012

Paisley was transformed into a winter wonderland as the town’s spectacular Christmas lights celebration took place on Saturday.

Chart stars Stooshe were the grand finale to a fantastic day as a record crowd of 38,000 crammed into the town centre.

Cold temperatures and rain showers didn’t put families off enjoying the full day of events, kickstarted by Buddie’s Elf Parade from the Piazza Shopping Centre at noon.

All Paisley Photographs taken by Scott Williamson and has kindly given permission to paisley.org.uk to use them.

LtoR Alex Hamilton_ Joanna Boddy_ Liz Snodgrass and Bob Leslie

Renfrewshire social worker wins top award

Liz Snodgrass, from Renfrewshire Council, has won the first ever Wilma MacDonald Mental Health Officer (MHO) of the Year Award.

The Scottish Association of Social Work (SASW) set up the award in honour of Wilma MacDonald, a Mental Health Officer who worked in the East End of Glasgow for many years. Wilma died in 2010.

LtoR Alex Hamilton_ Joanna Boddy_ Liz Snodgrass and Bob Leslie

Liz was nominated by her colleagues in the MHO Service at Renfrewshire Council. She said, “It’s a great honour and privilege to receive this award, especially as it’s supported by the MacDonald family. Working as an MHO can be very challenging and the support and understanding of colleagues is an essential ingredient in making sure the decisions reached help the individual service user.

“There is a lot of work to do in the area of mental health, not least to try and minimise the stigma of mental illness and to continue to improve the quality of life, and the lifespan, of people who suffer from mental illness. MHOs can and do make a difference in society and it’s great that the SASW has taken the first steps in recognising this.”

Councillor Iain McMillan, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Community and Family Care Policy Board, said, “This is welcome recognition for Liz personally and for Renfrewshire Council’s Social Work Service.

“Liz is a passionate advocate for the people who use our services. She goes the extra mile to protect people’s rights and puts the individual at the centre of her work. She is an excellent team player and a supportive colleague.

“Importantly, Liz is also keen to pass on her knowledge and best practice. She has been a tutor on the MHO training course and is currently a Practice Assessor. Renfrewshire Council’s goal is to ensure that the Social Work Service is staffed by well qualified and well motivated people and Liz is a shining example.”

Liz’ nomination highlighted an example of her work in dealing with an elderly man on a Guardianship Order. His benefits had built up while he was in hospital but his care home had claimed the money in fees. She navigated a complex system and sought the help of the Office for the Public Guardian, the Care Inspectorate and the Mental Welfare Commission to make sure the care home repaid the money.

www.renfrewshire.gov.uk

Paisley Photographs of the Paisley Christmas Lights Switch on 2012

Paisley on the web volunteers were in almost every area of the town for photographs, covering everything from the Santa Claus Parade by the Piazza Shopping Centre to travelling on the open top bus, giving a quite unique angle to the town. We also covered all the events on stage and got some unique shots from the Piazza roof later on during the Lights Switch On. All Paisley Photographs were taken by Alex Kyle for www.paisley.org.uk 

You can find more photographs on the Paisley Facebook Page by clicking here, or to find out more about Alex please click here.

cenotaph memorial

Paisley Photographs of the Paisley war memorial commemoration to the fallen.

Volunteers from Paisley on the web were at the Cenotaph this morning to give our respects along with schoolchildren, politicians, members of the public and members of the armed forces serving and served to commemorate all those lost in all conflicts and wars over the years. Lest we forget.

TOMORROWS VETERAN

When I am old
With my medals on my chest
Will you be grateful
That I did my very best

When I am old
Will those words still haunt me
‘We shouldn’t have been there’
Even though, I helped keep you free

When I am old
And tears for my comrades fall
Will any of you understand
Side by side, we stood proud and tall

When I am old
Will you forget about me
Because if today you don’t acknowledge us, then….
Tomorrow our parades, you won’t want to see!!

Author: Di G ©

All Paisley Photographs taken by Ian McDonald for www.paisley.org.uk of the Paisley Remembrance Parade 2012

Paisley Christmas Lights 2012

Paisley Christmas Light Switch on 2012

Paisley was rocking today when Gina McKie from Radio Clyde hosted the main stage in Paisley Town Centre for the Paisley Christmas Light Switch On 2012. The Red Hot Chilli Pipers and the Singing Kettle entertained the families who turned out in huge numbers when the Pop Group Stooshe switched on the lights for 2012.

The photographs below were taken by Cameron Pollock for www.paisley.org.uk showing the stage area and also the Christmas Lights, set up beside the town’s Paisley Abbey.

To see more of Cameron’s Photographs on Facebook click here.

Santa Parade 2012

Santa’s Parade Paisley Piazza Shopping Centre

What a fantastic day it was in Paisley with the Christmas lights being switched on earlier this evening, Paisley on the web were out in force to capture the day. It started from the Piazza Shopping Centre with ‘Santa’s Parade’ starring Buddie the Elf, a parade of vehicles including an open topped bus and a horse and cart with a huge following crowd, and ended with the lights being switched on by Chart Toppers Stooshe. We have all the Paisley Photographs and will be posting them up during tonight and tomorrow. Below is our first batch of photos taken by Ian McDonald for www.paisley.org.uk

If you have any photographs you would like to post on here please send them in, all photos will be credited to the photographer..

Keep coming back to the website for more photographs from Paisley today.

Renfrewshire_Council_ezg_1

Renfrewshire Council Leader Mark Macmillan will host the organisation’s first ever live ‘ask’ session on Facebook and Twitter this month.

Councillor Macmillan will take questions on the council’s two key social media pages on Thursday 15 November from 8pm until 9pm.

The session will be on a specific theme that’s crucial to the area and which is a top priority of the Council Leader.

Renfrewshire_Council_ezg_1Councillor Macmillan said: “I want to have a conversation with people who live, work and do business in Renfrewshire on a key theme that’s vital to the area and which is at the top of my priority list – jobs, business and the economy.

“It’s no secret that we’re still facing difficult times as a result of Renfrewshire being given the lowest Scottish Government grant settlement of any mainland council year-on-year since 2009. And it’s not going to get easier for residents any time soon with the UK Government set to slash benefits in Renfrewshire by £22 million.

“But aside from that I am absolutely determined to stand up for Renfrewshire and to do all I can to make this a better place for our residents and businesses.

“I’m hosting this live session because I want to know what people think about our economy and I also want them to question and challenge me on this important issue.”

On Thursday 15 November at 8pm, Twitter users should tweet their questions on jobs, business and the economy to Councillor Macmillan@RenCouncilNews and use the hashtag #askMM. Facebook users should post their questions on the council’s Facebook page timeline which can be found at: facebook.com/renfrewshirecouncil

If the session proves to be busy with lots of questions – and if there’s anything that can’t be answered on the night, replies will be given over the following days.

Over 2,000 people follow the council on Facebook and 5,500 on Twitter.