Updates on the Sheffield Trees & the Pre-Trial Rally…….Friday 27th

Updates on the Sheffield Trees & the Pre-Trial Rally…….Friday 27th October

I hope everyone reading my blog has found the STAG website and Facebook page already…….but if not , here they are!

Keep up-to-date with the latest happenings and issues here:

Sheffield trees in the news

And get along to support the protestors here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1842876312708620/?acontext=%7B%22ref%22%3A%224%22%2C%22feed_story_type%22%3A%22308%22%2C%22action_history%22%3A%22null%22%7D

Unbelievable attempts by SCC to quash local environmental democracy………..oooops, and if you live in Sheffield, paid for by you and me too!

 

Ian

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4 Responses to Updates on the Sheffield Trees & the Pre-Trial Rally…….Friday 27th

  1. Technotronic says:

    EXPOSING SCC MISREPRESENTATIONS, LIES & DECEIT

    (Source: https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/827#comment-827 )

    Today, Councillor Alison Teal (Green Party) – a key Sheffield Tree Action Groups activist (this Friday – 27th October 2017 – facing prison for her efforts) Tweeted an extract from an investigation report provided by the Information Commissioner:

    *****
    “Alison Teal‏ @alisonclareteal

    ICO: Sheff Council claim poor standards of recording keeping are reason info can’t be given to public in timely or detailed way. Seriously?pic.twitter.com/zZ4SpVZMzj

    “41.
    The Commissioner considers that this guidance would be appropriate in
    this instance. THE COUNCIL (VIA AMEY) HOLDS INFORMATION ABOUT ITS
    MAINTENANCE PROGRAMME IN A WEATHER-STAINED MANUAL FORM
    WITH LITTLE RECOGNISABLE CAPABILITY FOR EXTRACTING DETAILS.

    This shows THE RECORDS are not easy to use, do not allow for quick retrieval,
    and – from what the Council said about ongoing changes to the records –
    DO NOT ALLOW FOR IT GO BACK AND DETERMINE WHAT INFORMATION
    WOULD HAVE BEEN HELD.

    42.
    THE COMMISSIONER RECOMMENDS THAT THE COUNCIL LOOKS AT CREATING A
    CENTRAL RECORD FOR THE WORK THAT IS DUE TO BE CARRIED OUT FOR ITS
    MAINTENANCE PROGRAMME.

    *****IT IS REMARKABLE THAT THE COUNCIL WOULD NEED 2,404 HOURS IN ORDER TO COMPLY WITH THIS REQUEST AND VERIFY THE LOCATION OF THE 143 TREES,*****
    all of which TO CONFIRM THE ACCURACY OF A STATEMENT MADE BY A LOCAL COUNCILLOR.

    From the Council’s submissions IT IS CLEAR THAT ITS RECORDS DO NOT AFFORD MUCH TRANSPARENCY FOR THE WORK THAT IS BEING CARRIED OUT, and
    this does not serve the campaign groups in their attempts to gain information about the work of the maintenance programme.

    43.
    Lastly, IN THE COUNCIL’S LAST SUBMISSIONS IT STATED that it had a concern
    that the 143 trees were still a focus to the request, and THAT THE PASSAGE
    OF TIME FROM WHEN THE REQUEST WAS MADE DIMINISHED THE IMPORTANCE OF
    THE INFORMATION.

    The Commissioner certainly understands the point that
    events are moving onwards, and that her investigation has taken some
    time to reach a final decision. However, she would also note THAT THE
    DELAY COULD HAVE BEEN GREATLY REDUCED HAD THE COUNCIL NOT FAILED TO
    CONFIRM THAT THE INFORMATION WAS HELD ON ITS BEHALF.
    Added to this is the fact that THE COMMISSIONER NEEDED TO INTERROGATE
    the idea that Amey had complied with a request which took 2,404 hours
    of its staff’s time AT COUNCILLOR FOX’S BEHEST.

    It should be obvious why such a statement raises questions and why the Commissioner had to investigate this further; the delay that resulted from this is undesirable but necessary.”

    12:58 am – 26 Oct 2017

    Jenny Jones, Jonathan Bartley, Jonathon Porritt and 7 others
    5 Replies . 37 Retweets 30 Likes

    Source:

    *****
    The ICO report stems from action taken by the SAVE OUR ROADSIDE TREES group – the first of the Sheffield’s Tree Action Groups – following YEARS of attempts by Sheffield City Council – in particular Councillors TERRY FOX and BRYAN LODGE (both as Labour Cabinet Members for Environment & Transport/Streetscene) – to withhold and misrepresent information, with intent to mislead and deceive, rather than respond to enquiries in an open, honest and transparent manner.

    The full report can be accessed using one of the following links:

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/sites/default/files/files/FlexiPave%20-%20SCC%20%26%20AMEY%20LIES%2C%20MISREPRESENTATION%2C%20DECEIT%20%26%20INCOMPETENCE%20EXPOSED%20BY%20THE%20INFORMATION%20COMMISSIONER%20-%20ICO%20Decision%20Notice%20-%20FS50637180.pdf

    https://search.ico.org.uk/ico/search?q=FS50637180

    For the background to this, see the following:

    “FLEXI®-PAVE – SCC / AMEY IGNORANCE & DECEIT”

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/750#comment-750

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/751#comment-751

    Reading that, a quote from the earlier ICO investigation report (published on 19th February 2016):

    “Assessment of suitability/lack of suitability for engineering solutions is made during a ‘walk and build’ process by Amey. This is a joint inspection between a highway engineer and an arboricultural surveyor.

    The team carrying out this “walk and build” hold detailed discussions at site level, considering and debating any and all potential engineering solutions which may be utilised to retain each specific tree, considering the council’s legislative requirements… however, THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS AND RATIONALE FOR THE DECISION IS NOT RECORDED.

    The Commissioner considers that in this case, NO FURTHER INFORMATION IS HELD BEYOND THE LIST OF 25 OPTIONS, provided in response to your initial request… THE COUNCIL HAS NOW CONFIRMED TO YOU THAT NO INFORMATION IS HELD within the scope of your request .”

    This was an investigation in to a response provided, by Sheffield City Council, to a Freedom of Information request (Reference: FOI / 422), submitted on 6th July 2015:

    “Under the FOI act, I request the SPECIFICATIONS for the range of options that were considered and deemed to be impracticable, for the 11 healthy trees due for felling on Rustlings Road.”

    SOURCE:

    See the Information Commissioner’s e-mail, dated 19th February 2016, on pages 14 to 17 of “THE 6Ds & Highway Engineering Specifications” PDF:

    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/sites/default/files/files/6Ds_SCC%20%26%20AMEY%20HIGHWAYS%20INFRASTRUCTURE%20ASSESSMENT%20CRITERIA%20-%20LICENCE%20TO%20KILL_1.pdf

    *****
    Another little nugget also came to mind, (to quote from pages 38 & 28 of the SORT letter dated 29th January 2016):

    “In Freedom of Information request response FOI/423, Streets Ahead has admitted:

    ‘WE DO NOT CARRY OUT A RISK ASSESSMENT
    AS PART OF OUR REVIEW OF TREES.’

    This was in response to the request:

    “Under the FOI act, I request a copy of the risk assessment for the trees that are proposed to be felled on Rustlings Road please”.

    The full communication can be viewed here:
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/206#comment-206

    (Now look at Section 58 of the Highways Act: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1980/66/section/58

    And what SCC say about it:
    https://www.stocksbridgecommunity.org/comment/820#comment-820 )

  2. SORT EXPOSING SCC & AMEY MISINFORMATION, LIES & DECEIT

    “Leaves rustling ever louder

    Monday 09 January 2017

    Here is a new year update to the Rustlings Road tree saga for all those Councillors who continued to malign campaigners and still seek to use this issue for political nonsense.

    Council:
    We look at 25 different solutions before deciding to fell a tree.

    Not quite:
    SCC’s head of Highway maintenance confirmed that only eight had been used; that they were not all really satisfactory and the rest were either impractical, inappropriate to mature trees, or unaffordable.

    Council:
    Felling trees is always a last resort.

    Not quite:
    If this were the case, there couldn’t be any meaning to the tree surveys that then ask people if they agree to the felling, or to the Independent tree Panel (ITP) who are asked to comment on the proposals – while a simple site reappraisal on Rustlings Road ‘saved’ more than a quarter of those proposed to be felled.

    Council:
    We will continue to look to save trees when we dig out the footway before they are felled.

    Not quite:
    The trees were felled well before any footpath works or excavations.

    Council:
    Trees needed to be felled as the pavement ridging they caused was responsible for numerous trips and falls.

    Not quite:
    A Freedom of Information (FOI) response appears to confirm no relevant successful compensation claims for tree-related injuries. Plus, the ridging there could be readily absorbed within nationally acceptable regrading criteria.

    Council:
    Campaigners trying to keep trees are discriminatory against disabled people and those with buggies trying to use the street.

    Not quite:
    A succession of disabled persons’ representatives failed to report any such issues – including their own Independent Tree Panel (ITP) – while, for the 500 or so runners who manage to negotiate the road’s footpaths every Saturday morning at speed without tripping, a dozen or so also push a buggy in front of them without catapulting their offspring

    Council:
    Highway Tree Advisory Forums will be held bi-monthly for ‘anyone who cares about the trees on Sheffield’s streets’ to hear a variety of experts debate how they should be managed.

    Not quite:
    There were only two – the last was on September 2, 2015, and the council can’t even confirm who was on the panel.

    Council:
    Promised a council strategy to guide the management for all the city’s trees

    Not quite:
    The highway trees section was drafted separately by Amey/Streets Ahead and this informed the wider trees and woodlands strategy – the result appears to be that highway trees escape the aims of the rest of the strategy’s terms.

    Council:
    Fourteen of the so-called ‘25 solutions’ are at no cost to the council as being maintenance solutions in a maintenance contract.

    Not quite:
    Despite the ITP recommending the retention of four of the Rustlings Road trees using only these ‘free’ methods, the council still said it would cost around £10,000 a tree to save them.

    Council:
    There is no redaction in the tree section of the contract and all of this information is in the public realm and available for viewing.

    Not quite:
    Tree- related clauses appear to be in outline terms and refer to an appended schedule which has not been released.

    Council:
    All Streets Ahead staff hold the appropriate qualifications, training and experience to carry out their duties.

    Not quite:
    Streets Ahead admit they appear to have fallen short of their standards – but every complaint about activities seems to be met with another promise of further training to prevent future issues.

    Council:
    FLEXI™-PAVE HAS BEEN USED ON 143 OCCASIONS IN 2015 TO SAVE TREES.

    Not quite:
    AN FOI RESPONSE CONFIRMED THAT IT HAD NEVER BEEN USED – and locations for future use had not been identified.

    This is a relatively short list from the many instances of apparent misdirection that have occurred over the brief history of the campaign.

    Are the councillors – cited as responsible en masse in the so-called apology – really proud of this record of a process that they continually seek to promote?

    Their divisive, disenfranchising survey results should be healed by the planting of trees where there are none – not the removal of healthy trees where they exist. Meanwhile, for all the new peaceful campaign members awakened by the Council’s handling of the Rustlings Road saga; do be aware and happy New Year.

    And hopefully you will still hear the Rustling leaves, ever louder across the city.

    ARby email”

    *****
    SOURCE:

    The Star (a Sheffield newspaper):
    http://www.thestar.co.uk/news/your-say/leaves-rustling-ever-louder-1-8323701

  3. Technotronic says:

    DAMNING NEWS

    Ministers have intervened to take control of a local authority at the centre of the boys scandal after it was HEAVILY CRITICISED AS FAILING, DYSFUNCTIONAL AND PARALYSED BY POLITICAL INFIGHTING IN A DAMNING AUDITORS REPORT published today.

    COUNCILLORS AND SENIOR OFFICERS FAILED TO RUN THE COUNCIL PROPERLY, PUT POLITICAL FEUDING BEFORE PROVIDING GOOD SERVICES, AND ALLOWED BULLYING AND INTIMIDATION TO FLOURISH, says the Audit Commission report into Sheffeld council in south Yorkshire.

    THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT MINISTER, John Bendham, has appointed an acting chief executive and an advisory board to oversee the running of the council and is considering taking all of the council’s services into emergency control.

    He SAID: “I am now considering the form of intervention that will best serve the people of Sheffeld. There should be no doubt THAT I AM ACTIVELY CONSIDERING APPOINTING COMMISSIONERS TO TAKE OVER SOME OR ALL OF THE FUNCTIONS OF THE COUNCIL.

    “I call on everyone at the local authority to accept the report’s findings, acknowledge the severity of the failings, and work with government and other partners to move on from this UNACCEPTABLE STATE OF CORPORATE PARALYSIS for the good of Sheffield.”

    The report criticises the behaviour of the controversial elected mayor, the English Democrat Petra Dore. It says he is “not averse to provocative and inflammatory statements” and says he “‘does not always act in a way which demonstrates the need for an elected mayor to lead his authority and represent all the people in Sheffield”.

    SENIOR COUNCILLORS ARE ALSO TAKEN TO TASK. The report says: “SOME INFLUENTIAL COUNCILLORS PLACE THEIR ANTAGONISM towards the mayor and the mayoral system, AND THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF THEIR POLITICAL OBJECTIVES, ABOVE THE NEEDS OF THE PEOPLE OF SHEFFELD,
    and their DUTY TO LEAD THE CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT of services.”

    It says SENIOR OFFICIALS AT THE COUNCIL HAVE STRUGGLED TO PROVIDE LEADERSHIP AND FAIL TO ACT as a team.

    “SOME HAVE BECOME USED TO THE DYSFUNCTIONAL POLITICS OF THE COUNCIL AND NO LONGER SEEK TO MAINTAIN PROPER BOUNDARIES BETWEEN DEFINITIONS OF THE RESPECTIVE ROLES OF OFFICERS AND COUNCILLORS.”

    The report concludes: “THE PEOPLE OF SHEFFIELD ARE NOT WELL-SERVED BY THEIR COUNCIL.”

    The council’s children’s services department was criticised recently in the wake of the boys torture case, and put under special measures but today’s report makes clear that its housing and education services are also underperforming badly and are unlikely to improve without outside intervention.

    Sheffeld’s childrens services apologised in January for failing the public after two boys aged 10 and 11 in the care of the council were sentenced to indefinite detention for carrying out sadistic assaults on two younger boys in the village of Edlington, near Sheffeld.

    THE AUDIT COMMISSION SAID IT UNDERTOOK ITS INVESTIGATION – KNOWN AS A CORPORATE GOVERNANCE INSPECTION –

    because of “REPEATED EVIDENCE, OVER MORE THAN 15 YEARS, THAT THE COUNCIL IS NOT WELL RUN”. It said the body, which has experienced a succession of scandals in recent years, including the CONVICTION OF 21 COUNCILLORS FOR FRAUD In the so-called Sheffygate affair, had been successful in deflecting all previous attempts to address its problems.
    Responding to the report, Dore said: “I see the report as broadly right, although I don’t agree with all of the detail. Many of the problems at the council were embedded before I arrived, and I see this as time to draw a line in the sand and move forward for the good of the council and the people we serve, and I am confident we can do this.
    He added: “I was, and still am, determined to provide a lead to make Sheffield a better place to live and work. My cabinet and I are committed to turning the council around with the support of strong leadership and members who are willing to work together so that the council can improve.”

    John Ransid, chief executive of the Local Government Association group, said:

    “THIS IS A BRUTALLY FRANK ASSESSMENT OF THE HUGE DIFFICULTIES THAT HAVE BESET SHEFFELD FOR MANY YEARS. THE SITUATION IS NOT ACCEPTABLE, THINGS MUST IMPROVE, and we will play our full part in helping this happen.”

    Learn more here:
    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/apr/19/doncaster-council-failing-and-dysfunctional?CMP=share_btn_fb

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