Annual Canvass of Electors 2008 Reminder

Written on . Posted in Community, Councillors, Democracy, Elections, Older people, Residents, Your area, Your community, Your council

Epping Forest District Council will be sending out annual canvass of electors form reminders to all properties that did not respond to the original form. The forms will be in an envelope addressed to The Present Occupier which is also clearly marked `Register of Electors form`.

Registration Officer Ian Willett is urging everyone to fill in and return the form as soon as possible. He said: If you do not return your form and your name is not on the register, you will not be able to vote.

Mr Willett continued: You need to register to vote every year so please fill in and return the form as soon as possible in the envelope provided. It is compulsory to register but whether you vote on polling day is up to you. Completed forms must be returned to the Electoral Services Office at the Council by 16 October 2008.

The Register is published on 1 December 2008 and those eligible to vote should check that the entry for their property is correct. The Electoral Register may be viewed at the Civic Offices, Epping; Waltham Abbey Town Hall; or at the Council`s Information desk inside Loughton Library.

Mr Willett concluded: If you have not received a form or you think you have mislaid it, please contact 01992 564411 for more information.

Why complete the form?

Completion of these forms is a legal requirement and failure to do so may result in prosecution with a maximum fine of £1,000.

It is extremely important that forms are returned. Not only is it essential for the right to vote but also because credit-referencing agencies use the register as proof of residency, so anyone who is not listed may be affected if applying for credit. In this country, the law states that everyone who is eligible to vote must be registered. Anyone who has not registered will automatically forfeit the opportunity to vote on election day.

Even if you are registered for Council Tax, this does not automatically mean your name is on the register.

Tell Us A Story

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Community, Museum, Older people, Our attractions, Residents, Waltham Abbey, Young people, Your area, Your community, Your council

Storytelling in the Epping Forest District Museum garden

Epping Forest District Museum is hosting `Tell Us A Story` on Saturday 27 September 2008 and Sunday 28 September 2008. Councillor John Knapman Chairman of the Council will be attending this free event on Saturday 27 September at 11am.

You will have the chance to interact with objects, dress up and role-play your own stories from history. Artist and storyteller Julian Walker will be at the Museum to assist people in creating their own stories from objects. He explained: There will be different activities on offer for families and older independent visitors. Families will be able to use historical costume and objects from the period to role-play a scene from history. For example in the Victorian gallery, as well as attempting to get into a corset and crinoline, they will be given a Victorian budget and have to choose whether to spend it on household items from the hardware shop, or fun items from the toy shop.

For older independent visitors there will be a choice of activities such as trying to copy medieval handwriting from a page of the Waltham Abbey Bible. Those less confident about role play will be able to curate their own case to tell a story, choosing from a wide selection of objects.

`Tell Us A Story` coincides with the launch of the Cultural Olympiad and has been funded by the Museums Libraries and Archives Council`s `Setting the Pace: Festival of Storytelling ` Grant Scheme. Isobel Siddons MLA Programme Manager for 2012 said: “We are thrilled to be among the first organisations to have projects awarded the Inspired by 2012 mark. We hope this will reward museums, libraries and archives for the commitment they have shown to the vision of the Cultural Olympiad and enable them to contribute to a lasting legacy for the people of our country.”

Visitors use historical costumes and objects from the period to role-play a scene

Epping Forest District Council Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Young People Councillor Heather Harding said: Tell Us A Story gives local residents the opportunity to learn about and reinterpret their culture, heritage and history.

    The event is free of charge and there is no need to book.

  • Saturday 27 September 2008 between 11am and 4pm
  • Sunday 28 September 2008 between 2pm and 4pm
  • Telephone the Museum on 01992 716882
  • Epping Forest District Museum website

National Fraud Initiative

Written on . Posted in Business, Community, Crime and safety, Doing business with the council, Older people, Supporting business, Your community, Your council

Epping Forest District Council is required by law to protect the public funds it administers. It may share information provided to it with other bodies responsible for auditing or administering public funds, in order to prevent and detect fraud.

The Audit Commission appoints the auditor to audit the accounts of this authority. It is also responsible for carrying out data matching exercises. Data matching involves comparing computer records held by one body against other computer records held by the same or another body. This is usually personal information. Computerised data matching allows potentially fraudulent claims and payments to be identified. Where a match is found it indicates that there is an inconsistency which requires further investigation. No assumption can be made as to whether there is fraud, error or other explanation until an investigation is carried out.

The Audit Commission currently requires us to participate in data matching exercises to assist in the prevention and detection of fraud. This is part of what is known as the ‘National Fraud Initiative’. We are required to provide particular sets of data to the Audit Commission for matching for each exercise, and these are set out in the Audit Commission’s handbooks.

The use of data by the Audit Commission in a data matching exercise is carried out with statutory authority under its powers in Part 2A of the Audit Commission Act 1998. It does not require the consent of the individuals concerned under the Data Protection Act 1998. For further information and contact details on the Audit Commission’s legal powers and the reasons why it matches particular information, see the Audit Commission’s website.

Audit Commission national fraud initiative website
(opens in a new window)

Data matching by the Audit Commission is subject to a Code of Practice.

Audit Commission code of data matching practice website
(opens in a new window)
    If you would like to contact Epping Forest District Council directly with any enquiries about the data sharing and matching exercises, here are our contact details:

  • Joe Akerman, Chief Internal Auditor, Civic Offices, Epping, Essex, CM16 4BZ
  • By telephone on 01992 564446
  • By email to nfi@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Free Electric Blanket and Smoke Alarm Testing

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Older people, Residents, Your community, Your council, Your home

An electric blanket being tested by a Council officer

Epping Forest District Council’s Safer Communities Team and Essex County Council Trading Standards have teamed up once again to carry out free electric blanket testing throughout the District.

This service is available to all Epping Forest District residents who are urged to come along to have their blankets tested whilst they wait. A faulty electric blanket can be the cause of house fires and this is a quick easy way to keep safe. This year, Essex County Fire & Rescue will also attend to promote their Home Safety Fire Scheme.

The Home Safety Fire Scheme also includes fire-fighters from your local Fire Station visiting your home in the Epping Forest District to give advice on fire safety and where necessary fit ten year smoke alarms.

This service is completely free and all you have to do is call 01279 420841 or turn up on the day to book your visit.

    Testing takes place between 10am and 1pm at:

  • Loughton Library, Traps Hill, Loughton on 13 October 2008
  • Community Hall, Pelly Court, Hemnall Street, Epping on 14 October 2008

For further information please contact the Epping Forest District Council`s Safer Communities Team by telephone on 01992 564272.

Report from the Cabinet

Written on . Posted in Councillors, Democracy, Leader, Meetings, Your council

Free swimming, the development of the second runway for Stansted and consultation with local residents of the Broadway featured in a packed Cabinet agenda on Monday 1 September 2008.

Watch the webcast

Watch a webcast of the 1 September 2008 Cabinet meeting

Free Swimming

Portfolio Holder for Leisure, Councillor Heather Harding invited John Gilbert, Head of Environment and Street Scene to outline proposals for free swimming to people over 60 and under 16 years of age. Councils were being asked to apply for Government grants. Not all the information was available. The Government had quantified support for those over 60s but not under 16 at this stage. Discussions with the Council`s Leisure Management Contractor are ongoing.

Loughton Pool

Councillor Chris Whitbread was concerned about what would happen after the initial two years of Government funding. Would the Government continue to fund the scheme or would costs fall to the Council?

The Cabinet agreed in principle to participate subject to further discussion with SLM and information from Government.

Value for Money Review

Members of the Cabinet agreed the recommendations of the Finance and Performance Management Cabinet Committee. Councillor Chris Whitbread, Portfolio Holder for the report agreed that the Council provided Value for Money but drew out the Committee`s concerns regarding some of the information used by the Audit Commission.

Aircraft in flight over EppingSecond Stansted Runway Application

Members of the Cabinet gave Planning and Economic Development Portfolio Holder Councillor Ann Grigg the go ahead to make formal objections to Stansted Airport`s application for a second runway. There was support for a detailed report which included objections ranging from disruption for local people through to environmental concerns over global warming. The application has been called in by the Government and will be reviewed at a Public Inquiry.

Responding to a question, Planning Officer Ian White said that the possibility of Stansted being sold by BAA did not necessarily remove the prospect of a second runway.

Councillor Jon Whitehouse supported opposition to the runway saying that he was pleased the Council was standing up to be counted.

Loughton Leisure Centre

Councillor Heather Harding obtained consent for £46,000 to deal with hot water heating problems at Loughton Leisure Centre.

Housing

Members of the Cabinet noted progress on the Springfield Improvement scheme in Waltham Abbey. Housing Portfolio Holder, Councillor David Stallan also recommended the acceptance of tenders for the upgrade of communal TV aerial systems for Council schemes in further preparation for the switch from analogue to digital TV broadcasting.

Careline control centre

Following a review of Careline, Cabinet also agreed recommendations by Councillor Stallan to retain and enhance the service. Councillor Mrs Diana Collins and Councillor Jon Whitehouse praised the service.

Councillor Whitehouse enquired if further expansion of Careline in the future could lead to even more enhancements to associated housing services in the future.

Prudential Indicators – Investments

Councillor Chris Whitbread was pleased to report the very good performance of the Council`s investments and the continued debt-free status.

Essex Waste Management Strategy

The long-term aims of achieving 60% recycling across Essex were supported by Cabinet as members endorsed the Essex Joint Municipal Waste Mangement Strategy. Environmental Protection Portfolio Holder, Councillor Mary Sartin also reported delays on completion of remedial work to Bobbingworth Tip. The former landfill site will ultimately become a pocket park but a shortage of topsoil caused by the current reduction in other construction work across the area has delayed completion. Councillor Sartin received support for a recommendation to Council for an extra £112,000 allowing completion of the scheme to an enhanced level.

Green Biodegradable Sacks

Demand for green sacks could lead to an overspend on budgets this year. Councillor Mrs Sartin outlined predicted usage showing a potential extra cost of £163,000. However, much of that cost could be offset by income from recycling credits with the final shortfall possibly being as little as £21,000. Members discussed the forthcoming consultation with residents which could lead to reduced reliance on sacks.

Ongar Lorry Park

Members of the Cabinet agreed to terminate the lease for the Borough Lorry Park site in Ongar hoping this would clear the way for Essex County Council to make proposals for the long term, possibly in partnership with Ongar Town Council.

Loughton Broadway Development Brief

Cabinet authorised Planning and Economic Development Portfolio Holder Councillor Ann Grigg to make amendments to the Loughton Broadway Development Brief following the successful conclusion of the recent public consultation. Twelve amendment headings including references to the Gateway development, petrol station, links to Langston Road, parking, housing and cycling will be incorporated for presentation to Full Council on 25 September 2008.

 

Council Answers Refuse and Recycling Audit Report

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Councillors, Leader, Meetings, Recycling and waste, Your council

Senior Councillors have given a robust response to a refuse and recycling report by the Audit Commission. Councillor Mrs Diana Collins, Leader of Epping Forest District Council and Councillor Mrs Mary Sartin, Environmental Protection Portfolio holder say that despite a one star `Fair` rating, Epping Forest District Council and its residents now have one of the best recycling rates in Essex. We don`t tick the Audit Commission boxes but we do deliver services our residents want. said Councillor Mrs Collins.

Councillor Collins continued: The Audit Commission looks at Council performance against a set of rigid criteria. It is a blunt instrument and I think they have struggled with our particular local circumstances.

She continued: New refuse and recycling arrangements were introduced three years ago. With hindsight, the timing could not have been worse as the system of alternate weekly collection proved extremely unpopular. It was a remarkably hot summer and many residents complained that the alternate weekly collection resulted in bad smells, maggots and flies.

Separately, our contractor was experiencing financial problems and struggling to remain in business. When he finally went into administration we acted extremely quickly and decisively. We put a temporary contractor in place without any interruption to services while adapting our service with a return to summer weekly collections.

Extensive consultation confirmed the public support for the changes we had made. As we went from interim arrangements to a new contractor, we honoured our commitments to maintain weekly summer collections.

Councillor Mrs Diana Collins and Councillor Mrs Mary Sartin with SITA refuse collectors

Pictured above – Councillor Mrs Diana Collins, Leader of Epping Forest District Council and Councillor Mrs Mary Sartin, Environmental Protection Portfolio Holder join SITA refuse collectors Jamie Lee and Dave Harwood on a refuse collection round in Epping

There was an inevitable increase in costs as we drafted in a temporary contractor but our new long term contract is much more cost effective. The Audit Commission says that excluding a return to the original Alternate Weekly collection arrangements undermined value for money. We argue that we had a duty to listen to our residents who clearly did not want to return to the original system.

Our ability to exceed very high recycling targets in the new contract without passing extra costs to residents in Council Tax also seemed to cause the Audit Commission difficulty. They thought our rejection of Alternate Weekly Collection compromised value for money but in other discussions have also asked why we did not increase Council Tax by more. We have a strong financial position thanks to prudent management. It gives us the scope to invest in services based on the choices made by people locally rather than fitting a `one-size-fits-all` national model.

The Audit Commission also doubts the Council`s capacity for further improvements to refuse and recycling, saying the prospects are `uncertain`. However, Councillor Mary Sartin points to the major improvements already implemented over the past three years, high recycling rates and plans to consult residents about the next steps.

She said: We are about to consult everyone on how we move forward again. Every household in the District will receive a survey questionnaire during September, delivered as an insert within the Forester magazine. It will explain how the Council aims to increase recycling even further and cut the overall amount of waste going to landfill.

Mrs Sartin continued: Residents have three main options to consider. Each has its unique merits but the main improvement offered by all three will be to transfer kitchen food waste from landfill disposal to recycling while collecting it every week, summer and winter. We need as much public feedback as possible. Whatever option we adopt, it will only work properly if it has widespread public support. This is your chance to tell us what you want. Your comments will help us choose the final scheme and it is therefore vital that we get as many people to respond as possible.

Whichever option we choose, this will be another huge step forward. It really doesn`t fit in with the Audit Commission doubts about improvements. I believe our actions speak for themselves.

As well as The Forester survey which should be returned using the Freepost address, the survey will be available online on the homepage of the Epping Forest District Council website at www.eppingforestdc.gov.uk. Closing date for responses is 24 October 2008.

Future Sports Stars Join Council for Olympic Handover

Written on . Posted in Community, Doing business with the council, Older people, Out and about, Sports, Young people, Your community, Your council

The Olympic flag flies in Epping

Three of Epping Forest District`s brightest 2012 prospects joined Youth Councillors and Councillors on Sunday 24 August 2008 for the raising of an Olympic Flag. The ceremony was to mark the handover of the Olympic Games from Beijing to London. Runner Katherine Sparke (20) from Waltham Abbey, swimmer James Hollis (16) from Theydon Bois and cyclist Jim Lewis (15) from Buckhurst Hill raised the London 2012 Flag with District Council Chairman John Knapman at the Civic Offices in Epping. Similar flags were raised across the country and at British embassies around the world.

Watch the webcast

Olympic Flag Raising Ceremony webcast (opens in a new window)

Epping Forest sporting and the Chairman with the London 2012 Olympic flag

Councillor Knapman was delighted to be involved in the nationwide event. In his previous capacity as Leader of Epping Forest District Council he energetically supported the London Olympic Bid. He said: It was a great honour for me. I strongly believe in the values of the Olympic Games. The fantastic success of Team GB over the last two weeks has boosted the whole country. I also think there are much wider benefits of encouraging people to get fit and participate in sport. Epping Forest District is well placed for the Games, close not only to the main 2012 events in Stratford but even closer to the canoeing at Broxbourne.

Council Chairman raises the Olympic flag

He added: Katherine, James or Jim could be among the 2012 competitors and nothing would give me greater pleasure than to see one of them receive an Olympic medal. Each of them has already demonstrated skill, ability and great determination in their chosen fields and I am very proud of their association with the Council.

Guests at the Olympic flag raising ceremony in Epping

The flag will fly at the Civic Offices until 30 September, after which it will be held at Epping Forest District Museum as a lasting memento of the historic occasion.


The Essex Experience

Written on . Posted in Community, Crime and safety, Doing business with the council, Residents, Young people, Your community, Your council

Safer Communities Partnership - Epping Forest District

An exciting opportunity exists for young (or young at heart) adult volunteers aged 18 years or over to take part in the Essex Experience, a project by Essex Scouts to allow young people aged between 12 and 15 years old at risk of social exclusion the opportunity to try exciting and challenging activities.

The project receives part-funding for young people from the Epping Forest District though the Safer Communities Partnership.

Do you have young adults in your organisation, aged 18 years or more, or do you know of any young adults, who could benefit from being a volunteer at the Essex Experience?

    It is free to participate and the commitment would be as follows:

  • Monday 15 to Friday 19 September 2008
    Residential volunteer training course including teambuilding, leadership & communications skills, working with young people, first aid.
  • Evening Friday 19 to afternoon Sunday 21 September 2008
    Activity and camping weekend for 150 young people aged 12 to 15 years old. Activities include abseiling, climbing, go-karting, canoeing, rafting, archery, air rifle shooting, arts & crafts.
Briefing Meeting

Potential volunteers are required to attend a briefing meeting (further details will be sent with the application pack).

The Role of the Volunteer

The Role of the Volunteers is to act as mentors to the young people during the activity weekend, camping with them, leading them through the activities and encouraging them to take part. Support, in the form of training, first aid, catering, logistics, site services and activities, is provided by a large team of Scout leaders and volunteers.

Volunteer Requirements

Enthusiasm; enjoy a challenge; can lead by example and deal with problems; a sense of fun; willingness to deal with challenging behaviour from young people; can cope with camping for three nights; willingness to make friends and work as part of a team.

Benefits to the Volunteers

These include gaining a greater understanding of young people, develop leadership & teamwork skills, improve interpersonal and organisational skills, gain outdoor practical skills, experience new activities, take responsibility, increase self confidence, gain first aid skills.

Further Information and Application Pack
    Please contact Claire Fielder, Community Development Officer for Essex Scouts by:

  • Telephone on 01702 216768
  • Email at commdevoff@essexscouts.org.uk

Vacancy for Independent Remuneration Panel Member

Written on . Posted in Chairman, Councillors, Democracy, Elections, Leader, Meetings, Your council

Appointment of Member to the Independent Remuneration Panels for Members’ Allowances.

The Epping Forest District Council is seeking applicants for a vacancy on its Independent Remuneration Panels. The Panels, which consist of three members, undertakes research and makes recommendations to the Council about the allowances to be paid to elected Councillors of the Authority. There is one Panel for the District Council and another for Parish Councils. It is intended that the membership of both Panels should be the same.

    The Panel is established under the Local Authorities (Members’ Allowances) (England) Regulations 2003, to report with recommendations on:

  • the amount of basic allowance which should be payable to District Councillor Members
  • the roles and responsibilities for which a special responsibility allowance should be payable and as to the amount of each such allowance for District Councillors
  • basic allowances for Parish Council members
  • other miscellaneous expenses, such as travel allowances (including cars, cycles and public transport), dependent carer’s allowance and a co-optees allowance.

This is an opportunity for conscientious persons to influence the way in which elected Members are reimbursed for their public service. Knowledge or experience of finance or local government would be helpful and political impartiality is essential.

Serving District and Parish Council members are excluded from membership of these Panels.

Applications must be received by 31 August 2008.

Information and Application Details

Information for Applicants (pdf 85 KB)
Person Specification (pdf 70 KB)
Application Form (pdf 78 KB)
Members’ Allowance Scheme 2007/2008 (pdf 230 KB)
Travelling / Subsistence Allowances Rates (pdf 83 KB)
Model Parish Council Remuneration Scheme (pdf 91 KB)
Notice re Parish Council Remuneration Scheme (pdf 66 KB)
District and Parish Remuneration Panels Annual Report 2005/2006 (pdf 20 KB)
    Application forms and further details can be obtained from:-

  • Mr I Willett
    Assistant to the Chief Executive
    Civic Offices
    High Street
    Epping
    Essex
    CM16 4BZ
  • Telephone 01992 564243
  • Email IWILLETT@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Industrial Action 16 and 17 July 2008

Written on . Posted in Democracy, Your council

There will be a limited availability of some services provided by Epping Forest District Council while members of the local government unions take industrial action on Wednesday 16 and Thursday 17 July 2008. Residents wishing to make payments are advised that the cashiers in Loughton Broadway and Waltham Abbey will be closed. There will be a reduced cashiers service at Epping.

Essential services such as Epping Forest Careline are unaffected thanks to mutual agreement between the unions and employers.

Other Council services may be operating on reduced staffing.

Check here for further updates.