A Meeting Called Off
Our public meetings appear to be jinxed! The hall was booked, the posters printed. We were all set to listen to a presentation by the Chief Executive of Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch NHS Trust Tony Spotswood when we received the following e-mail from him:
I am afraid I am having to take some unexpected leave and will not be able to join you as initially envisaged on 20th April. I do apologise for the short notice and hope you understand
We asked if a deputy was available but sadly the answer was “no”.
With so little time to make alternative arrangements, the meeting of Thursday 20th April has had to be postponed.
WCRA Subscription for 2017
Our subs for this year remain at £1 per household – best value in Christchurch – but please complain to us if you think it’s too expensive!
Dorset County Council Election
A date for your diary – Thursday 4th May
A Nasty Fraud
|Fraudsters are sending out emails to personal and business email addresses. The subject line contains your name, and the main body of text is:
I am disturbing you for a very serious reason. Although we are not familiar, but I have significant amount of individual info concerning you. The thing is that, most likely mistakenly, the data of your account has been emailed to me.
For instance, your address is: names your real home address
I am a law-abiding citizen, so I decided your personal data may have been hacked. I attached the file – [your name].dot that I received, that you could explore what info has become obtainable for scammers. File password is – 2811
The attachment is thought to contain what is known as “a Trojan” that attempts to obtain sensitive data such as banking credentials and passwords from within your computer. This data is then subsequently used by criminals for monetary gain.
If you have been affected by this or any other fraud, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk.
|Having up-to-date virus protection is essential; however, it will not always prevent your device(s) from becoming infected. Please remember:
- Don’t click on links or open any attachments you receive in unsolicited emails or SMS messages. Remember that fraudsters can ‘spoof’ an email address to make it look like one used by someone you trust. If you are unsure, check the email header to identify the true source of communication (you can find out how by searching the internet for relevant advice for your email provider).
- Do not enable macros in downloads; enabling macros will allow Trojan/malware to be installed onto your device.
- Always install software updates as soon as they become available. Whether you are updating the operating system or an application, the update will often include fixes for critical security vulnerabilities.
- Create regular backups of your important files to an external hard drive, memory stick or online storage provider. It is important that the device you back up to is not connected to your computer as any malware infection could spread to that as well.
- If you think your bank details have been compromised, you should contact your bank immediately.
News from the Airport
At 31st January 2017 passenger numbers in the nine months from April 2016 were recorded at 606,000 against a business plan of 535,000. It is anticipated that 670,000 passengers will use the airport in the fiscal year 2016-17. Both Ryanair and Thomson are performing well, as is General Aviation (things like executive jets).
Costs are running within budget and the airport should breakeven this year. The outlook for 2017-18 is positive with improvements to customer service planned.
The Business Park currently employs around 3,000 people but that will increase to 3,500 when Curtiss Wright become fully operational. The use of the B1 bus service has increased and the provision of additional capacity is under consideration.
Christchurch Hospital WW1 Memorial
The postponed establishment of a memorial to the many people who served or were served at the Christchurch Hospital (then a work house) between 1914 and 1918 is being resurrected. This project came to a standstill when the redevelopment of Christchurch Hospital was started. A site for the memorial has been identified in Fairmile Road. We will keep you in touch with developments.
New DWP Facebook page
The Dorset Waste Partnership has recently launched a new Facebook page, dedicated to raising awareness around waste prevention, reduction and recycling, helping to publicise what they do and the good work that residents do!
Residents can continue using the Dorset for You Facebook page for reporting issues with their kerbside service to the customer services team, but this new page also allows visitors to easily contact the DWP directly. If you are a Facebook user, please like/share the page with your friends and let DWP know what kind of content you would like to see.
Just occasionally the feedback we receive to a newsletter is large and unanimous. Here’s a selection of typical comment following our Referendum Special Alert:
I think you are right about voting - what a waste of our money.
When will this council wake up and see how such a sum could be better spent.
Thanks for alerting us to this power-crazy move by the Council
Even though I feel a merger is wrong I also thing a referendum is insane and a waste of the money we pay in council tax and should not take place
And a comment from a local MP - Conor Burns MP (Bournemouth West)
Obviously, whilst Bournemouth in combination with the overwhelming majority of local councils in Dorset voted in favour of the reorganisation plans, it would be unfair to suggest that everyone in Bournemouth was in favour of the recommendation. In the same way, whilst Christchurch Borough Council voted against, it would be wrong to suggest - as sadly many within Christchurch are - that everyone in Christchurch is opposed to the reorganisation.
I am sure that your representations will be valuable to the Secretary of State and the Minister in demonstrating a greater diversity of view from within the ancient Borough of Christchurch
|So, which Councillors are responsible for this? The following voted in favour of the referendum (those from West Christchurch in bold): Cllr J Abbott; Cllr C Bungey; Cllr D Flagg; Cllr N Geary; Cllr P Hall; Cllr P Hilliard; Cllr C Jamieson; Cllr Mrs T Jamieson; Cllr Mrs D Jones; Cllr D Jones; Cllr F Neale; Cllr Mrs M Phipps
Whilst the following voted against the referendum: Cllr C Bath; Cllr B Davis; Cllr T Fox; Cllr W Grace; Cllr V Hallam; Cllr R Nottage; Cllr Mrs L Smith; Cllr Mrs S Spittle; Cllr T Watts
Who can pay for it?
An offer from a resident to pay for half the cost of Christchurch’s referendum has been rejected by CBC. Chief Executive David McIntosh said:
“Councillors agreed to conduct a referendum to seek residents’ views on local government reorganisation at their full council meeting on March 21.
“They resolved that the poll should comply with good practice, meaning it must be balanced and fair to avoid any accusation of bias.
“Having sought legal advice we believe that accepting the offer of £30,000 towards the costs of the referendum from an individual would not be in line with good practice as it could be seen to influence the result.
“We must ensure this poll is conducted in an unbiased way and have been advised that accepting any money could undermine the validity of the whole referendum, something that would not be in the best interests of our residents.”
Who can stop it?
As promised, on your behalf we met David McIntosh and Finance Officer Ian Milner
We discussed the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 at length as a means of stopping our money being spent on a referendum and it was decided that we should write to CBC External Auditors Grant Thornton seeking their views of the situation but not formally requesting them to act. This course of action was chosen to prevent us launching an investigation, incurring additional audit and legal fees of up to £10,000 for CBC – possibly all to no constructive end
Grant Thornton replied and taking their views into account along with other soundings we have reluctantly concluded that there is currently no case to answer because (a) the cost is small in Council terms although it appears huge to the man in the street (b) Finance Officer Ian Milner has the power to declare it unlawful but has decided not to exercise that power (c) whilst few can doubt that it is not a sensible use of public money it is not extreme enough to meet the legal requirement of "irrational"
We decided that if we were now to ask Grant Thornton to act we would be guilty of the same type of irresponsibility that we accuse some Christchurch Councillors of demonstrating. Reluctantly we decided not to proceed.
Nuts and bolts
Therefore, the referendum will proceed.
It will be postal so the cost is reduced to circa £60,000. This will be paid out of unallocated reserves of £1.7 million. The recent rise in Council Tax (described by our Councillors as a difficult decision!) for 2017-18 will net about £97,000 for CBC (over 70% of our tax goes to DCC) so the cost of the referendum is equivalent to about 62% of that rise
The referendum papers will be sent to every elector immediately after the DCC elections on 4th May and electors will have 2 weeks to respond. The closing date will be Thursday 18th May
The pack sent to electors will contain a CBC produced leaflet. We will produce our own explanatory newsletters of course, nearer the date.
The referendum paper will say:
Do you support the current proposal for a single Council covering Christchurch, Bournemouth and Poole?
YES or NO
The business community will be excluded. The result will not binding on CBC, DCC, or Central Government
Our next Newsletter
We will send you a Referendum Special Newsletter on 5th May to coincide with the voting forms arriving with you. This will be followed by a normal Newsletter later in May to bring you the result and other news.