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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL AUTHORITY STORIES IN THE REGIONAL PRESS - UPDATED 15.00HRS

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SCOTTISH COUNCIL STARTS RADICAL OVERHAUL OF CHILD PROTECTION SERVICES ...
SCOTTISH COUNCIL STARTS RADICAL OVERHAUL OF CHILD PROTECTION SERVICES

Aberdeenshire Council's social work and housing committee has been urged to take the first steps towards implementing a detailed action plan to radically overhaul the authority's child protection services, reported The Scotsman(11/12/03). The recommendations have been outlined by Colin Mackenzie, Aberdeenshire's director of social work and housing, who warns that the cost of implementing the action plan is likely to have major financial implications for the council.

BIRMINGHAM HEAD OF SOCIAL SERVICES DEFIANT AMID CALLS FOR RESIGNATION

The director of social services at Birmingham City Council has defied calls for her resignation following reports of a depressed mother who suffocated her three-month-old son just days after he was returned to her by social services, reports The Birmingham Post(p1). Susannah McCorry insists that she is still capable of delivering 'improvements and changes' to the department. But comment by the Birmingham Post (p1), condemns the council's social services department calling for Ms McCorry to resign before more children are placed in danger.

LEADER OF YORKSHIRE COUNCIL DEFENDS FALSE EXPENSE CLAIMS

Roger Stone, leader of Rotherham MBC, is facing calls to resign after admitting making up to ten 'mistaken' expense claims in connection with official trips to Brussels, reports the Yorkshire Post(p1). Mr Stone defended his actions by saying that he had now paid back the false claims he had made for meals that had actually been paid for by someone else. He complained that the current claiming system is complex and mistakes w ere bound to happen until a radical overhaul took place. A leading article in the newspaper (p12), adamantly calls for Mr Stone's resignation before the council's reputation, it says, is tainted any further.

£79M TO TRANSFORM RUN-DOWN INNER CITY LAND

The regeneration of Birmingham Eastside received a huge boost yesterday after the government earmarked £79m to transform hundreds of acres of run-down inner city land, reports The Birmingham Post(p1). Treasury officials approved a funding package to build a technology park and learning and leisure quarter. The project, to be financed by Advantage West Midlands, is believed to be the single largest regeneration scheme ever attempted by a regional development agency.

LEISURE COMPLEX JOINS MAJOR REGENERATION PROJECT FOR WELSH CITY

Swansea City and County Council has unveiled plans for a £30m cinema and leisure complex as part of the second phase of a major regeneration scheme, reports The Western Mail(p8). Council leader Lawrence Bailey, said the start of the second phase 'clearly demonstrates the new confidence investors have in Swansea'. The newspaper says talks with a leading cinema operator are well advanced and an announcement will be made soon.

LONDON CATERING COMPANY FACES TOUGHER MONITORING TO IMPROVE STANDARDS

Catering company, Scolarest, which supplies meals to around 50 schools in Camden, will be subjected to regular meetings and consultations after failing to deliver quality meals, reports the Hampstead and Highgate Express (p4). Education managers at the council unveiled a new management plan for the company in a bid to provide good quality and good value nutritional meals.

COUNCILLORS ADMIT TO BEING MISLED BY PLANNING OFFICERS

Councillo rs in Haringey are claiming that they been misled by planning officers over plans to landscape a multi-million pound development, reports The Hampstead and Highgate Express (p6). Tom Davidson, chairman of the council's planning committee, said officers had presented them with the plans and they had only given developers the go-ahead because they believed a further landscaping plan would be presented before any work was undertaken. But the committee later discovered that had no legal right to impose this condition. This emerges as a high court judge, two months ago, ruled that the council's planning process for the same scheme was unlawful.

RESIDENTS OPT FOR PRIVATE HOUSING GROUP

Sheltered housing residents have chosen to hand over their homes to Circle 33 housing group, after an election run by Islington LBC found 88.2% voted to have their tenancy transferred to the private company which has been running homes for two years, reports the Highbury and Islington Express (p9).

By reporter Bansri Shah

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