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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT STORIES IN THE NATIONAL PRESS

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ACCUSATION OF 'CRONYISM' AS TOWER HAMLETS CHIEF TAKES TOP OFSTED JOB...
ACCUSATION OF 'CRONYISM' AS TOWER HAMLETS CHIEF TAKES TOP OFSTED JOB

Christine Gilbert, currently chief executive of Tower Hamlets LBC, has been appointed chief inspector of schools.

Her appointment was criticised because she is married to Home Office minister Tony McNulty, reports The Times (p12). Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Sarah Teather said: 'She will need to prove that her ties to the current government won't influence her ability to carry out the role properly.'

But the Department for Education has rejected charges of cronyism and said Ms Gilbert was selected in open competition. DfES appointment statement here.

Ms Gilbert, a former teacher, was education director at Harrow LBC and at Tower Hamlets, before becoming chief executive in 2000. She will be the first female chief inspector when she takes up the job in October. With Ofsted's remit due to be expanded, she will become the chief inspector of education, children's services and skills.

COUNCIL TAX REBEL SAYS SHE IS VINDICATED

A woman who is facing jail because she refuses to pay her council tax until Derby City Council cleans up her street said she felt 'completely vindicated', when 1,100 used drug needles were found on the street over the course of one weekend.

Josephine Rooney, aged 69, began withholding her tax two years ago and now owes£850, reports The Daily Telegraph (p13). She says she will pay it once the council has got rid of the drug abuse problem in the area.

Fareed Hussain, councillor for her ward, said the number of needles found was 'incredibly shocking.' He said: 'the council is trying to clean up the area but it is not something that can be done overnight.'

RECORD FINE FOR DOG NUISANCE

A woman in Manchester has been fined a record£1,600 for letting her dog foul the pavement.

The offences were seen by Manchester City Council's dog wardens, who issued eight fixed penalty fines. The council took her to court when she failed to pay, reports The Daily Telegraph (p13).

BELLY DANCING FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE STAFF 'A WASTE OF MONEY'

Conservative members of Nottingham City Council have criticised the council for sending 100 frontline staff to belly dancing classes.

The council said the classes for customer service staff were part of a programme of 'customer and diversity' sessions. 'The aim was to raise cultural awareness of groups of people living in the city, specifically Middle Eastern and Northern Indian,' said a spokesman. 'The dance sessions also contributed to the city council's aim of a healthy workforce.'

But Conservative group leader Georgina Culley said spending 600 pounds on belly dancing was a waste of money when cuts were being made in care for the elderly, reports The Times (p42).

TRAFFIC CAMERAS CAUSE JAMS

Some traffic cameras in London are increasing congestion, a study by Transport for London has found, reports The Times (p15).

Cameras that detect vehicles stopping in yellow box junctions are slowing down the flow of traffic, because drivers are reluctant to enter the box. Junctions are being blocked up as a result, TfL says.

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