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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT STORIES IN THE REGIONAL PRESS - UPDATED 16:25HRS

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ITNET WINS CONTRACT TO ADMINISTER SCHOOL STAFF PAY IN ISLINGTON LBC ...
ITNET WINS CONTRACT TO ADMINISTER SCHOOL STAFF PAY IN ISLINGTON LBC
ITNET, whose benefits provision has been the subject of controversy, has been awarded the contract to administer school staff pay in Islington LBC from September 2001 after winning a tender put out by the private company that runs Islington's schools, Cambridge Education Associates. A CEA spokeswoman was confident that ITNET would provide a good service to Islington schools from September 2001. She added: 'ITNET currently provides payroll services to a number of local education authorities and administers over a million payslips per year,' reports the Highbury & Islington Express(p1).
COUNCIL LEADERS HAD 'NO CHOICE' BUT TO OPT FOR HOUSING REPAIRS PRIVATISATION
Birmingham City Council has defended the privatisation policy which led to 234 of its 54,000 employees taking early retirement from the council's newly-privatised housing repairs organisation in the last financial year, alleged to have cost the local authority pension fund£4.5 million. A city council spokeswoman said: 'For every one who retires, a good business case has to be made and approved by the chief officer. We work within a criteria set out by the Audit Commission and the people who manage the council's pension fund,' reports The Birmingham Post(p1).
BRUSSELS FUNDING OF OBJECTIVE ONE-STYLE AID BEYOND 2006 IN DOUBT
A conference in Brussels is discussing whether the poorest areas of countries such as Wales, Spain and Portugal should continue to receive Objective One-style aid after 2006. The key point is that despite the£1.2bn regeneration programme, some parts of Wales may have got poorer during the years of Objective One spending, while others will still linger around their current economic rating, of having a GDP rating below 75 per cent of the EU average, reports The Western Post (p2). Further information on the issue as it affects Wales is available on the icwales.co.uk website.
COURT BACKS COUNCIL AS GARDENER DIGS IN AGAINST THEM
A county court has ruled that two Camden LBC housing officers acted properly in destroying flowers planted by council tenant James Carty in communal grounds, as he had no permission to garden there. Gordon Perry, Camden's assistant director of housing, said: 'The council encourages tenants to get involved in gardening and we support a large number of legitimate gardening clubs across the borough.' Mr Perry told the Hampstead and Highgate Express(p3): 'They said I was spoiling the area for the other residents, but everyone supported me. I have a petition with 5,000 names on it.'
by Assistant Editor Neil Watson
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