East Renfrewshire Neighbourhood Watch - Forum Kunena Site Syndication http://www.ernhw.org.uk/ Fri, 29 May 2020 02:51:39 +0000 Kunena 1.6 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/components/com_kunena/template/default/images/icons/rss.png East Renfrewshire Neighbourhood Watch - Forum http://www.ernhw.org.uk/ en-gb Subject: Councillor Alan Lafferty(Labour) - I am afraid that I have neither the resources or time to undertake updating all 14-15,000 constituents in Ward 4 - by: RM64 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46638-councillor-alan-laffertylabour-i-am-afraid-that-i-have-neither-the-resources-or-time-to-undertake-updating-all-14-15000-constituents-in-ward-4#46638 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46638-councillor-alan-laffertylabour-i-am-afraid-that-i-have-neither-the-resources-or-time-to-undertake-updating-all-14-15000-constituents-in-ward-4#46638
What has happened to the once proud Labour Party?


------ Original Message ------
From: "Lafferty, A (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Sent: Tuesday, 26 May, 2020 At 12:07
Subject: RE: ERC and new £10million Spaces for People fund

I am afraid that I have neither the resources or time to undertake updating all 14-15,000 constituents in Ward 4.

Cllr Alan Lafferty


Sent: 22 May 2020 15:10
To: Lafferty, A (Cllr) < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Subject: Re: ERC and new £10million Spaces for People fund

Hi Alan

I hope you are keeping well.

As Convener for Environment you must be willing to update your constituents with details of this.

Would appreciate reply.

Thanks


------ Original Message ------
On Monday, 18 May, 2020 At 15:33, % wrote:

Hi Alan

'to help residents social distance safely while undertaking essential trips and exercise.'

Would appreciate the courtesy of a response to below.

Thanks


------ Original Message ------
To: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Sent: Tuesday, 12 May, 2020 At 14:43
Subject: Re: ERC and new £10million Spaces for People fund

Hi Alan

Would appreciate courtesy of reply with requested information.

Who are the 'Council Chiefs'? should read -

As the Chief Executive is in charge of all decisions, Who are the 'Council Chiefs'?

How much money are East Renfrewshire Council to get?

How will you ensure that your constituents benefit from this spend and that money is spent on cycle lanes and walkways in your constituency?

Who is the council spokeswoman involved with this?

Who will be 'assessing measures'

How will they be 'assessing measures'

Who will be agreeing these ' measures'

How will they be implementing these 'measures'

Thanks

------ Original Message ------
To: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Sent: Friday, 8 May, 2020 At 12:08
Subject: ERC and new £10million Spaces for People fund

Hi

I refer to the article below and would appreciate if you can give the requested info.

How much money are East Renfrewshire Council to get?

How will you ensure that your constituents benefit from this spend and that money is spent on cycle lanes and walkways in your constituency?

Who are the 'Council Chiefs'?

'COUNCIL chiefs hope to create temporary cycle lanes and walkways in East Renfrewshire to encourage people to exercise as the coronavirus crisis leaves them facing a ‘new normal.’'

Who is the council spokeswoman involved with this?

Who will be 'assessing measures'

How will they be 'assessing measures'

Who will be agreeing these ' measures'

How will they be implementing these 'measures'

'A council spokeswoman told the Barrhead News: “We have registered interest in the Scottish Government’s Spaces for People initiative and, in line with government guidance, will be assessing measures across the authority to help residents social distance safely while undertaking essential trips and exercise.


“Once measures have been agreed, they will be implemented over the coming weeks to help mitigate virus transmission.”'



Published Barrhead News On Line 8/5/2020-

News

2 hrs ago

New fund will encourage residents across East Renfrewshire to get on their bike or take a stroll

By Tristan Stewart-Robertson @srtristan Chief Reporter

COUNCIL chiefs hope to create temporary cycle lanes and walkways in East Renfrewshire to encourage people to exercise as the coronavirus crisis leaves them facing a 'new normal.'

The Scottish Government has launched a new £10million Spaces for People fund to help residents maintain social distancing while out and about.

And East Renfrewshire Council has confirmed it has registered with the scheme in a bid to secure a share of the cash.

A council spokeswoman told the Barrhead News: "We have registered interest in the Scottish Government's Spaces for People initiative and, in line with government guidance, will be assessing measures across the authority to help residents social distance safely while undertaking essential trips and exercise.

"Once measures have been agreed, they will be implemented over the coming weeks to help mitigate virus transmission."

The new fund has been launched in response to a large increase in walking and cycling since the coronavirus lockdown began, with latest figures showing journeys by bicycle are up by 35 per cent on the weekly average, while walking has also increased significantly.

Scottish transport secretary Michael Matheson has stressed that capacity on public transport will have to be reduced as long as social distancing measures are in place, at between 10 and 25 per cent of previous levels.

The Spaces for People fund will be used to reallocate road space for active travel such as cycling and walking, while some routes may be reclassified.

Mr Matheson has written to all Scottish councils to give details of how the Spaces for People initiative will work.

He said: "I'm pleased we are able to put forward a package of support for our local authorities to implement temporary active travel measures, helping to ensure that people can walk, cycle and wheel during this public health emergency whilst physically distancing and keeping safe from traffic.

"Our communities need this support quickly, especially with the welcome increases in cycling we are seeing across the country.

"At the same time, almost every journey starts and ends on our pavements in some way, so it is vitally important that people can physically distance for those essential trips or for exercise."]]>
Public Forum Tue, 26 May 2020 10:50:37 +0000
Subject: Changes to FOI duties for Scottish Public Authorities - by: RM64 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46637-changes-to-foi-duties-for-scottish-public-authorities#46637 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46637-changes-to-foi-duties-for-scottish-public-authorities#46637
www.itspublicknowledge.info/home/AboutSI...shedInformation.aspx

26/5/2020

UPDATE FOR SCOTTISH PUBLIC AUTHORITIES FROM THE OFFICE OF
THE SCOTTISH INFORMATION COMMISSIONER
Emailed: 25 MAY 2020

Changes to FOI duties for Scottish Public Authorities:

Last week the Scottish Parliament passed the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020.

It affects several of the emergency changes made to the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 by the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act in April 2020.

It will receive Royal Assent this week and will come in to force the following day.

The key changes it makes are summarised on our website, and we will publish detailed guidance shortly.

Please note that:

 As a result of the new changes, all requests for information and requests for review must still be responded to promptly, and within a maximum timescale of 20 working days.

This applies to all requests (including those made between 7 April -
the day the first Coronavirus (Scotland) Act came into force - and when the new law comes in to force).

 The Scottish Information Commissioner has discretion to find that a public authority complied with FOISA despite missing the 20 working day deadline if the missed deadline was:

o Due to the effect of coronavirus OR the public authority was working to the
60 working day deadline while it was in force (7 April to date the new law
comes in to force);

AND

o Reasonable in all the circumstances.

In deciding whether a delay was reasonable, the Commissioner’s primary consideration must be the public interest in authorities complying promptly with information requests.

During this time it will continue to be important for authorities to keep records of their request handling, and reasons for their FOI decisions. This will be for the purposes of both statistics collection and in case of reviews and appeals to the Commissioner.

Detailed guidance and further information

We will send a further update once all our detailed guidance and the FOI and Covid-19 information hub has been updated to reflect the changes brought about by the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020.

If you have any urgent queries in the meantime, please contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
-
Scottish Information Commissioner
Kinburn Castle, Doubledykes Road
St Andrews, KY16 9DS
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Web: www.itspublicknowledge.info
Twitter: @FOIScotland]]>
Public Forum Tue, 26 May 2020 09:50:53 +0000
Subject: Council or Secret Society ? - by: RM64 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46626-council-or-secret-society-?limit=6&start=6#46626 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46626-council-or-secret-society-?limit=6&start=6#46626
There was NO public access to these meetings.

The meetings were held in secret.

The details of what went on are still secret.

The minutes are still secret.

There has been NO press coverage.

Open & Transparent?

NO !!!!

Council or Secret Society?

I think you have to conclude that it is a Secret Society !!!!

NO REPLY FROM COUNCILLORS OR COUNCIL OFFICIALS.

SECRET SOCIETY !!!


------ Original Message ------
To: paul.o' This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Cc: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Sent: Thursday, 21 May, 2020 At 13:07
Subject: RE: Emergencies Committee on Thursday 21 May 2020 at 2.00pm - Public access/minutes

To: Emergencies Committee Members
Cc: Eamonn Daly

Dear Emergencies Committee Members

At this meeting (Emergencies Committee on Thursday 21 May 2020 at 2.00pm), Would appreciate if you can raise the matter of giving public access to previous/current/future meeting details/minutes.

I have no idea what transpired at the 14 May meeting and it would appear I will not be able to find out what transpires at this afternoon's meeting until 19 June.

There is no public access to these meetings/minutes.

This is undemocratic. It cannot be considered open & transparent.

Why the secrecy?

In these abnormal times, It is just ridiculous to have to wait till 19 June for public access to this information.

These are not normal times.

Would appreciate that you confirm normal practice can be put aside during this emergency and the details/minutes published immediately.

Thanks]]>
Public Forum Sat, 23 May 2020 10:01:27 +0000
Subject: City Deal and East Renfrewshire ? - by: RM64 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46625-city-deal-and-east-renfrewshire-#46625 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46625-city-deal-and-east-renfrewshire-#46625
21/5/2020

East Renfrewshire Council
7 hrs ·

£250 million funding boost for the Glasgow City Region is set to benefit East Ren’s economy post Covid-19 through ambitious City Deal projects to improve transport links, support business development, increase leisure opportunities and create jobs.

East Renfrewshire Council Website -

£250 million funding boost for the Glasgow City Region is set to benefit East Ren's economy

Glasgow City Region today announced a £250 million funding boost for vital infrastructure work which will help kick start the Region's post Covid-19 economic recovery and play a key part in supporting thousands of jobs and businesses across the Region

The funding forms part of the £1.13 billion UK and Scottish Government funded City Deal, one of the largest and the most advanced in the UK.


'Communities have really started to see the delivery of the City Deal's promise and its clear transformational effect and the next five years have always been about driving forward that investment and projects on the ground. As we plan for our re-emergence from the greatest crisis in generations, it's crucial that we accelerate activity on the things we already know we need to build a city region economy, one which delivers for all people and a sustainable future. The City Deal has a critical role on that road to recovery and renewal. In the months and years ahead, a monumental effort at all levels of government will be required to resuscitate our post-pandemic economy and I am committed to working with UK and Scottish ministers to maximise the value and impact of the Glasgow City Region Deal.'

- Susan Aitken, Chair of the Glasgow City Region Cabinet and Leader of Glasgow City Council

'This confirmation of funding is welcome news for supporting East Renfrewshire's economy post Covid-19 enabling us to improve transport links, support business development, increase leisure opportunities and create jobs. City Deal investment has already enabled business opportunities and job creation through the construction of The Greenlaw Works, a new business centre at Greenlaw in Newton Mearns and commercial units at Crossmill Business Park in Barrhead. Ambitious future plans are under way to improve the road network between Barrhead and Newton Mearns, enable residential development, create a new train station in Barrhead and enhance tourism at Dams to Darnley Country Park.'

- Councillor Tony Buchanan, Leader of East Renfrewshire Council and holder of the Infrastructure portfolio for Glasgow City Region

The announcement was prompted by formal confirmation from government to the eight City Regional member councils of their successful Gateway Review - the first of three reviews over the twenty year City Deal which unlock funding for key infrastructure projects. The Review, carried out by an independent company, recognised significant successes across the City Deal to date and commended the partners for their focus on delivering inclusive economic growth and for their strong partnership and shared vision to transform the Regional economy.

'It is great to see the UK Government's investment of £523m in the Glasgow City Region Deal continue to bring many benefits to the city and beyond. This funding for vital infrastructure work will help significantly as we look to recover from the Covid pandemic and plan for the future. The UK Government has committed over £1.4 billion to city and growth deals across Scotland, promoting opportunities, creating jobs and attracting further investment.'

- Scottish Secretary Alister Jack

'The Covid-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented global crisis which has fundamentally changed every aspect of our lives. This further investment into the Glasgow City Region Deal from our total funding of £500 million, combined with the package of support we have announced for businesses across the country, will support the region to plan its economic recovery from Covid and thrive in the future.'

- Michael Matheson MSP Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity

Last year marked the first five years of the Deal which has already made significant progress, with over £216 million spent and City Region businesses benefitting from a £79 million boost in contracts won (At end March 2020). A number of major projects have completed or are well underway, including Europe's first ever 'Smart' canal and the £18 million 'street in the sky' bridge at Sighthill, one of the largest regeneration projects of its type outside of London.

At the beginning of 2020, anticipated infrastructure spend in the next five years was set to be £700 million - more than three times spend to date, with construction expected to be completed for most projects. However, in line with government advice, contractors have currently suspended construction on all projects and work will now take place to revisit the infrastructure build programme in light of delays.

Despite this, the City Deal remains very much underway, with extensive 'back office' work progressing on the procurement of suppliers and services and on activities such as project design which can still be carried out, some by local consultancy businesses.

And the £250 million funding boost is set to support a whole programme of work in the next five years, helping to create and support thousands of much needed jobs for the local economy.

Work to improve transport and connectivity, a key focus of the £1 billion programme, will move forward, including a feasibility study on proposals for a Glasgow metro system - a sustainable transport solution which has the potential to greatly improve access to jobs and build on our status as a global city region.

Sustainable and inclusive travel and transport projects feature widely and include road improvements, bridges and active travel initiatives - such as cycle and pedestrian schemes, park and rides, enhanced public realm to improve greenspace, accessibility and encourage walking and cycling.

In fact, by 2035, the City Deal is set to have delivered 53 km of cycle routes and 30 km of new pedestrian routes.

Works completed to date include the Avenues pilot scheme at Sauchiehall Street where widened pavements, new cycle routes and greater resilience to the impacts of climate change through features such as trees and rain gardens encourage more cycling and walking. The City Deal is funding this £115 million project to redevelop 17 streets in Glasgow city centre - the biggest project of its kind in the UK.

Extensive remediation works will also continue to unlock land in key locations for private development, with new roads, thousands of new homes built and new commercial, industrial and residential floor space realised through projected follow-on investment.

For more information about East Ren's City Deal projects, go to:

eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk/glasgowcitydeal]]>
Public Forum Thu, 21 May 2020 19:22:37 +0000
Subject: Cllr Miller imposes ban on giving Council information to his constituents - by: RM64 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46616-cllr-miller-imposes-ban-on-giving-council-information-to-his-constituents#46616 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46616-cllr-miller-imposes-ban-on-giving-council-information-to-his-constituents#46616 To: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Sent: Tuesday, 19 May, 2020 At 17:31
Subject: Your Email of 27/2 /2020 imposing censorship on your Constituents

Hi Stewart

During these worrying times I hope you are keeping well.

I refer to your email below (27 Feb 2020) and subsequent emails mentioning the imposing of censorship on your constituents.

I have read recently in The Extra and Barrhead News that you 'have resolved to improve my conduct as a councillor in future.'

This has given me some expectation that we can reach some conciliation on this matter and resolve it in a more adult manner if we can establish what the problem is.

It was disappointing to hear from you that you wish to impose this kind of Censorship on your constituents.

You have not made it clear exactly why.

Neither you nor I said anything about these emails being confidential.

You did not say that your your views/opinion/comments on general run of the mill Council/Constituency subjects and/or matters were private/confidential.

I did not ask for your advice or ask for any private or personal details/information.

If I had been asking for information of this type, I would certainly have made this clear.

What I did ask for was your views/opinion/comments on general run of the mill Council/Constituency subjects and/or matters covering -

Council Tax/Rent rises,
The Eastwood Park Leisure Centre Masterplan,
The Draft Local Policing Plan,
Eastwood Park/Leisure Centre Black Ice Problem,
Linwood Ave Closure regarding Year long Scottish Water work,
etc.

Hardly state secrets requiring the introduction of this Censorship.

These have all been perfectly reasonable and as said, only cover Council matters.

Why you should not impose this form of censorship, is covered in The Councillors Code of Conduct -

'Accountability and Stewardship
You are accountable to the public for your decisions and actions. You have a duty to consider issues on their merits, taking account of the views of others, and you must ensure that the Council uses its resources prudently and in accordance with the law.

Openness
You have a duty to be as open as possible about your decisions and actions, giving reasons for your decisions and restricting information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.

Respect
You must respect all other councillors and all Council employees and the role they play, treating them with courtesy at all times. Similarly you must respect members of the public when performing duties as a Councillor.'

indeed it does say - 'and restricting information only when the wider public interest clearly demands.'

Does the wider public interest clearly demand that you impose this censorship and restrict this information?

I don't think I, or the information is a threat to the 'public interest'.

Therefore, I fail to see your objections and why you wish to impose this kind of Censorship on your constituents.

Are you asking that I seek your permission?

It is always my intention to make requests in a polite, courteous, non abusive manner and I think we can both agree that this is what I have done.

When seeking election you were only too willing to give these views/opinions/comments to voters when seeking votes.

You did not say to voters at election time that once elected ' I will not be responding' to requests for views/opinions/comments on these Council/Constituency subjects and/or matters.

Why the change now and the introduction of Censorship?

As said these are views/opinion/comments you were only too willing to give when seeking election.

It is a cause for concern that the Chair of the Audit & Scrutiny Committee and now a member of the Emergency Committee should be more concerned with imposing Censorship than with Openness, Transparency and Scrutiny.

You say - 'Cllr MacDonald alerted me to the fact that you were immediately publishing these private emails on a public web site....'

As said, neither you nor I said anything about these emails being confidential.

You did not say that your your views/opinion/comments on general run of the mill Council/Constituency subjects and/or matters were private/confidential.

You give no reason as to your objections.

What is it you object to?

You do not give the name of this public web site.

As you have mentioned a public web site but not named the site, perhaps you can name the sites and indicate any topics that concern you and say why.

I have had a look at some public web sites that refer to East Renfrewshire Council subjects/matters.

Of what I read, the information would appear to be factual, the tone is in general acceptable and there is no profanity.

With the run down and loss of Local Press Publications, public web sites would appear to be useful platforms for information to be communicated quickly to all the residents/Council Taxpayers of East Renfrewshire and for them to comment should they so wish.

Indeed, I would conclude that people view the type of information available here and consider it as useful as the Council Web Site.

They provide a public service.

Some of the topics they may be interested in, others they may not.

It's up to them what they read.

I see no difference between these sites and Letters/comments/Agenda columns in Newspaper and/or printed publications.

I see no difference between these sites and the comments posted on the Council's facebook page.

I see no difference between these sites and posts/comments posted on Councillor's facebook pages.

You as with anyone else can request the administrator or moderator of any public web site to remove information.

I am aware that East Renfrewshire Councillors and Council Officials very much dislike a website called East Renfrewshire Neighbourhood Watch/Forum.

Amongst other information, it publicises upcoming Council Meetings and gives information regarding agendas, papers and minutes.

It also publicises Freedom of Information requests and responses.

During the current Corona Virus Emergency it is giving information regarding 'Current Council Services' and how to find this information on the Council Website.

Extremely useful information for those interested in Council matters and openness and transparency and scrutiny.

Indeed, I would conclude that people view the type of information available here and consider it as useful as the Council Web Site.

Why would you object to this?

The information would appear to be of interest to East Renfrewshire Residents/Council Taxpayers who have a general concern in the current and future provision of services within East Renfrewshire.

This would appear to be the only place that collectively, that information of this type can be obtained. This information would appear not to be collectively available via ERC or ERCLT.

Again, why would you object to this?

We live in a different age. We have moved on from the days when information could be withheld and hidden from Residents/Council Taxpayers.

Indeed, the more information made available, can only contribute to more debate, which can only instill confidence in our democracy.

This information can be made available on many platforms. Some newspapers I like others I don't. But as long as they are within the law I defend their right to publish. I don't need to read them. This is the same for other platforms.

Again, why would you object to this?

I would conclude that you and other Councillors have nothing to fear in answering queries from constituents and giving views/opinions/comments regarding Council/Constituency matters.

Censorship is the tool of Autocrats and Dictators not Democrats.

For clarification -

I do not own, administer or moderate any public web site.
I have no interest in the running, owning, administering or moderating any public web site.
I do not necessarily share all the views/opinions/comments posted on any Website.

I am not a member of any political party and/or group or a member of any other group/organisation.

I am only a constituent living in Ward 4.

I would appreciate if you can reply to above and withdraw this Censorship on your constituents.

Thanks


------ Original Message ------
From: "Miller, Stewart (Cllr)" < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Sent: Thursday, 27 Feb, 2020 At 15:40
Subject: Re: Full Council meeting 27/2 /2020 - Council Tax/Rent rises

As I have stated in previous correspondence to you, my responding to private emails to you are, as far as I thought, were private. Cllr MacDonald alerted me to the fact that you were immediately publishing these private emails on a public web site therefore I will not be responding to any further private emails from yourself

To answer the first of your questions, simply because I was told the web cast wasn't working during my speech, I and our Conservative group asked the council administration group to honour last year's promise of a 3% increase and I pointed out that very few people were lucky enough to get a salary increase to pay for extra Council Tax leaving local residents worse off

Regards

Stewart]]>
Public Forum Thu, 21 May 2020 07:10:03 +0000
Subject: East Renfrewshire Tory councillor faces party investigation over Facebook post - by: Ernhw Ltd http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46614-east-renfrewshire-tory-councillor-faces-party-investigation-over-facebook-post#46614 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46614-east-renfrewshire-tory-councillor-faces-party-investigation-over-facebook-post#46614
The leader of the Conservative group on East Renfrewshire Council is being investigated by his party following a complaint over a Facebook post.

By Drew Sandelands

Wednesday, 20th May 2020, 8:52 am

Stewart Miller apologised earlier this month after constituents criticised his decision to share an image of environmental activist Greta Thunberg, with a caption which stated her generation couldn’t decide “whether you’re a boy, or girl or ‘other’”.

The post sparked accusations of transphobia and LGBT charity Stonewall Scotland said jokes about trans people’s identities are “hurtful”.

A member of the public said the councillor’s apology “falls well short of what is required” and, in a letter to Scottish Conservatives leader Jackson Carlaw, called for Mr Miller to resign from the party or be suspended.

It is understood some constituents intend to file complaints with the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life. The Commissioner investigates complaints about councillors in Scotland.

There is currently no set timescale on the Scottish Conservatives investigation, which could take several weeks.

A spokesman said: “The party’s disciplinary committee has received this complaint and is investigating.”

The photo of Ms Thunberg was captioned: “My generation will start a revolution.”

Below the image, another caption stated: “Your generation can’t work 40 hours in a week, can’t decided whether you’re a boy, or girl or ‘other’ or can’t eat meat without crying.”

Mr Miller added: “Haven’t heard much fae the wee lassie fae Sweden. Perhaps my coos are not the worst things on the planet after all.”

Following complaints, he said: “Having reflected on the post, I understand the offence it may have caused. It was never my intention to cause upset to any individuals and I apologise unreservedly.

“While I didn’t write those words myself, I do understand that by sharing them the impact can be equally significant.

“I’ve taken on board the words from charities like Stonewall and have resolved to improve my conduct as a councillor in future.”]]>
Public Forum Wed, 20 May 2020 13:11:36 +0000
Subject: Coronavirus: Controversial FOI law changes scrapped after opposition MSPs join forces - by: RM64 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46613-coronavirus-controversial-foi-law-changes-scrapped-after-opposition-msps-join-forces#46613 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46613-coronavirus-controversial-foi-law-changes-scrapped-after-opposition-msps-join-forces#46613 Published The Herald On Line -


News

3 hrs ago

By David Bol @mrdavidbol Political Correspondent

Coronavirus: Controversial FOI law changes scrapped after opposition MSPs join forces

THE SCOTTISH Government’s controversial proposals to restrict freedom of information (FOI) requests have been axed by MSPs.

The timeframe for FOI responses had been extended to 60 working days under initial Scottish Government proposals, but the second wave of emergency legislation has reverting the rule back to the original 20-day deadline after opposition MSPs joined forces.

Holyrood’s Covid-19 committee rejected the Scottish Government's attempts to change this to 40 days after amendments by Scottish Greens MSP Ross Greer were agreed.

He said: “I'm grateful that my amendments were passed unanimously, ensuring that the public, journalists and elected representatives have access to as much information as possible during this crisis.

“Confidence in government is critical right now but it depends on transparency. Restricting Freedom of Information was wrong and unnecessary, reflected but the fact that no other country in Europe has taken this step. The Greens are glad to have brought Scotland back in line with common standards of openness and transparency."

Labour MSP Monica Lennon said: "To try to restore public confidence and trust it is important that we do have full transparency."

She argued MSPs have struggled to get information and health data from ministers, adding: "We're routinely being told that the Scottish Government doesn't hold the information or we get a holding response."

Scottish Conservative MSP Adam Tomkins said: "All four opposition parties in the Parliament are united in their condemnation of what the SNP have sought to do here."

The Scottish Parliament will vote on the amended legislation at stage three on Wednesday afternoon.]]>
Public Forum Tue, 19 May 2020 19:56:13 +0000
Subject: Post-legislative scrutiny: Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 - by: RM64 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46610-post-legislative-scrutiny-freedom-of-information-scotland-act-2002#46610 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46610-post-legislative-scrutiny-freedom-of-information-scotland-act-2002#46610
www.itspublicknowledge.info/home/News/20200519.aspx

Report on Post-Legislative Scrutiny of Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act published

A committee of MSPs has made recommendations for changes to FOISA

The Scottish Parliament's Public Audit and Post-Legislative Scrutiny Committee has today published its report on its review of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA).

The report recognises that FOISA has improved the transparency and accountability of public bodies, and makes a total of 39 recommendations which the committee says are required for the legislation to keep pace with the changing nature of public service delivery, new forms of communication and the way in which the public accesses information.

The committee's work is independent of the Scottish Government and the Scottish Information Commissioner. Its report states that the Scottish Government should consult on the following suggested changes:

Introduce a ‘factors’ approach based on functional tests – e.g. quantifying the degree of public interest in the function / considering the cost to the public purse.
Introduce a ‘gateway clause’ which would automatically bring those elements of organisations fulfilling certain criteria within the scope of FOISA.
Introduce a statutory code to publish information.
Require certain key information, such as minutes of ministerial meetings, to be recorded.
Prevent reliance on confidentiality clauses between public authorities and contractors.

The report follows a year-long review of FOISA during which the committee received over 50 submissions from authorities, other organisations and members of the public, many of whom also gave oral evidence in autumn 2019. The report was produced before recent temporary changes to FOI law made in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

You can read the submissions and transcripts of the evidence sessions on the committee's webpages. The Commissioner's written submission is also available on our website.

Daren Fitzhenry says: "I have received the Committee's report and will be considering it in full.

"Since its introduction, the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act has empowered people to seek information on topics which matter to them, has enabled people to engage meaningfully with decision makers, and has provided a clear route via which to challenge non-disclosure.

"As I noted in my evidence to the committee last year, there are a number of ways I believe the legislation can be further strengthened, and I look forward to reviewing the Committee's report and seeing how its recommendations may be implemented."

Read the Committee's report online, or download a PDF, via the Scottish Parliament's Digital Publications website.


You can read an On Line version of the report here -

digitalpublications.parliament.scot/Comm...ct-2002#Introduction]]>
Public Forum Tue, 19 May 2020 15:28:13 +0000
Subject: New fund will encourage residents across East Renfrewshire to get on their bike or take a stroll ? - by: RM64 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46603-new-fund-will-encourage-residents-across-east-renfrewshire-to-get-on-their-bike-or-take-a-stroll-?limit=6&start=12#46603 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46603-new-fund-will-encourage-residents-across-east-renfrewshire-to-get-on-their-bike-or-take-a-stroll-?limit=6&start=12#46603
News

2 hrs ago

New fund will encourage residents across East Renfrewshire to get on their bike or take a stroll

By Tristan Stewart-Robertson @srtristan Chief Reporter

COUNCIL chiefs hope to create temporary cycle lanes and walkways in East Renfrewshire to encourage people to exercise as the coronavirus crisis leaves them facing a 'new normal.'

The Scottish Government has launched a new £10million Spaces for People fund to help residents maintain social distancing while out and about.

And East Renfrewshire Council has confirmed it has registered with the scheme in a bid to secure a share of the cash.

A council spokeswoman told the Barrhead News: "We have registered interest in the Scottish Government's Spaces for People initiative and, in line with government guidance, will be assessing measures across the authority to help residents social distance safely while undertaking essential trips and exercise.

"Once measures have been agreed, they will be implemented over the coming weeks to help mitigate virus transmission."

The new fund has been launched in response to a large increase in walking and cycling since the coronavirus lockdown began, with latest figures showing journeys by bicycle are up by 35 per cent on the weekly average, while walking has also increased significantly.

Scottish transport secretary Michael Matheson has stressed that capacity on public transport will have to be reduced as long as social distancing measures are in place, at between 10 and 25 per cent of previous levels.

The Spaces for People fund will be used to reallocate road space for active travel such as cycling and walking, while some routes may be reclassified.

Mr Matheson has written to all Scottish councils to give details of how the Spaces for People initiative will work.

He said: "I'm pleased we are able to put forward a package of support for our local authorities to implement temporary active travel measures, helping to ensure that people can walk, cycle and wheel during this public health emergency whilst physically distancing and keeping safe from traffic.

"Our communities need this support quickly, especially with the welcome increases in cycling we are seeing across the country.

"At the same time, almost every journey starts and ends on our pavements in some way, so it is vitally important that people can physically distance for those essential trips or for exercise."]]>
Public Forum Tue, 19 May 2020 09:32:47 +0000
Subject: Cllr David Macdonald - Is he a Saint or simply Foolish ? - by: Newsline http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46590-cllr-david-macdonald-is-he-a-saint-or-simply-foolish-#46590 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46590-cllr-david-macdonald-is-he-a-saint-or-simply-foolish-#46590 The following is a copy of a post on David Macdonalds Facebook page.

Cllr David Macdonald - An Independent voice for people is in Busby, East Renfrewshire, United Kingdom.
12 May at 22:11 ·

These are very tough times and as someone who has suffered in the past from depression I know how difficult it can be to travel through life carrying the extra weight of depression, anxiety, bereavement or loneliness.

If you are out there and feel alone please know that you are absolutely not alone. Please don't feel you have to suffer in silence.

Sometimes people just need a pair of listening ears or just a chat about anything really just to lift them up a bit.

If you or someone you know in ward 4 could benefit from a simple chat on the phone please feel free to give me a bell. If I don't answer leave me a message or send me a text and I'll try my best to get back to you as soon as I can.

All calls will be treated in the strictest of confidence. As an elected Councillor I am here to represent you. As a person I am here to just listen.

I'm not a medical practitioner so I can't give medical advice but if you want to just get something off your chest
I'm here.

07958 679 384]]>
Public Forum Sun, 17 May 2020 15:26:35 +0000
Subject: Fed-up council staff in East Renfrewshire left fuming over coronavirus ‘blame game’ - by: RM64 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46589-fed-up-council-staff-in-east-renfrewshire-left-fuming-over-coronavirus-blame-game#46589 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46589-fed-up-council-staff-in-east-renfrewshire-left-fuming-over-coronavirus-blame-game#46589
News

15th May

By Pippa Smith Reporter

Fed-up council staff in East Renfrewshire left fuming over coronavirus ‘blame game’

STAFF providing a vital service to vulnerable East Renfrewshire residents have hit out at management amid claims they were blamed for “bringing coronavirus to work.”

Members of East Renfrewshire Council’s Telecare team perform a key role by helping people who have been assessed as vulnerable, including those with a disability or serious health issue, to continue to live in their own home.

In return for a fee, the council provides a community alarm that links residents to a response centre, enabling them to summon help in an emergency.

However, it is understood that two members of the Telecare team – also known as community alarm responders – have been off work after contracting coronavirus.

That has led to calls for all responders to be tested for Covid-19, whether or not they are showing symptoms.

And relations between staff and management are said to have reached “breaking point” after employees were sent an email – seen by the Barrhead News – in which they were told “the virus that may be spreading about the responders just now could only have been brought in from outside our working environment.”

One member of the Telecare team, who asked to remain anonymous, said: “We feel that our manager is basically blaming staff for bringing the virus in.

“We are frontline staff, working in tough times and risking our lives to do our job without one ounce of gratitude.”

The responders have now raised the matter with the Unison trade .

“We are seeking advice as we feel the relationship with management is at breaking point,” said the worker. “Morale has never been lower."

Steven Larkin, Unison branch secretary in East Renfrewshire, has stressed that all members of council staff “must feel safe” while doing their job.

He said: “It is very important that, if staff are asked to do something which threatens the safety of them or those they are caring for, they must make a professional judgement, speak to their manager and, if necessary, escalate it with a Unison steward.

“We are all doing our best to support the national effort to get through this pandemic. We understand this is a difficult time but staff must feel safe.”

A council spokesperson said: “This email was sent to staff as a reminder about good practice in relation to hygiene procedures and it is unfortunate that the wording caused it to be misinterpreted.

“This was not the intention and a further email clarifying this has since been sent.”]]>
Public Forum Sat, 16 May 2020 16:38:57 +0000
Subject: Emergency Committee Meeting - Thursday 21 May 2020 at 2.00pm - by: RM64 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46585-emergency-committee-meeting-thursday-21-may-2020-at-200pm?limit=6&start=6#46585 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46585-emergency-committee-meeting-thursday-21-may-2020-at-200pm?limit=6&start=6#46585 Deputy Chief Executive: Caroline Innes BSc (Hons)
Council Headquarters, Eastwood Park, Giffnock, East Renfrewshire, G46 6UG
Phone: 0141 577 3000
Fax: 0141 577 3834
website: www.eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk
Date:15 May 2020
When calling please ask for:
Eamonn Daly (Tel. No 0141-577-3023)
e-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

TO: Councillors T Buchanan (Chair); S Miller and P O’Kane.

EMERGENCIES COMMITTEE

A meeting of the Emergencies Committee will be held

on Thursday 21 May 2020 at 2.00pm.

The agenda of business is as shown below.

Caroline Innes
C INNES
DEPUTY CHIEF EXECUTIVEAGENDA

1.Report apologies for absence.

2.Declarations of Interest.

3.COVID 19 – Actions – Report by Chief Executive (copy attached, pages3 - 36).

++++++++++++++++
You can read the Agenda/Papers here -

www.eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=26326&p=0]]>
Public Forum Fri, 15 May 2020 13:41:19 +0000
Subject: East Renfrewshire Council Emergencies Committee will be meeting on 14 May 2020 - by: RM64 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46570-east-renfrewshire-council-emergencies-committee-will-be-meeting-on-14-may-2020?limit=6&start=6#46570 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46570-east-renfrewshire-council-emergencies-committee-will-be-meeting-on-14-may-2020?limit=6&start=6#46570
Cllr David MacDonald has posted on his facebook page -

Cllr David Macdonald - An Independent voice for people
58 mins ·

During this crisis many of us have found real value in video conferencing using the likes of Zoom.

On the 14th of May the East Renfrewshire Council Emergencies Committee will be meeting to discuss the return of full council and committee meetings allowing Councillors to take up their roles once again to scrutinise Council policies and decision making.

I welcome this.

But we must ensure, as elected members, we do this safely and within government guidelines.

Due to the current 2 metre rule it would be impossible to ensure absolute safety to hold these meetings in person in the normal fashion within the council chamber.

Therefore I have made my support vocal to council leader Cllr. Tony Buchanan this morning during a telephone call that the incorporation of video conferencing technology to undertake these meetings should be the way forward until the government changes the rules and deems it safe to meet in person.

I await the outcome of the decision made at the meeting on the 14th and would hope that they find such arrangements favourable.

---

The Emergencies conmittee:

Cllr Tony Buchanan (SNP)
Cllr Paul Aitken (LAB)
Cllr Stewart Miller (CON)]]>
Public Forum Tue, 12 May 2020 13:22:46 +0000
Subject: Top East Renfrewshire councillor criticised for "transphobic" comment about Greta Thunberg - by: RM64 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46550-top-east-renfrewshire-councillor-criticised-for-qtransphobicq-comment-about-greta-thunberg#46550 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46550-top-east-renfrewshire-councillor-criticised-for-qtransphobicq-comment-about-greta-thunberg#46550
29/4/2020

News

2 hrs ago


Top East Renfrewshire councillor criticised for "transphobic" comment about Greta Thunberg

THE leader of the Conservative group on East Renfrewshire Council has been criticised for sharing an "inappropriate" and "transphobic" Facebook post.

Councillor Stewart Miller shared a photo of 17-year-old environmental activist Greta Thunberg on his social media page last month with a caption which stated her generation couldn't decide "whether you're a boy, or girl or 'other.'"

One constituent who contacted the Barrhead News described the post as "transphobic," while LGBT charity Stonewall Scotland said elected representatives should hold themselves to higher standards.

But Mr Miller said he shared the post as there had been a "deafening silence" from Ms Thunberg since the coronavirus pandemic began.

He also said he believed the post was "politically correct."

The photo of Ms Thunberg was captioned: "My generation will start a revolution."

Below the image, another caption stated: "Your generation can't work 40 hours in a week, can't decide whether you're a boy, or girl or 'other' or can't eat meat without crying."

When sharing the post, Mr Miller, who is a farmer, wrote: "Haven't heard much fae the wee lassie fae Sweden. Perhaps my coos are not the worst things on the planet after all."

One of Councillor Miller's constituents, who asked not to be named, said his comments are "entirely inappropriate."

She added: "This man is a senior councillor and is setting the wrong example by posting a message like this.

"I can only imagine he thinks that Facebook post is funny but, in my view, it is transphobic - and I'm sure members of the LGBT community will be far from amused either.

"As one of his constituents, I expect my councillors to hold themselves to higher standards than this."

Colin Macfarlane, a director at Stonewall Scotland, said: "People in positions of political power have a responsibility to champion everyone they represent, which includes LGBT people.

"Jokes about trans people’s identities are hurtful. Trans people need and deserve acceptance and equality.

"We should all be focused on tackling prejudices and achieving acceptance without exception for all LGBT people."

In response to the complaints, Mr Miller said: "My comment is wholly restricted to the fact that there has been a deafening silence from the young lady from Sweden whilst the world comes to terms with the current situation and that perhaps cattle might not be the biggest scourge on the planet today, despite all the things that have been said.

"The post, that had been copied, far from being transphobic was actually politically correct inasmuch as it stated that some people thought of themselves as male or female but others thought of themselves differently, hence the reference to 'others'.

"Personally, I didn't find this funny as it had a very serious message as we were about to enter lockdown at that time and Ms Thunberg's message might be lost with the coronavirus pandemic taking up all the news."

He also said it was "fantastic" the constituent had "taken it upon themselves, obviously at great sacrifice themselves, to trawl through my Facebook page."


You can read the full article here -

www.barrheadnews.com/news/18413021.top-e...ment-greta-thunberg/]]>
Public Forum Wed, 29 Apr 2020 10:24:47 +0000
Subject: Calls for more scrutiny of decisions made at East Renfrewshire Council - by: RM64 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46548-calls-for-more-scrutiny-of-decisions-made-at-east-renfrewshire-council#46548 http://www.ernhw.org.uk/forum/2-public-forum/46548-calls-for-more-scrutiny-of-decisions-made-at-east-renfrewshire-council#46548
29/04/2020

News

52 mins ago

By Drew Sandelands Local Democracy Reporter

Calls for more scrutiny of decisions made at East Renfrewshire Council

CONCERNS have been raised over the lack of scrutiny of decisions made under emergency powers at East Renfrewshire Council.

Councillors agreed in March to suspend all meetings and delegate decisions to chief executive Lorraine McMillan and senior officers during the coronavirus pandemic.

But some elected members and residents feel this move means tax payers aren’t being adequately represented.

A concerned member of the public, who asked not to be named, said: “Councillors handed control of decisions to those very same officers councillors are there to control.

“As a consequence, the residents/council tax payers of East Renfrewshire now have no representation.

“Councillors discussed but refused to impose any time-limit and as this matter is not time limited nor subject to review, it could run until the next council elections, whenever they are held.”

They asked why the authority couldn’t use video technology to provide updates.

A council spokesman said the measures were introduced to address the “unique and unprecedented” challenges of the pandemic.

He added they were “working through the details” of holding meetings via video conference.

At the meeting on March 23, the authority agreed an emergency committee, made up of the council leader Tony Buchanan, depute leader Paul O’Kane and the leader of the main opposition group, Conservative Stewart Miller, would be set up to make decisions requiring political approval and the changes would be kept under review and revoked “at the appropriate time”.

Councillor David Macdonald has also voiced his opposition to the arrangements.

In a Facebook post earlier this month, he said: “The residents of East Renfrewshire are having decisions thrust on them now with no scrutiny on those decisions.

“A meeting of the full council takes approximately 60-90 minutes and less for a single decision to be democratically reached.”

Mr Macdonald and another independent councillor, Paul Aitken, voted against the emergency powers at the March meeting.

Speaking on the day, Mr Aitken branded the move an “indefinite coup d’état” and said he had “serious concerns”.

Conservative Tory councillor Jim Swift, who abstained in the vote, had suggested the council should use technology to hold meetings.

In response to the concerns, the council spokesman said: “These temporary emergency measures were put in place to support the council in dealing with the global coronavirus pandemic, which has presented unique and unprecedented challenges for all local authorities.

“Establishing the emergencies committee was an important step in ensuring any decisions which required approval from councillors could be done so quickly and effectively.

“All decisions made by the council so far have been of an operational nature and therefore taken by the chief executive and directors.

“Whilst elected members on the emergencies committee have been kept updated on the measures being taken, there has not been a requirement for formal approval from the emergencies committee at this stage.”

He added: “National guidance has been provided in relation to holding statutory committees, such as planning, via video conferencing and we are currently working through the details of this.

“The requirement for the temporary emergencies committee is being kept under review and we will resume with a more normal council meeting structure as soon as is practically possible, once we are able to ensure that meetings can be held both in line with social distancing guidelines and with suitable technology arrangements in place to support virtual meetings effectively.”]]>
Public Forum Wed, 29 Apr 2020 09:12:45 +0000