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Archive for March, 2011

Don’t forget to fill in the census form

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Census.ac.uk Logo

All households should have received the distinctive purple and white envelopes containing their census forms by now and I would urge everyone to fill it and send it back.

I know I’ve mentioned it before in my blogs, but I feel I must reiterate just how important it is that Tameside residents send in their forms, because it can have a direct impact on how much grant funding we receive.

The census is not just about counting people; the information it provides is needed to plan services like schools, hospitals, housing, roads and emergency services. The result of this census has a direct affect on the funding we are able to receive to secure for these vital local services.

And people can be rest assured that all the personal information supplied in the questionnaire is kept confidential for 100 years and is not shared with government departments, local authorities or marketing agencies.

People should fill in their forms as soon as they receive them or if they prefer, complete the questionnaire online.

Also by filling it in promptly will mean avoiding the need for a census official to come knocking on your door asking you why you haven’t done it!

Pension Fund update

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Greater Manchester Pension Fund Banner

For this week’s blog I wanted to briefly talk about the recent visit I made to the capital to see some of our pension fund managers.

As chairman of the Greater Manchester Pension Fund, I visited two of our pension fund managers UBS and Capital International along with our pension director to see how the Fund’s doing. Now more than ever keeping on top of our investments is crucial.

These are major international fund managers based in London, who look after over £5,000 million and £1,600 million respectively of the Fund’s assets. These figures are obviously mind-blowing and simply serve to emphasise just how important the work they do on our behalf is.

They invest in companies and loans to governments and companies in both the UK and overseas. The Fund has a very successful investment track record and the performance of these managers will be a key element in the future success of the Fund.

The very sad and extreme events of recent weeks, such as the loss of life and homes to the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power problems in Japan, the challenge to regimes in North Africa and the Middle East, together with the problems of dealing with deficits in Europe and America has led to a very volatile time in financial and commodity markets.

These matters were discussed with the managers and the impact these events were having on the types of investments the managers were making. But our members can be rest assured that they are doing an excellent job of their behalf.

Give youth a chance

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Apprenticeship Fair poster

For my latest blog I wanted to discuss what we’re doing here in Tameside to help our youth by continuing to offer them both leadership and practical support to develop skills and employment.

As well as introducing the 50/50 apprenticeship deal whereby employers receive £1,000 each for taking on a new apprentice we have held several events geared towards finding them decent training opportunities and jobs after it.

A few weeks ago we held our annual Jobs Fair that saw hundreds of job seekers going to Hyde Town Hall where 22 employers had over 700 jobs on offer. And just after that we held a highly successful apprenticeship event at Dukinfield Town Hall.

This unique event was aimed at 14 to 19 year olds and their parents and was designed to help them better understand the benefits of apprenticeships so that they could make informed decisions about their future. Over 500 people attended and the feedback was very positive.

In fact it was so successful that we are planning to hold another one at Ashton Town Hall next Wednesday (March 23) between 2-8pm.

I can assure everyone that we will continue to work with Tameside College to develop new ways of making sure we do all we can to ensure that those young people who want apprenticeships get the opportunity to have one.

And it’s because of our can-do attitude that while others aspire to have 20% of young people in apprenticeships by 2020 (something we have already achieved) our goal is to have 25% by 2015.

Join the clean up campaign

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Spring Clean Challenge Logo

For this week’s blog I wanted to highlight a new initiative we are rolling out this month called the Tameside Spring Clean Challenge.

I first mentioned it in my Key Note Address last November; the introduction of a new initiative to encourage everyone in Tameside to become the eyes and ears of the council. The idea is that the public help us by reporting litter and other street scene related problems that they spot using a dedicated webpage and telephone number.

In reality most people don’t drop litter – they dispose of it properly. Most people don’t fly tip, or throw cigarette butts out of the car window and most people do not write graffiti or vandalise street furniture.

Yet all of us have to suffer because a small minority are not prepared to dispose of their rubbish sensibly or feel they can damage and vandalise other people’s property. Litter dropping and graffiti are both anti-social behaviour and people need to understand this message.

At the moment people are more likely to criticise the council for not picking up litter than they are to blame those who drop it. We know in most cases prevention is better and cheaper than cure and so a key element of the Tameside Spring Clean Challenge will be to use social marketing techniques to begin to change perceptions of litter dropping – so that people recognise it is wrong and unacceptable. Alongside this awareness raising we will be operating a zero tolerance approach to people who break the law.

The challenge will be a three-month concerted campaign to clean up the borough, improve grot spots, remove graffiti and generally improve their local areas. Starting now and running through until the end of May the initiative will look to engage with key groups and stakeholders to raise awareness of litter dropping and to improve the general appearance of the borough.

Key stakeholder will include the general public, schools and colleges, sports clubs, community groups, resident associations, allotment societies, churches temples and mosques, scouts and guides, New Charter, T3SC, fast food outlets and local shops, the local press, radio and businesses.

The dedicated web address is: www.tameside.gov.uk/springclean or you can ring 342 8355 to get involved.

Tameside Logo