Published on 12th November 2015
Every day, Cheltenham Borough Council staff provide residents with hundreds of services which are at the heart of helping communities to function and work well together.
That’s why, as part of the Local Government Association’s #OurDay which is celebrated on 18 November, the council is offering an insight in to just some of the services they provide around the clock.
As roads start to get busy with commuter traffic and families on the school run, waste and recycling crews take great care out on their rounds at this busy time. On an average day the council’s service provider, Ubico will collect 29 tonnes of recycling, 85 tonnes of household waste, 10 tonnes of food waste and 27 tonnes of garden waste across Cheltenham. Meanwhile, other Ubico teams are cleaning streets and emptying bins from 7am.
The Municipal Offices open to the public, the switchboard goes on-line to take calls and the cashiers are ready to take payments. Customer services check whether there are any emails from Ubico regarding operational issues, such as bin wagon breakdown, ready to handle any calls from customers; information is written on the large white boards in the contact centre so staff can see key information at a glance.
The post room will have mail opened and ready for distribution and the first round of car park income collections will have begun. The diary will have been checked to see if there are any particular requirements for the day for example, any special flags to be raised or lowered.
Meanwhile, at 9.30am
The play area inspector parks his van next to the play area. As he approaches the area he is looking for things that shouldn’t be there such as litter, graffiti, glass and dog mess. If he sees glass or dog mess, he clears it immediately. Gates, fences and equipment are also checked to make sure they remain safe for children and their parents.
The inspiring families project officer, with the support of some of our partners, is holding a regular coffee morning for parents and carers at a local primary school for children requiring extra social or emotional support. Some take their toddlers with them to play alongside and today, some parents are receiving guidance with writing CVs, something they had asked for.
And a team of volunteers from a Friends of Leckhampton Hill are taking a well- earned break after removing scrub up on the hill. Volunteers are celebrated by the council as they help in so many areas.
One of the environmental health officers is packing their bag with everything that they will need for the afternoon’s inspections. This includes a white coat and hat to cover their clothes, the inspection forms they need to record vital information from the visit, including a food probe, anti-bacterial wipes, a torch (for seeing into all those small dark spaces) and their council identification badges
A fly tipping report is received by the community protection team. All the details are passed to the officer who adds this job to their caseload for the day. Before leaving the office she ensures she has the equipment she needs to investigate, a camera to take photographs of the evidence and formal evidence bags to collect any material which may be used in a prosecution. Evidence including bank statements leads the officer to the offender and the case will be filed to go to court.
The council leader gets the cabinet meeting underway, with a range of issues on the agenda. Members of the public sit to observe, some have arranged to ask questions. Cabinet notes a series of recommendations, some of which will be taken to full council.
The allotment site wardens are meeting with the allotment officer. The wardens are allotment holders who have volunteered to help the council with letting plots, reporting any problems and generally acting as a liaison between the council and the 800 allotment tenants.
As the town centre starts to get busy with late night revellers, council and police licensing officers inspect licensed premises, undertake a number of underage sales test purchases and meet with frontline door staff.
It’s nearly bed time: 1.00am
Out of hours environmental health officers receive a call from a complainant who says that her neighbour – who has previously been served an abatement notice - has been playing his music loudly for most of the evening. The officers are keen to witness the reported breach; they sit with the complainant for a few hours and gather evidence and offer support.
If the officers assess that the level at which this amplified music is being played is indeed a breach of the abatement notice, they can then apply to the magistrates’ court for a warrant to gain entry into the flat and remove any noise making equipment with police colleagues. This will give the community a much needed break from the noise and send a clear message that this behaviour is not acceptable. If they have enough evidence to prosecute the offender this could lead to a £5,000 fine in the magistrates court if found guilty.
Councillor Steve Jordan, leader at Cheltenham Borough Council said: ‘’#OurDay 2015 highlights the vast range of valued services that we, together with our partners, deliver to people across the borough. We work hard to make sure that everything we do is for the good of the local community.’’
Councillor David Simmonds, chairman of the LGA’s improvement and innovation board added: “It’s important that councils explain what they do and that residents get a chance to hear some of the stories behind the huge variety of vital work that is put into practice from town halls up and down the country on a daily basis.
“Councils make a real difference in their communities, but much of what we do is out of sight. #OurDay is a chance to reflect 24 hours in the life of a council, from providing care for the most vulnerable in our local community to cleaning our streets.’’
For press enquiries contact: Katie Sandey, communications and web team leader, on 01242 775037 or email [email protected]
For more information about LGA’s #OurDay: