Tag Archives: bradford council

Young riders in City Park for the start of stage 3 of the 2017 Tour de Yorkshire

Chief Executive’s blog – June 2017

It’s been too long since I reflected on our work. It has been an extraordinarily busy period. I have kept up with covering my daily activity on Twitter. But I have missed this wider opportunity to communicate with you all.

With the awful events in Manchester at the forefront of my mind I want to thank all our staff. Whether you worked with schools to provide support for young people, spent time in communities and with younger residents listening and reassuring, were deployed as a special as part of the intensified policing, attended the many multi faith and cross community vigils, or got on with the day job whilst the threat level was ‘critical’, you played a part in keeping our communities close, safe and united.

Bradford remembrance after Manchester bombing
Bradford remembrance after Manchester bombing

I want to pay tribute to our health colleagues at Bradford Royal Infirmary who tended to a significant number of wounded Bradfordians arriving at A&E through the night of the bombing, and to police colleagues many of whom have worked twelve-hour six-day shifts over the last week. We hold the 22 who died, the many grieving, wounded and distressed, and the city of Manchester in our thoughts. We stand together.

General Election on Thursday, 8 June

The events in Manchester suspended campaigning in the General Election. But the election date remains Thursday, 8 June. There has been no let-up in the hard backroom work getting everything ready for polling day. The elections team and I normally have six months to prepare for such a significant event. This time we have had six weeks. The elections team have been flat out. Some have had to cancel long planned holidays. They are a small, dedicated and great team.

Elections staff
Elections staff preparing ballot boxes for the general election

Of course their numbers swell to over a thousand for polling day and the count itself.
If you are taking part this year – getting up ridiculously early to set up and open the polling station for 7 am sharp or having a sleepless night to work at the count – thank you.

I know you will take very seriously our responsibility to ensure everyone who is entitled to has the opportunity to vote, free of undue pressure, and that every vote is counted accurately. As we know, elections are lively and hotly contested in our District. I see this as a sign of a healthy and vigorous democracy in action. We are also dedicated to helping ‘promote the vote’ in the run up to polling day and I encourage everyone to exercise their democratic right to vote!

A few highlights – Tour de Yorkshire

But I want to turn now to just a few of the highlights of the last few months. Our delivery of the Tour de Yorkshire was a triumph. Some 400,000 people crammed onto village streets, rural lanes and iconic climbs such as Haworth Main Street. Bunting, land art and impromptu street parties were the order of the day. And who can forget the umbrella tree in Lister Park? Two of our pieces of land art – the now famous Addingham Ducks and Branwell and the Bicycle (celebrating two hundred years since the invention of the bicycle and of Branwell’s birth) have been shortlisted in the TdY land art competition. Go to the Tour de Yorkshire website and vote for one of them! I saw first-hand just how hard people worked to make the event a success – they did us proud.

Praise for how we keep children safe

Recognition of the strength of our team work also came in the inspection of our partnership work on domestic abuse and its impact on the lives of the children of our District. If you haven’t read about the report of the ‘joint targeted area inspection‘ team it is worth doing so. It made me proud of what we do. The report speaks of the commitment of front line workers to serve the best interests of children, of low turnover and high morale amongst social work staff, of great partnership work focussed on the needs of the child, and a quality of work which is making a positive impact on vulnerable children’s lives. The inspectors also commented on the scale, complexity and challenging nature of much of the work. And of course there was learning. We are not complacent. We will address the points raised and make improvements. But across the trade press – the journals that cover our business – there was widespread recognition of just how strong our work is.

Congratulations to Sue Dunkley, our HR Director. She is officially the public sector’s HR Director of the year! This is great news for Sue and Bradford. She was nominated by some of our Future Leaders who conducted a very sophisticated promotional campaign which got everyone talking about what’s happening here in our organisation.

And finally huge thanks to our refuse collectors and customer service staff. They are part way through implementation of significant changes to how and when we collect the bins. We are introducing ‘all in one recycling’ where residents can now recycle more and put it all in one bin. We are also moving over to ‘alternate week collections’. This isn’t an easy change to make. But it’s happening and being handled – on the whole – extremely well.

Waste and recycling advisors helping with the changes to bin collections
Waste and recycling advisors helping with the changes to bin collections

Best wishes

Kersten

PS, as always, for more regular updates, you can follow me on Twitter: @kersten_england

Walk To School Week 2017

17 years of success for Silsden walking bus

This week is Walk to School Week, a national campaign to get children and their parents active. The added advantage of walking to school is that it cuts down the number of cars near a school at the start and end of day. The reduction in the number of cars reduces the amount of air pollution around a school at this peak times as well as making it safer for children, particularly if they are crossing a road.

James Brass, Environment Officer for Bradford Council, met with Cath Smith, a Teaching Assistant at Aire View Infant School, to find out how their walking bus helps families in Silsden.

  • How long have you been doing the Walking Bus?
    • 17 years
  • Why did you set one up?
    • Reluctantly at first – it was a big responsibility! The Road Safety Team came to give a talk and inspired the school to set one up. I ended up leading the first walks and never looked back.
  • How many children join in and has it grown?
    • We began at Waterside (on the east side of Silsden) with around 12 children with one parent supporting. Later on, we started a Walking Bus on the west side of Silsden. Sadly we have just one Walking Bus after one of our friends, a leader passed away.
  • How do you organise the walk?
    • We set up local ‘bus stops’ picking children up at different points along the route. Parents receive a letter and sign up if they want to join with the times and days they want. When we receive new children to the school they get information about the Walking Bus at induction evenings.
  • How have you managed to keep it going?
    • Dedication and I enjoy it!
  • What do you think are the main benefits?
    • Road safety is the first priority. You’re in touch with different people. It’s quite visible in the community and people respond to you. We have supported a wide range of families. It helps children to gain their independence. including one boy with autism who has got used to the Walking Bus coming everyday. The walking bus also allows mums to get to work and saves parents time.
  • How about the children, do they enjoy it?
    • Yes, they enjoy it and we are getting new recruits. Sometimes we sing songs or do some of the maths problems from class. If the kids are quieter, we just talk. When they get a bit older they start to walk at the front and gain confidence. At one time we were helping to train guide dogs because they needed to learn how to walk with children and adults. So the children got used to walking with dogs too.
  • Have you got any advice for others setting up a walking bus?
    • Get it set up, don’t let the barriers stop you, you will enjoy it. Once it’s set up it runs itself. There’s chance to socialise and the school is open for parents to come have a cup of tea. You need some commitment and it helps being a school employee.
  • Is there anything schools can do to help parents and families set up a walking bus?
    • Contact the road safety team to get help.
  • Have there been any other activities with the Walking Bus?
    • The kids did some running to school events where they raised money for charity. They also got to try a police speed camera and were involved in setting up the 20 mile an hour zone and having a Pelican Crossing built. We did a winter campaign last year giving out bright tabards as part of a ‘be seen’ campaign.
  • Are there any other considerations if you are planning to set up a Walking Bus?
    • It’s a big responsibility, and you need to have paediatric trained.
Cyclocross championships in Peel Park, Bradford

Chief Executive’s blog – January 2017

We are already half way through January 2017. I hope it’s not too late to say Happy New Year! I hope 2017 is a great year for you, your loved ones and for the Bradford District. I intend to do everything I can to make it so!

First of all I want to thank all our staff who worked over the Christmas holiday period. Whether out gritting, refuse collecting, providing services to elderly and disabled people, or being there for individuals and families in crisis, you kept the District running. As an example of the kinds of things staff contend with, I know that we and our partners dealt with a significant spike in domestic violence incidents, which is a depressing aspect of the Christmas holiday period.

The first few weeks back have been full on – from dealing with the ripple effects of the fatal shooting on the M62, to the liquidation of the Bradford Bulls. The meeting of the Council’s Executive last week was one of the most intense and thoughtful I have been involved in. The Council Chamber was packed with residents as elected members considered the potential closure of a residential care home, changes to payments to foster carers, the potential closure of Queensbury swimming pool and the introduction of car parking charges in some of our town centres. This is what local democracy is about – taking responsibility for making difficult judgements about how the interests of the District are best served, and being prepared to be challenged in public about them. We know that there will be more meetings like this, as we work through implementation some of the tough choices that will be required in the coming year.

And in the midst of all of this there are some great things happening.

I spent much of the weekend before last in Peel Park watching the British Cycling National Cyclo-Cross Championships. It was a fantastic event and thrilling to watch as hundreds of cyclists, from teenage to over 70, careered up and down the increasingly muddy banking in the hunt for the coveted national winners’ jerseys.

I discovered that Bradford is the base for some of the brightest stars of the sport, who will undoubtedly be representing Great Britain in world championships. Thanks to our Principal Parks Manager Ian Wood and all Council staff who worked to make this event such a success – those in the know tell me that Peel Park is the best Cyclo-Cross event course in the country.

David Hockney, probably the world’s most famous living artist, and a son of Bradford, turns 80 this year. As part of the celebrations we will open a new Hockney Gallery at Cartwright Hall in July. Before that – again at Cartwright Hall – we will host items from the Royal Collection. This is a collection of extraordinary gifts given to the Prince of Wales in 1875 by over 90 rulers of the Indian sub-continent. This is the first time in 135 years that they will be collectively displayed.

Back to cycling and over the May Day bank holiday weekend the whole District will be caught up in the carnival that is the Tour de Yorkshire. The final day of racing on Sunday, 30 April begins in City Park and a large part of the route snakes its way around the District. We will be working with communities and businesses to decorate the route and get ready for a bumper holiday weekend. So plan your viewing spot and get that bunting out! Continue reading Chief Executive’s blog – January 2017

School children at the Love Bradford World Record Attempt

Chief Executive’s blog – October 2016

Our chief executive Kersten England has been writing a regular blog for staff. We thought you might like to read it too, so here is Kersten’s October blog.

This month’s blog takes a closer look at the workings of a Full Council meeting, celebrates some inspiring successes and shares a few things on the agenda for the coming weeks.

Full Council meeting, 18 October

Last week’s Full Council, on Tuesday, 18 October, was hectic! There was a huge breadth of topics covered and thoughtful debates about much of our work and what matters to people in the district.

There were petitions from residents about speeding cars in busy neighbourhoods, the proposed closure of a library and the introduction of parking charges at the St Ives estate. Councillors asked executive members questions about mental health services, parent governorship, care services, flooding, alternate week bin collections, and high speed rail services – to name but a few of the topics covered.

Motions were debated about unaccompanied asylum seeking children, smoking cessation, safer driving, proposed changes to parliamentary constituency boundaries and education priorities.

Bradford Council plan front pageCouncil also approved its priorities for the next four years, as described in the Bradford Council Plan. This is a must read! This plan will be the starting point for individual staff work plans, service delivery plans and crucially for development of our budget proposals for the next four years. The plan will direct our work.

The final item of the night saw Council approve the implementation of the changes to senior management. An elected member panel will be set up to appoint to the posts of Strategic Director – Corporate Services and Strategic Director – Place. Officer panels will be set up to appoint to the Assistant Director (AD) posts. I want to reiterate my appreciation for the sustained commitment and professionalism of staff who are directly affected by the changes we are making.

There’s been some great news since my last blog

Bingley Music Live scooped an award at the Yorkshire Gig Guide Grassroots Awards for outstanding established music festival. Congratulations team BML!

On Thursday, 15 September thousands of people, young and old, from across all the communities and organisations of the district stood in the sweltering late summer sun – and smashed the world record for the longest continuous chain of people making a heart shaped hand gesture (picture above). We are world record holders and that’s official!

The inspiration of participants on our future leaders programme, and billed as #LoveBradford, it was moving to hear the whole crowd chanting ‘we love Bradford’. For the thousand young people who took part and received a world record medal I hope it will become an ‘I was there’ moment. Our future leaders did a cracking job and learnt a huge amount about project management. Result!

The next day Bradford trended once more on social media – this time in support of our bid to host the Great Exhibition of the North. Each Friday the government department of culture media and sport (DCMS) threw the spotlight on one of the bidders to host the exhibition. The range and diversity of voices from within and outside Bradford speaking of their love of and support of Bradford was fantastic and humbling. We know we topped the popular poll! Of course we now know that Newcastle-Gateshead will be the host for the main events of the exhibition. We wish them well. We will take the energy, creativity and confidence of our bid and people’s support for it to deliver a great programme of events in Bradford in 2018.

We have just heard the fantastic news that in April 2017 Bradford will be one of the key hosts for the Tour de Yorkshire. It’s very exciting to know that we will be either a start or finish city for this prestigious three-day cycle race. The full route will be announced in December. After the warm welcome our district gave to the Tour de France Grand Depart in 2014, and the superb backdrop our Cow and Calf Rocks provided for the 2015 Tour de Yorkshire, 2017 looks set to be another vintage year for cycling in the Bradford District. I can’t wait! Continue reading Chief Executive’s blog – October 2016

We are ready to switch off our old website

In April we switched on our new website and in mid-September we will switch off our old website.

Since January we have moved over 2,000 pages from the old website to the new website. Before we started, we carried out a content audit to make sure that nothing important has been missed.

We are happy that all critical content has now been moved, so it is time to say goodbye to the old website.

What does this mean for you?

If you are already using our new website then you do not need to do anything different.

If you are still using our old website, then why not try the new one?

This is what the old website looks like:

Old website screenshot
Old Bradford Council website

And this is the new one:

New website screenshot
New Bradford Council website

If you are not sure which website you have been using, there is also a clue in the website address. If the address begins with legacy.bradford.gov.uk or www.bradford.gov.uk/bmdc
then you are still on our old website.

Linking to http://www.bradford.gov.uk

If you use links to the old website, after mid-September the links may not work. You will need to start using new links. The easiest way to find the correct new link for a page is to use the website search on our new website.

If you can’t find what you’re looking for on our new website, please use the ‘Rate this page’ form which you will find on almost every page of our website. Continue reading We are ready to switch off our old website

Enterprising Bradford

Did you know that Bradford has a £9.2 billion economy, the eighth largest in England?

As the district’s top business leaders and companies were recognised at the Bradford Means Business awards in June, and in July Bradford was named one of the top 10 places to work in the UK, we thought we’d seize the moment and share some evidence to show that Bradford really is on the up. But how has this come about and what do the key statistics tell us?

Bradford plays a key role in the regional economy, with 46,000 people commuting between Leeds and Bradford each day. This is the largest flow between any two cities in the UK. Over 40 large companies are headquartered in the Bradford district, employing 370,000 people across the UK with a combined turnover of £30 billion – impressive numbers for sure.

Economic growth since 2008 has outstripped regional and national averages and we have seen a 70% increase in foreign investment in Bradford in the last year. The district’s Job Seekers claimant rate has reduced by a significant 22% in the last 12 months, which compares very favourably to the UK average drop of 7.1%.

What has driven this growth?

The £35 million City Centre Growth Zone has played a key role, offering unique financial incentives and benefits to businesses. The result has seen a real expansion in business activity and an increase in footfall rates across the city centre with 250 businesses creating over 465 new jobs in the city centre.  Coupled with the opening of the Broadway shopping centre which is projected to attract an additional 9 million shoppers a year, this positive outlook and growth has made the city centre a very attractive proposition to both businesses and visitors. Plans are underway for further large-scale mixed use schemes and Grade A office developments with negotiations taking place with private sector partners.

Forks Cafe, Bradford
Happy staff at the successful Forks Cafe!

We went to the heart of Bradford’s independent quarter to see the positive impact of Growth Zone funding on thriving business and social enterprise Forks Café. We spoke to Jon Royle, Chief Executive of the Bridge Project which owns Forks Café who explained, “Since we opened Forks Café we’ve had a fantastic reception from the public and local business community. We usually appear in the top 10 Bradford restaurants on Trip Advisor and we’ve provided dozens of our beneficiaries with structured work experience, many of whom have gone on to find full time jobs. Without the support of the Growth Zone none of this would have been possible. Thanks to the investment from Bradford Council we’ve opened a popular business that achieves important social outcomes.” Continue reading Enterprising Bradford

Find free local Wi-Fi and Pokémon GO locations with the Bradford Council app

In the latest update to the Bradford Council mobile app, we have added all our public free Wi-Fi points and local Pokémon GO locations to the map.

You won’t need to download an updated version of the app from the App Store to see these new locations. You will just need to make sure the content of your app is up-to-date. If you are using the app over Wi-Fi, the content will regularly update automatically. If you are using your mobile data, you may need to update the content manually. Simply tap on the updates menu along the bottom of the app, and then tap the downward arrow next to each item to download the updates.

App update cotent
How to update content in the Bradford Council app

Once your app content is up-to-date, you will see new location categories for free public Wi-Fi, Pokémon GO Gyms and Pokémon GO PokéStops. Just tap on the Locations tile on the app homepage and you will see all the location categories.

Location categories on Bradford Council app

Find Bradford Council’s free public Wi-Fi points

Now you will be able to easily use our app to find our free Wi-Fi in the Bradford district. You can browse a list of our public Wi-Fi points, or view them all pinned on the map. If you enter a search term, both the list and the area map will be filtered to match your search.

So, now when you are out and about and don’t have access to mobile data, you can easily find our nearest free Wi-Fi point whether you are working or playing. Speaking of playing… Continue reading Find free local Wi-Fi and Pokémon GO locations with the Bradford Council app

Help us improve our What’s On guide

We are about to start working on a replacement for our events website. We have a list of improvements we want to make, but we would like to know if you have any suggestions to help it work better for you.

Have you used our online What’s On guide to find local events? Have you used it to submit your own local events to the guide? If so, we would like to know if you have a wish list of ways you think it could work better.

Some of the things that we already have on our list of improvements are:

  • Make it mobile friendly so it works as well on your phone as it does on your PC
  • Better filtering, so you can filter by more than one criteria
  • Improved sharing options to make it easier for you to share events with friends

If you want to have a look at our current What’s On website before giving us your ideas, you can find it at www.bradford.gov.uk/events.

There are several ways you can send us your suggested improvements for the What’s On guide. From this page you can send us a private message using the contact form below or leave a public comment at the bottom of the page. Alternatively you can tweet@bradfordmdc or contact us on Facebook with your ideas.

Bridging the gap between coursework and reality – Tosin’s work experience blog

From 16 to 22 May it’s Learning at Work Week. In this guest blog, Tosin Akomolafe, placement student in the Council’s HR department, tells us about what she learnt during her placement here, part of her Master’s degree in Public Administration at the University of Bradford. Over to Tosin…

My name is Oluwatosin Akomolafe. I go by the short version of my name – Tosin. I am a Nigerian lady who enjoys photography, discussing politics, travelling and learning new things. I moved to England last year for my Master’s degree in Public Administration at the University of Bradford.

First day in Bradford and the UK September 2015
Tosin on her first day in Bradford, September 2015

I recently finished a placement at the Human Resources (HR) Department of the Bradford Council and here is a brief overview of my experience. This placement has afforded me opportunities to learn beyond the classroom and fulfil my desire for a practical experience in the public sector.

One of the reasons I chose the University of Bradford for my Master’s degree was the learning approach and opportunity for placement, which is rare for a one-year master’s degree in other universities. The module is called professional practice.

Since my first semester at the University, I had been looking forward to the professional practice or placement. On being accepted for placement at the HR department of Bradford Council, I became anxious because my mind was raising all sorts of reasons why it may not work out. However, on talking with Elaine Mallinson, an apprentice officer, my anxiety was reduced. She was so helpful. She told me about what they do in the department, different units and how my time would involve learning from different teams, shadowing and attending meetings.

Continue reading Bridging the gap between coursework and reality – Tosin’s work experience blog

Making our new website live

Today we have made our new website live at www.bradford.gov.uk.

We launched the beta version of our website on Monday, 29 February 2016. Since then almost 2,000 people have visited the website, and many of those visitors have sent us very useful feedback about the website’s design and information.

What information is on the new website?

We have moved our most used information and online forms onto our new website. This makes up almost 50% of the content that we know needs moving. We’ll be moving the rest in the coming months. While reviewing our content we have also taken the opportunity to work with Council departments to rewrite web pages in plain English.

The information that we haven’t moved yet is still available on our old website at http://legacy.bradford.gov.uk.

What to do if you can’t find what you’re looking for

If you haven’t found what you want on our new website, it is possible that we haven’t yet moved that content from our old website. Please try the website search. We’ve added a link to the bottom of the search results on our new website so that you can search our old site for the information.

Can't find what you want on our new website? Search our old site.
Can’t find what you want on our new website? Search our old site.

Will there be broken links?

The way our new website makes web page addresses (known as URLs) is different to the way our old website worked. Every page on our new website has a different URL to the corresponding page on the old site. This means that all existing links to, or between, pages on our old website have now changed. Continue reading Making our new website live