Bristol City Council under fire

A survey has shown that Bristol City Council is the second highest user in the country of so-called 'gagging orders' on staff.

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800 jobs to go at Bristol City Council

Bristol City Council has announced that up to 800 jobs could go over the next three years.

It's part of efforts to bridge a £90 million funding gap following government budget cuts of around 25%.

The council says although it will have "no choice" but to reduce it's number of jobs, compulsory redundancies will be a last resort.

I think everyone knows we are facing some incredibly difficult financial decisions as a result of the severe national cutbacks to local government. For many years Bristol has been relatively fortunate in being able to find savings while providing a lot of services, but now we’re having to do what many cities have already done by looking at a larger scale of change which will inevitably mean fewer jobs at the council. This is not a pleasant process, but one which will hopefully leave us in a more realistic state to serve the city and its citizens, which is our primary purpose.

I will do all I can to limit the impact on people’s lives, both in terms of the public and our staff. Compulsory redundancies will be the last resort, but I fear they will be necessary when there is simply no other option.

– George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol

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Councillors to discuss 20mph speed in Bristol

Cabinet will meet on Thursday to discuss rolling out 20mph speed limit across Bristol. Credit: ITV News West Country

Plans for a city wide speed limit of 20 miles per hour in Bristol are being discussed by the City Council's cabinet.

Conservative Transport spokesman Mark Weston has submitted formal written objections which will be debated.

He is urging Bristol Mayor George Ferguson not to go ahead with the scheme.

PICTURES: the look of the proposed Arena:

Plans for an Arena in Bristol are back on the agenda.

Mayor Ferguson has agreed to release £250,000 of council money to look into the possibility of building it within the Enterprise Zone near to Temple Meads Railway Station.

What the new Arena could look like. Credit: Bristol City Council
Another view of the proposed Arena. Credit: Bristol City Council
An artist's impression of the area around the proposed Arena. Credit: Bristol City Council

Campaign to try and put an end to food poverty in Bristol

An attempt is being made to make Bristol the first city in the country where all surplus food gets eaten.

The campaign is being headed up by Fareshare - a charity that supplies food to food banks.

The idea is being backed by the city's Mayor and the Council.

It comes at a time when more and more people are finding it hard to make ends meet.

Watch David Woodland's report.

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Calls for end to gagging orders

Freedom of Information requests have revealed that Bristol City Council has paid off more than 120 staff with ‘gagging orders’.

The clauses – which are usually part of a severance payment - prevent staff from speaking out about their former employer after they no longer work there.

Charlotte Leslie, MP for Bristol North West, has said the practice must end as it is preventing former employees with legitimate complaints about the council to speak out.

According to reports, one former boss of the Serious Fraud Office received £462,000 and signed a confidentiality agreement.

In a survey of 256 councils in Britain, the figure for Bristol is the second highest in the country.

"We have seen the damage done by silencing whistleblowers in the NHS and now it appears scores of staff in our city council have also signed such agreements.

For too long councils have produced these gagging clauses, often with a large pay-off, effectively buying their silence forever, with tax-payers' money.

It is an absolute disgrace that Bristol is at the top of the national league table in gagging its employees from speaking out.

As Bristol City Council has been buying the silence of so many of its employees with taxpayers' money, many may wonder what it is that the Council has to hide.”

– Charlotte Leslie, MP for Bristol North West

George Ferguson says there are not enough smaller homes

George Ferguson has released this quote, saying the council will not immediately evict people affected by the new 'bedroom' tax.

An estimated 3,700 of our 28,000 households are likely to be affected by the new spare room subsidy/bedroom tax in particular. If tenants wanted to move we have nowhere near that number of smaller properties for them to swap into, meaning that coping with this change is often outside their control.

– George Ferguson, Bristol Mayor

Bristol City Council to buy new office space

100 Temple Street Credit: Bristol City Council

Bristol City Council is to spend around £18 million to buy central Bristol office accommodation at 100 Temple Street near Temple Meads. Contracts have been exchanged with current owners Aviva Investors Property Trust.

The Council says the purchase is part of the on going programme to radically improve the way it works and save money. This includes:

Reduction in office space from 53,000sq m to at most 32,000sq m. This is a reduction of 40% of office area. The Mayor has asked officers to draw up plans for further reductions:

· Consolidation of central Bristol offices primarily into City Hall and 100 Temple Street

· Long term direct revenue savings of an estimated £40 million over the following 25 years.

· The plans include a refurbished City Hall on College Green, including new public facilities.

Mayor George Ferguson said:“It makes complete sense for the council to vastly reduce the number of offices it currently owns or leases across the city, and consolidate into a few core offices.

The location of 100 Temple Street is very strategic next to Temple Meads and the planned Metrobus interchange, as well as being right at the heart of our ambitious plans for Redcliffe and the whole Enterprise Zone area."

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