Bradford authorities are now planning to beef up its safety checks on taxis by requiring vehicle safety records for each car, after it found two in five cabs failed crucial safety checks.
Under the changes, drivers taking their cars in for their regular mandatory checks at Bradford Council’s taxi testing office in Shearbridge would also be hit with larger penalties if they fail.
Cabbies would be suspended, as well as being charged the existing £100 fee, if their vehicles are found to have two or more dangerous defects.
The fee for one serious defect would increase from £20 to £100 and the fee for five or more minor defects would rise from £20 to £75.
At the district’s taxi and private hire testing facility a light has been shone on some of the horrors their staff have discovered over the years.
From a broken seatbelt poorly sewn back together to vital car parts missing all together and tyres worn through to the canvas.
Councillor Sarah Ferriby, who oversees licensing at Bradford Council has said that a 40% failure rate is too much:
“This is all about ensuring safety and increasing standards, and making sure that regular maintenance is done so that everyone is safe.”
Other changes proposed by the council are that drivers would be forced to display a window sticker telling people what to do if they have concerns about child sexual exploitation.
The report says that displaying stickers had been optional until now, but “whilst a number of operators supported the initiative, take up was very low”.
And operators would also be forced to conduct background checks before hiring office staff, with the report saying if information like people’s home addresses or holiday dates “were to fall into the wrong hands, this would pose a potential risk.”
Inspectors have praised organisations across the Bradford District, including Bradford Council, the police, probation and health services for the way in which they work together to protect children living with domestic abuse.
The independent inspection, published on the GOV.UK website, made a special note of the fact that all of the agencies in Bradford have high aspirations for Bradford children and that leaders and managers are delivering ‘very effective' services and ‘getting the basics right’.
Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, said: “The recognition in this report from four national inspectorates, including Ofsted, that Bradford has high aspirations for its children is very positive news for our district and something for which we should all be very proud. We will build on this work but we must remain vigilant when it comes to protecting Bradford’s children.”
Leader of Bradford Council Susan Hinchcliffe
Inspectors looked at how organisations work together to respond to abuse and neglect across the Bradford District. It included a special focus on how organisations respond to children living with domestic abuse.
Michael Jameson, Bradford Council’s strategic director of children’s services, said: “This was a very thorough examination of part of our district’s safeguarding service which recognises the innovative work we are developing for children and parents. We know there is still much more to do, but this report shows that we are ‘getting the basics right’ and going in the right direction.”
Councillor Val Slater, Bradford Council’s deputy leader and portfolio holder for health and wellbeing, said: “The inspectors recognise the challenges that our different agencies face and the robust measures we are putting in place to tackle them. We can never be complacent about safeguarding, but this thorough inspection recognises the good work we are doing.”
Damien Miller, West Yorkshire Police’s superintendent for safeguarding partnerships, said: “We welcome the inspection report and are pleased that our partnership work to protect children living with domestic abuse has been recognised positively. We are pleased that the inspection has seen the hard work, which is resulting in our timely and effective responses to tackle domestic abuse, as well as our prompt and effective information sharing.”
Nancy O’Neill, director of collaboration for the district’s clinical commissioning groups, said: “We are pleased that the report recognises the many examples where effective partnership work in Bradford has resulted in timely and good quality support to local children and their families, ultimately reducing the risk of harm. We look forward to developing the partnership, using the findings of the inspection to further improve our support to children and young people living with domestic violence.”
Findings of the report
Across partners there is commitment to continual improvement to offer a wide range of high quality services to meet the diverse needs of children and families.
Both the lead member and the Chief Executive of Bradford Council are very well informed about the diverse needs of children in Bradford and the quality of services to children in need of help and protection.
Children and parents who experience domestic abuse have access to a wide range of services to meet differing needs.
Leadership within children’s social care is effective and senior managers are creating a healthy environment in Bradford for effective social work to flourish.
The Strategic Director of Children’s Services is focused on ‘getting the basics right’ in social work practice but also in innovating and using external sources of funding and expertise to drive new developments and approaches to providing effective support to children and young people.
There are very effective multi-agency arrangements within the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).
Social workers are well supported to enable them to work effectively with families. Caseloads are manageable and workers receive regular supervision.
ASTUTE: Saira Ali Team Leader for Landscape, Design and Conservation at Bradford Council
Million dollar woman: Landscape architect secures a further £2M for Bradford
Yes, she’s a woman, yes she’s an architect and yes she’s a proud Bradfordian.
Team Leader of Landscape, Design and Conservation for Bradford Council, Saira Ali, has secured the first steps towards £2million in National Lottery funding for its City Centre Conservation Area.
Saira’s passion for regeneration and conservation has been spilling over for 14-years by her securing millions of pounds of funding during her time at Bradford Council.
Now, she’s been heavily involved in securing £2million to breathe life into the area centred around Rawson Place, Darley Street, James Street and North Parade.
The funding, which was awarded through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s (HLF) Townscape Heritage (TH) programme will be used to make improvements to the ‘Top of Town’ area also known as the Bradford Independent Quarter.
It is a distinct part of the city centre, characterised by small shops and fledgeling independent businesses and is an area made up of mostly 19th-century buildings of high architectural quality.
Saira worked extensively with property and business owners to produce the bid, and the continuation of these key partnerships will remain a vital part of the success of the project.
“For me, Bradford is where I was brought up, where I went to school, where I work and what I call ‘my home’” says Saira.
“For me, it's about conserving and promoting the rich heritage the city has to offer; and now these are exciting times for Bradford.”
The announcement by HLF is part of £17million of National Lottery investment to help revitalise ten conservation areas across the UK. The funding for Bradford is the only one granted in Yorkshire in this round of funding.
The vision for this area is to continue to grow a thriving and well-connected quarter with a vibrant day and night economy, with high quality independent shops, bars and restaurants. The reuse of the upper floors for offices and residential accommodation will breathe new life into these historic buildings.
REGENERATION: Landscape architect Saira Ali with Julian Jackson - Assistant Director, Planning, Transportation and Highways
The award includes initial funding of £61k to develop a more detailed proposal to secure the full award in the next 12 months.
The funding will be enhanced with a further £250,000 from Bradford Council, with additional investment from property owners and businesses.
An important part of this project will focus on education and skills initiatives. This will see partnerships forming with key primary, secondary, higher and further education institutes to teach local children and young people the importance of heritage and the craftsmanship involved in preserving historic assets.
Local communities and businesses will continue to be consulted on the progress of the project which aims to promote and regenerate the area bringing back into use vacant or underused historic buildings, enhancing historic buildings, improving connectivity in the town centre and public realm works.
Working on numerous projects over the years, Saira says her favourites are: Broadway public realm scheme; Kirkgate public realm; Public realm improvements along key Gateways and Corridors in the city; Securing funding for many community-led schemes across the district in Manningham, Great Horton, Cottingley, Barkerend, etc.; Tour de France and Tour de Yorkshire.
Talking about her recent £2million bid, Saira says: “It was a great opportunity to create a piece of work where we could deliver a project of heritage capital works, improving the aesthetics of the buildings and help them remain fit for purpose.
“These buildings will become the springboard for a programme of exciting activities, which allow people of all ages to be excited and learn and become engaged with their local heritage and the history of the area.”
Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport said: “The heritage led regeneration of the ‘Top of Town’ through the reuse of historic buildings will protect links to the past and help secure their future.
“This project provides a unique opportunity to restore Bradford’s fabric and promote engagement, learning and skills.
“Forming part of a wider programme of targeted heritage activity, this scheme complements recent and on-going activity within Bradford city centre and promotes connectivity between key destinations.
"The scheme will help deliver regeneration and draw in investment, drive the economic development of the city centre with new job opportunities and restore civic pride in this area.”
Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “We’ve been investing money raised through the National Lottery in the UK’s historic conservation areas for more than 20-years and we’ve seen first-hand the incredible difference it has made to local communities. This project in particular has the potential to have a powerful effect not only on local pride but also on local economic prosperity in Bradford.”
Parents and carers of children in the Bradford district who are set to start primary school in September this year are being reminded to apply for a school place this week.
People whose children were born between 1 September 2012 and 31 August 2013 have until midnight on Sunday 15 January to submit their application for their child’s primary school place.
Bradford Council has written to all parents whose children are on their database with information on how to apply online. Parents and carers can log onto the online system, register their details and make their child’s application. They will not require any further information to apply online but may need to send the local authority address proof or additional information if they have recently moved house.
Applying online is safe and makes the application quicker and easier. All parents who applied online will be emailed about their child’s place on the national offer day on 16 April.
To make the application process as simple as possible and give parents and carers the best chance of sending their child to a preferred school, Bradford Council is suggesting five key steps to take:
1. Make sure you check the criteria that your preferred schools set for admissions. You can do this by visiting each schools website or reading the Guide for Parents, available online at www.bradford.gov.uk/admissions
2. Read the guidelines set out in the Applying for Primary School booklet sent to parents in November.
3. Fully complete the on-line application form using all five preferences and fill in any required Supplementary Information Forms, by the deadline.
4. Make sure that you submit your application before the end of January 15 2017.
5. Only submit one application – do not apply online from multiple email addresses.
Coun Imran Khan Executive Member for Education, Skills and Culture, said: "Starting primary school is a big step for every family. We try to make the application process as simple as it can be. The easiest way of applying is to do so online.
“To give your child the best chance we strongly recommend parents choose five preferences. If you only apply for one school, you will only be considered for that school and will be wasting the opportunity to be considered for any others if that one is full.
“Its also important that parents check out the admissions criteria of the schools they are applying for so that they understand their child’s chances of getting a place there.”
Parents who do not have an email address and are unable to apply online can contact Bradford Council’s Admissions Team on 01274 439200. If parents have an email address but are experiencing issues, they can contact the team to make an online application at Margaret McMillan Tower with an officer.
Applications after the deadline will have to be made on a paper form as the online system will be closed.
If parents and carers have any queries, they can visit the Council’s website www.bradford.gov.uk/admissions or contact the Admissions Team in the following ways:
PROUD MOMENT: Mohammed with his family; Atheeqa, 18, Ruaqayyah, 14 and Haroon, 11
A Bradford Council worker has visited the capital this week for a meeting with the Queen, after being awarded an MBE for his outstanding work in dementia.
Batley-born Mohammed Akhlak Rauf, 44, who now lives and works in Bradford, was personally thanked by Her Majesty the Queen on 5th November.
A single dad with three children - Atheeqa 18, Ruqayyah 14 and son Haroon 11 – his own mother and father came to the UK from Kashmir, Pakistan in 1960’s.
Mohammed said: “Education was always important to them and they pushed for me to study and work hard.”
A personal reason led Mohammed to work in this particular sphere, as his own grandma died from dementia at a time when no-one diagnosed it for his family.
“I wanted to ensure other families were not left in the same situation,” Mohammed added.
INCREDIBLE ACHIEVEMENT: Mohammed Rauf, from Bradford, has been recognised for his tireless work in dementia
After setting up the Meri Yaadain Dementia Team in 2006, Mohammed has been overseeing its day-to-day operations ever since.
Translated to ‘My Memories’, Meri Yaadain was set up to raise awareness of dementia amongst South Asian families, so that people living with the condition, and their carers, could live better informed lives and make informed choices.
This pioneering work has been recognised on a national scale, scooping a number of awards, with Mohammed helping to replicate similar projects in a number of other cities.
Despite his success to date, Mohammed admits that he is always learning.
“I am studying part-time for a PhD at the Dementia Doctoral Training Centre at the University of Bradford whilst juggling my job at the council,” he said.
“My studies are researching how South Asian carers manage the transitions of care when looking after someone with dementia. My Phd is also supported by a carer or ‘Expert by Experience’, called Shahid Mohammed, from Rochdale.”
The Meri Yaadain team provide information and support to people who are at risk of dementia, as well as those who have had a diagnosis. It also helps people in the general community to understand what dementia is.
Mohammed says there are still stigmas associated with mental ill health issues and therefore runs workshops and a monthly support group, as well as a website and a Twitter account to reach out to younger people.
His charity’s internet blog is the latest addition to raising awareness through information.
To receive an MBE for all of his efforts was something ‘extra special’ and ‘unexpected’.
“My MBE honour is for ‘Services to people with dementia and their carers,” Mohammed said.
“It is humbling because I like to think that we do what we do because that is what should be done – but to be recognised in this way and to be thanked by Her Majesty the Queen is the icing on the cake for the work that I and colleagues have been doing over the last almost 11 years.”
Mohammed now tries to work with other regional and national players in the field of dementia to make sure that Black and Minority Ethnic Communities are not forgotten about when talking about dementia.
“I am working towards connecting the work I do for Meri Yaadain and my academic research so that we can move it from a local initiative to a national one.
“In future, I hope inequalities can be challenged by creating both equity and equality for all our communities.
“I would like to thank Bradford Council for giving me the ‘freedom’ to get Meri Yaadain to a level where the work has earned me an MBE but in particularly I accept it in the name of all the carers and the people with Dementia that I and my colleagues have worked with over the years.”
A decision made by Bradford Council last week has granted one of the city’s top shopping destinations planning permission to operate in extended hours.
SHOPPING: Bradford Bazaar owner and director, Jasvinder Singh (left), and general manager, Adrian Patrick (below left), were thrilled to receive permission to increase trading hours
Bradford Bazaar had previously had restrictions placed on Sunday openings due to possible disruption to local residents, but following consultation with all concerned parties, an agreement was reached which was amenable to everyone.
The new ruling will allow the premises to stay open until 8pm every Sunday and Bank holiday, and until 10pm on the two days preceding each Eid.
Bradford Bazaar owner and director, Jasvinder Singh, said: “I am delighted that the Bazaar can now open longer on what is our busiest day of the week.
“It was painful to watch customers turning away on a Sunday because we had to put the shutters down but now that will soon become a distant memory”.
General Manager, Adrian Patrick, says he now wants to focus on the future of the site which he says is looking brighter every day.
“We are in a good place strategically with our range of products, our location and our service proposition,” he said. “Our reputation is growing rapidly as the foremost Asian bazaar in the North of England”
Bradford Bazaar which was the brain child of Jasvinder Singh has recently celebrated its second anniversary.
From relatively small beginnings it has grown in both stature and size, doubling the number of units to just over 100 and opening five days a week.