We welcome Keith as the Parish Liaison Officer.
PCSO Phil Berkeley is no longer based at Wells and has moved on to sunnier climes at Cromer. We now have with us PCSO Keith Clarke, who brings with him several years of experience in Fakenham and Skegness.
We welcome Keith as the Parish Liaison Officer.
Marie Strong and Norman Lamb expect to be canvassing in Langham on Friday 12th April.
Scam Alert – Email claiming you have a ‘confidential document’ waiting online – 22 March 2013Norfolk Trading Standards are warning about an email circulating claiming that you have a ‘confidential document’ available to you through Google Docs and to access it you need to ‘sign into your Google account’ using a link in the email.
The link in the email doesn't go to Google, it goes to a fake login page and it is phishing email attempting to gather login details which could be used for other fraudulent activities.
Trading Standards advises not to act on or respond to unsolicited emails and if you receive this message delete it.
If you receive an email which you believe to be a scam you can report it to Action Fraud via their online fraud reporting tool or to Citizens Advice consumer helpline via their online reporting form.
For advice on protecting yourself from phishing scams you can watch a short advice film on the Get Safe Online website.
Your Norfolk is now available on line, click here.
The magazine will not be sent out to residents in future so watch out for further issues here.
County Council’s Cabinet approves extra spending to strengthen support for older people in Norfolk
28 January 2013
Norfolk County Council’s Cabinet has approved £5 million of extra spending over the next five years to target more support for the county’s growing number of older and vulnerable residents.
The funding, which was agreed at a meeting of the council’s Cabinet this morning (Monday 28 January), will see a ‘Strong and Well’ partnership created, with representatives from Norfolk’s voluntary, housing, health and business sectors working with the County Council to strengthen the support available to older people with emerging social care needs.
Promoting prevention and earlier intervention, whilst at the same time meeting the rising need for care services, is at the heart of the £5m in funding. Norfolk County Council believes that building capacity in communities is no longer just desirable, but essential to the future of public services. The Council aims to inform people who are over the age of 75 about what action they can take for themselves as well as what expectations might be reasonable for communities and community groups to have in order to build resilience.
Central to this extra support will be a new ‘face-to-face’ service that will see home visits by volunteers who will be trained in supporting older people. The Strong and Well Volunteers will inform older people about services and local social opportunities that are available to them, as well as support them to use technology that could benefit them, including the internet.
The 2011 census revealed that 10% of all residents in Norfolk are over 75. According to the Royal College of Physicians people aged 75 are at a greater risk of having a fall, and figures also show that over 75’s represent a significant group in emergency admissions in Norfolk.
Shelagh Gurney, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Services, said: “This funding is fantastic news and will make a huge difference to older people and vulnerable people in the county by providing extra support and enabling communities to help themselves.
“Due to Norfolk’s growing aging population it is inevitable that age-driven demand for care services is going to increase. This will certainly impact on how much of the County Council’s budget is spent on older people. However, this money will allow people to maintain their independence for as long as possible ultimately improving individual well-being, encourage communities to help each other, as well as prevent people from prematurely entering the social care system.”
The Strong and Well partnership will take a proactive approach to encourage individual action as well as community action and recognises that older people do not always access services and social opportunities which are available to them.
Strong and Well will link people to community events, social activities and skills sharing such as intergenerational projects in schools and activities in libraries.
The Strong and Well Volunteers will be able to access a range of interventions as well as help put people in touch with different services, such as: - welfare benefit advice, respite care, fire safety checks and advice, befrienders, carers support and luncheon clubs.
County Council recovers stolen funds for high school
25 January 2013
Over £54,000 has been recovered for a Norfolk high school by Norfolk County Council officers at the end of a dogged four-year pursuit of money stolen by a dishonest school business manager.
The case, which has national implications for the recovery of funds from the Local Government Pension Scheme, followed the conviction in 2008 of Mrs Julie Balls, Downham Market High School's former business manager, who admitted stealing £85,000 from school funds between 1999 and 2006. She was jailed for 18 months.
At the time Norfolk County Council pledged to do everything possible to recover the stolen money for the school. Over £12,000 was paid back from the sale of Mrs Balls' property after Norfolk Constabulary took action under the Criminal Justice Act, the forerunner to the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA), but with a significant amount still outstanding, the small team in Norfolk County Council's finance department decided to explore other avenues - including the possibility of reclaiming money from Julie Balls' pension pot held in the Norfolk Pension Fund (a Local Government Pension Scheme fund).
" Our Insurers suggested that changes in the local government pension scheme regulations made in 2008 meant that recovering money from Julie Balls' pension pot might be possible," said Adrian Thompson, Chief Internal Auditor at Norfolk County Council.
"An immediate problem was that we had no precedent - it's not something that has been pursued in this way before by the Council . With no previous cases to guide us and little experience in the field of fund recovery, it's fair to say we went forward cautiously. We had to keep within the time limitations in law for bringing a case, and the action already taken by the police under POCA helped us," said Mr Thompson.
The painstaking work resulted in a case being brought to Norwich County Court in December, with judgment (issued 7 January) ordering that, because of Julie Balls gross misconduct, £54,586 of her pension fund must be paid to the Governing Body of Downham Market High School. Costs of £4,796 were awarded to the claimants.
"It has been quite a saga, and a collective effort involving staff across Norfolk County Council, including Internal Audit, the Schools' Finance Team, NPLaw and Norfolk Pension Fund. A number of people have contributed to this success by working well beyond their normal duties," said Adrian Thompson. "It's a very satisfying result after all this time. For Downham Market High School, this will be a welcome boost for 2013, but there are also wider implications for the recovery of funds where there has been misconduct by a staff member who has funds in the local government pension scheme (LGPS). I plan to share the knowledge and methodology we have developed to help other councils with the recovery of some of the millions of pounds lost to fraud each year nationally."
Jon Ford, Headteacher at Downham Market High School, said, "The Governors and I are extremely pleased with this outcome. It is a great result for the school, its students and staff, and we are extremely grateful to Adrian Thompson and his team who simply would not give up and were prepared to try new approaches to recovering the school's money. We can now move forward and concentrate all our efforts in the areas that we should, without the distractions of this case."
Alison Thomas, Cabinet Member for Children's Services, said "The County Council is determined that crime, especially one that affects our children, should not pay. This theft deprived the school of a significant sum that should have been helping to ensure a high quality education for its pupils. I am very pleased that all the efforts put in by officers have paid off so handsomely, and that the school and its pupils will benefit from this judgment."
Harry Humphrey, Cabinet Member for Resources said, "We have zero tolerance where there are cases of fraud and theft. The County Council has worked tirelessly to support the school and to ensure that the loss is recovered. The protection of public funds is very important to us, and we are delighted that the courts have made this ruling."
Shelagh Hutson, County Councillor for Downham Market, said: “I am delighted to learn of the success in retrieving a large proportion of the sum misappropriated by a member of staff a few years ago. Punishment of offenders in cases like these should always include every effort to reclaim missing funds and I congratulate all involved in doggedly pursuing this matter to a successful conclusion. I hope this example will be a warning to others.”
Scam Alert – HM Revenue and Customs tax refund emails – 28 January 2013Norfolk Trading Standards are warning Norfolk residents to beware of emails claiming to be from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) stating you are entitled to a tax refund. These emails are not from HMRC, they are phishing scams designed to steal your personal and financial information through bogus websites. Remember HMRC will NEVER send notifications of a tax rebate by email, or ask you to disclose personal or payment information online.
More information can be found on the HMRC website
Scam Alert – Phishing emails targeting customers of Wonga – 23 January 2013Norfolk Trading Standards are warning customers of Wonga to beware of spam emails attempting to gather information that would let them access your account.
The counterfeit emails purport to be sent by "Wonga.com Support" and use the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. A link in the email takes users to a fake site, which looks similar to the genuine site. The fake site then asks users to "log-in to receive your security message", if you do it will give fraudsters valuable personal information, such as usernames, passwords and email addresses which can be used to commit crimes including identity theft and bank fraud
We advise to always be wary of any email that asks to you to follow a link and enter details as no reputable company whether bank, retailer, or financial organisation will ever send such emails.
If you have received an email which you believe to be a scam you can report it to Action Fraud via their online fraud reporting form or by calling 0300 123 2040.
Information Alert – Rogue Mobility Companies and the tactics they use – 23 January 2013A recent spate of complaints to Trading Standards Services about rogue mobility companies has prompted Trading Standards to compile a list of tricks and tactics used by companies.
Elderly residents and their carers have been warned to be on guard against rogue mobility companies.
The list includes:
Consumers should also remember that when doing business on your doorstep, there is a 7-day cooling off period. Our advice leaflet Your Guide to Buying from Home gives further information on your rights.
If you need further advice regarding this or you are worried about someone you think may have been targeted by a rogue mobility goods company you can contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 08454 04 05 06 or via their online reporting form.
Information Alert – Update: The Norfolk Hamper Company Limited – 22 January 2013
Latest Home Office statistics reveal that crime across Norfolk fell year on year by 8 percent.
The report from the Home Office for the year ending September 2012 shows there were 3,455 less crimes during the period under comparison.*
With a crime rate of 46 crimes per 1000 population, this is well below the English national average of 68 crimes per 1000 and makes Norfolk the joint safest county in England.**
Among the highlights include burglary which reduced by 19%, compared to an 8% national reduction. Burglary from a dwelling was down by 22% across the county and there was a drop of 16% for burglary other than a dwelling. Norfolk has the joint lowest rate of burglaries in England *** with only 4 offences per 1000 population.
Criminal damage reduced by 19% to 7,617 offences, compared to a national reduction of 13%, while robbery reduced by 19% to 189 offences. The year to date from 1 April 2012 to 30 November 2012 shows a robbery reduction of 34.1%.
Vehicle crime has reduced by 17% to 2,766 offences compared to a national average of 8%.
All Home Office categories saw reductions in the number of offences in 2011/12 compared to the previous year with the exceptions in violence against the person, drug offences and fraud.
Violence against the person year on year increased by 3% - a rise of 277 offences. Much of this increase is in the category of causing intentional harassment, alarm or distress and represents an increase in the activity by police to tackle violent crime and identify offenders.
Drug offences increased by 9% - a rise of 191 offences. This is classed as a ‘preventative crime’ by the force.Consequently, this rise can again be put down to police action to tackle and disrupt criminal activity to combat drug crime. Fraud and forgery increased by 11% to 768 offences. This category of crime is one of those currently ‘under-reported’ in Norfolk.
Deputy Chief Constable Simon Bailey said: “The Constabulary can rightly feel very proud of these results, alot of hard work has taken place to ensure the Constabulary continues to perform exceptionally well. The county remains a very safe place to live and with our partner agencies, we will continue to deliver a high quality service.”
Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Bett said: “Whilst the figures are somewhat historic, I am pleased to yet again welcome a positive performance by Norfolk Constabulary. I congratulate the Chief Constable and all police personnel on their contribution to making Norfolk a safe county. The challenge for me, is funding them to sufficient a level to maintain that.”
*Comparing 2010/11 to 2011/12 (1 October to 30 September) a reduction of 42,697 crimes to 39,242
**The same as North Yorkshire
*** The same as Cumbria
Message from Stephen Bett, Police & Crime Commissioner
Help scope my
Police & Crime Plan for Norfolk
As Norfolk’s Police & Crime Commissioner, I have published my first draft Police & Crime Plan for public consultation and I would like to receive comments by 16 February.
It is my job to oversee the work of the county’s police force and to provide leadership and a focus for all those involved in community safety and criminal justice. To help me do that I must prepare a Police & Crime Plan that will guide the work of all these organisations and take into consideration the needs and opinions of the people of Norfolk.
I would like to hear your views on the draft plan, before it is issued at the end of March and becomes the strategic template for policing in our county. Please view the plan and make comments here.
Following a scheduled inspection of the highway, the Highway Community Rangers are due to visit Langham during the week commencing 25 February 2013. Subject to weather conditions.
They will be carrying out the maintenance works identified by the Highway Inspector and we would welcome any additional tasks which you feel need attention while they are in the area.
Typical tasks which can be carried out by Rangers are: -
Please provide as much information as possible including the exact location and specific concerns. I would be grateful to receive your response no later than a week prior to the programmed visit. We aim to provide feedback on the work which has been carried out during the visit this will follow within a few weeks. (The report will be discussed at the LPC Meeting following receipt) At any time please feel free to contact us to discuss the Rangers scheme.
Thank you for your assistance
Environment, Transport and Development
Norfolk County Council
North Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is asking local people and communities what healthcare services they would like to see in the area.
Following on from discussions with local clinicians and other stakeholders, North Norfolk CCG has put together a strategy outlining what services it wishes to commission.
The Commissioning Strategy, including an Executive Summary, is now available for people to comment on.
North Norfolk CCG is particularly interested in finding out what local people think about the key areas outlined in the Strategy and whether anything else could be added. It would also welcome any general comments on healthcare services in the North Norfolk area.
Both documents are available to download from http://www.northnorfolkccg.nhs.uk/north-norfolk-ccg-commissioning-strategy-consultation
To obtain hard copies, please call 07796940721.
The deadline for responses to the consultation is 21st January 2013.
Norfolk Local Involvement Network (LINk)
Tel: 01603 883858
Freephone: 0800 6524158
Fax: 01603 764109