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We have received a timetable for the Mobile Library and this can be seen on the new page in the Village section.
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.
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
Consumer Scam, News and Information AlertsWe use the consumer alert system to provide you with the latest news on scams, Trading Standards issues and other relevant information.
The most recent alerts appear on this page.
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News Alert – National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC) Ltd advice on the removal of moss - 26 September 2012The National Federation of Roofing Contractors Ltd has issued an article giving advice about removal of moss on your roof. Click link for details:
Scam Alert – Popup Scam – 26 September 2012
Norfolk Trading Standards are warning residents to be cautious about a popup received that blocks your screen. The message is allegedly from the metropolitan police claiming they have put a block on your computer for looking at illegal material. The message asks for a payment of £100 to unblock your computer
The Police or other agencies would not contact people in this manner or ask for money.
If you receive a scam like this you can report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via their online fraud reporting tool or to Citizens Advice consumer helpline via their online reporting form
Scam Alert – Supermarket Email Scam – 14 September 2012Norfolk Trading Standards have been made aware of an email in circulation claiming to be from a number of major supermarkets.
The email states that they are collaborating to offer customers an all-in-one shopping voucher giving £15 off. Recipients are instructed to click a link in the email to read more information and download the voucher for printing. A second link in the message supposedly allows recipients to opt out of receiving further such marketing emails.
Trading Standards advises that you do not open the message or click on any links in the text as this will download a virus to your machine.
The message is not a legitimate offer and is not associated with any of the companies named.
The full text of the email can be seen on the Action Fraud Website
If you receive this email delete it without opening it and do not forward the message on.
You can now also receive our alerts, news and information via our Facebook page. Visit www.facebook.com/norfolktradingstandards and ‘Like’ us.
Scam Alert – Emails offering Loans – 12 September 2012Norfolk Trading Standards are warning consumers not to respond to unsolicited emails offering loans.
Trading Standards have been forwarded examples of email stating loans can be arranged if the consumer replies with personal details. The emails carry no details about the sender making the offer.
It is likely that these are scam emails looking to gather personal details or could even be unlicensed lenders.
Remember that no legitimate finance company will send emails offering to make loans without details of the sender. Also be very wary of any request for an up-front administration or brokerage fee to arrange loans.
If you receive one of these emails you can report it to Action Fraud via their online fraud reporting tool or to Citizens Advice consumer helpline via their online reporting form
12 September 2012
A new service aimed at supporting older people living in their own homes to maintain their independence has launched in Norfolk.
The community outreach service for older people launched last week and supports vulnerable people who live in their own homes but might need some extra help to live full and active lives in their communities.
The support service, which is free to use for up to two years, has been created and funded by Norfolk County Council and aims to reach more than 1,000 people in its first year. It will see trained staff or volunteers visiting older people's homes and providing them with help and advice on areas which can become challenging in older age. These could include personal safety and security, managing finances, using health or legal services, social or community activities, making adaptations to their home and measures to reduce the risk of falls at home.
Shelagh Gurney, Cabinet Member for Adult and Community Services at Norfolk County Council, said: “This is an innovative new service that I believe will make a big difference to many older people's lives and help them to retain their independence in a meaningful way.
“We know that more older people want to be supported to live in their own homes, and wherever it's possible and safe we want to help them do this. This service will provide support that is tailored to each person's needs and so will make the biggest impact on their quality of life, and help them live independently for longer than they otherwise might.
“As part of the outreach service, people will be able to get help through difficult periods and to adjust after life transitions including bereavement or after spells of ill health. The service will also help reduce social isolation, ensure people are receiving all the assistance and benefits to which they're entitled and help to make sure their home is warm, safe and in a good state of repair. If and when people need more care or their current home is no longer suitable, the outreach service workers will also be able to help manage this long before it reaches crisis point.”
The community outreach service is being provided by Cotman Housing Association in Norwich, by Great Yarmouth Borough Council in Great Yarmouth, and by the British Red Cross in the rest of Norfolk.
Peter McGuinness, Red Cross project manager, said; “We have been running volunteer-led social care services in Norfolk for a long time, and we know what a difference our visits can make to older people who are getting back to normal after a setback. It's great to have this opportunity to work with the council to reach people at the point when they begin to feel vulnerable. The support given by our volunteers at vulnerable moments will help to prevent crisis and keep people independent.”
Cllr Penny Linden, Cabinet Member for Communities at Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: “Supporting older people in our community is one of the top priorities of the council and the fact that winning this contract increases the amount of money that we have to do this means we can help far more older people - its great news!”
Vivien Farrow, Managing Director at Cotman Housing Association, said: “We are delighted to have won this contract as it will allow us to deliver much needed support to older people throughout the city and those living on the outskirts. We are also proud of the facilities at our sheltered schemes, and believe these should be accessible to other older people living nearby.”
If you think you or someone you know might benefit from the Older People Outreach Service, please contact:
* In north, south and west Norfolk: British Red Cross by ringing 0844 893 7779 or emailing email@example.com . Visit www.redcross.org.uk/supportnorfolk for more information.
* In Norwich: Cotman Housing Association by ringing 01603 731699 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org . Visit www.cotman-housing.org.uk for more information.
* In Great Yarmouth: Great Yarmouth Borough Council by ringing 01493 846655 or emailing email@example.com . Visit www.great-yarmouth.gov.uk for more information.