BOGUS PARCEL SCAM AIMS TO CON RESIDENTS
plus: DEATH RATES FROM TOBACCO TWO TO THREE TIMES HIGHER AMONG DISADVANTAGED THAN THE BETTER-OFF – Lambeth public health report / DON’T BOTTLE IT UP – TAKE THE DRINKS TEST / CROYDON RESIDENTS TAKE UP OFFER OF ONLINE COUNCIL SERVICES / LEWISHAM SEEK PARTNER FOR COMMUNITY-LED ‘SELF BUILD’
BOGUS PARCEL SCAM AIMS TO CON RESIDENTS
A postcard informing that a package containing jewellery could not be delivered would prompt many to call the number printed on the card.
And many who called would not be put off by the fact they would have to stump up £10 to ensure delivery – even though they were expecting no such package.
The promise of a potentially valuable prize or gift, in this case jewellery, for a small fee is classic scammer’s bait.
Croydon Council’s trading standards team are warning residents to ignore any such cards, unsolicited letters or calls requesting an upfront fee.
There is evidence that such cards are now appearing in Croydon. The company named on the cards being delivered locally is LSL, but other names may be used.
The householder is directed to dial a particular number, and is then told to pay a £10 fee by credit card, after which the parcel will be delivered. The householder pays up and then waits in vain for a delivery that never arrives.
Jo Negrini, the council’s executive director, place, said: “It’s understandable that anybody receiving a card telling them that a package couldn’t be delivered would consider calling the number on the card.
“But they should be wary if they don’t remember ordering any goods, or entering any prize draw or competition, especially if they’re asked for money upfront.
“It’s better to be safe than sorry, as, once you make a payment, not only will you have lost the money, but criminals will have your credit card details.”
The advice for anybody who receives a similar delivery card, which they do not believe is genuine, is to call Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.
Alternatively, they can report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or going to www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud
If the card tells them to dial a premium rate number, they should contact PhonepayPlus on 0800 500 212, between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday, for further guidance.
For more information, visit www.actionfraud.police.uk/news/alert-we-are-holding-a-parcel-in-your-name-scam-postcards-delivered-to-residents-homes-feb15 (Source: Croydon council press release.)
DEATH RATES FROM TOBACCO TWO TO THREE TIMES HIGHER AMONG DISADVANTAGED THAN THE BETTER-OFF – Lambeth public health report
Death rates from tobacco are two to three times higher among disadvantaged social groups than among the better off, say Lambeth in their annual public health report.
Smoking is the single largest preventable cause of poor health and health inequalities in Lambeth. In Lambeth, 21.3 per cent of people smoke, similar to the national and London averages.
There is a strong link between tobacco use and those from lower socio-economic groups; as a result, smoking accounts for over half of the difference in risk of premature death between social classes.
The annual report sets out the main health inequalities in Lambeth, what lies behind them and what is needed to reduce them.
The document, the first public health report that has been produced by the joint Lambeth and Southwark public health team, highlights the many public health successes in Lambeth, such as the improvement in life expectancy and reduction in infant mortality and in teenage pregnancy.
But it also warns that there is still much work to do to reduce the health inequalities which are influenced by the borough’s social and economic conditions.
For example, although Lambeth residents live longer than they did 10 years ago and now live almost as long as the average for England, they also spend fewer years in good health than the English average.
Healthy life expectancy for men in Lambeth is 2.7 years lower than in England, and 1.5 years lower for women.
The Public Health Report sets out 14 key recommendations for changes that would cut inequalities and improve the borough’s overall state of health.
The list includes recommendations to tackle obesity and smoking rates, housing need and food poverty, and to encourage local employers to pay the London Living Wage. It also suggests that children should be helped to make healthy lifestyle choices.
Dr Ruth Wallis, Director of Public Health, said: “Southwark and Lambeth have quite similarly diverse populations and have seen great improvements in overall health over the last 50 years, but health inequalities still remain in both boroughs.
“While we can be proud of the many public health successes in Lambeth, such as the improvement in life expectancy and reduction in infant mortality and in teenage pregnancy, we still have considerable work to do to reduce health inequalities.
“Working alongside council colleagues and other partners to do this will require new ways of working, harnessing the unique potential of directly influencing many of the external factors which result in health inequalities.”
A Lambeth council spokesman said: “Good physical and mental health helps us all to make the most of our lives. “Our health and wellbeing is our most important asset.
“Key recommendations from this report reflect the widening role of public health.
“Achieving these goals requires an integrated approach to preventing poor health, making the most of the borough’s culture, leisure and sports assets to help people remain healthier for longer.
“We all have a role to play in improving our collective health and wellbeing and the challenge is to make the most of the assets we have to achieve this outcome.”
To view the Annual Public Health Report, please visit: http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/sites/default/files/ssh-lambeth-public-health-report-2014.pdf. (Source: Lambeth council press release.)
DON’T BOTTLE IT UP – TAKE THE DRINKS TEST
A new two-minute online test offers Croydon residents a simple health check on how much alcohol they are drinking.
The Don’t Bottle It Up test – which can be found at www.croydon.gov.uk/dontbottleitup – is linked to a one-stop-shop website offering confidential advice, information and support about alcohol – from binge drinking and hangovers, to getting help and cutting down generally.
The test alerts users to how risky their drinking habits may be, ranging from “lower risk” to “high risk of causing harm”. And on-the-go drinking levels can be tracked, and reduced, using the DrinkCoach app.
The recommended maximum alcohol limits are:
three to four units a day for men – that’s about a pint of strong lager or cider; and
two to three units for women, which is no more than a 250ml glass of 12% wine.
“The best way to stay healthy is to drink no more than the sensible drinking guidelines and to give your body a break by having at least two alcohol-free days every week” said a Croydon council spokesperson.
“Alcohol misuse is England’s third biggest risk factor for illness and death.
“Regularly exceeding the recommended limits is linked to health problems including some cancers, high blood pressure, liver damage and heart disease, as well as an increased risk of injury.
“It can significantly affect mental health and negatively impact the drinker’s social life.”
The Don’t Bottle It Up website has been introduced to the borough as part of the work being undertaken for the Croydon local alcohol action area (LAAA).
Led by the Home Office, the LAAA is a local partnership between the council, police, alcohol support and treatment teams, the Clinical Commissioning Group and those representing pubs and breweries, to help tackle alcohol-related problems and the damage caused to people’s health.
Croydon’s cabinet member for people and communities Cllr Louisa Woodley said: “Most people don’t know how much is too much, but we do know that alcohol misuse causes harm to individuals’ health and well-being, can affect families and also damages communities through crime and violence.
“This is why we’re taking action to promote sensible drinking habits in Croydon. “The Don’t Bottle It Up alcohol test is quick, easy and confidential.
“The entire website is for everyone, whether they’re a high-risk drinker, drink occasionally on a night out, or have a few quiet drinks at home.
“The test offers immediate personalised results, and ideas for what to do next – such as making a plan for reducing alcohol intake or finding out where to get a bit of support locally.
“As long as people manage their alcohol intake sensibly, it’s not all bad news.”
www.croydon.gov.uk/dontbottleitup (Source: Croydon council press release.)
CROYDON RESIDENTS TAKE UP OFFER OF ONLINE COUNCIL SERVICES
CROYDON RESIDENTS using the council’s ‘one-stop’ online shop have helped save £4 million – which has been re-invested in frontline services.
My Account, the council’s one stop shop for residents to access council services online, now has 75,000 users.
Available on the council’s website, My Account allows Croydon’s residents to carry out a range of transactions such as paying council tax bills, viewing their place on the housing register or ordering new bins.
Since its launch in July 2013, take up has surged, with now nearly half of Croydon households using My Account.
On average around 30,000 visitors access My Account each week, which offers residents a total of 41 council services.
My Account and the council’s smartphone app My Croydon are key parts of the council’s digital strategy to get more and more people accessing services online, making it easier and quicker for them while saving the council money.
Nathan Elvery, the council’s chief executive, said: “I want to thank our residents for responding so positively to this opportunity,
“By working with the council we have been able to improve our services and make significant savings which have been re-invested in critical frontline services.
“As a council we have put a lot of work into encouraging our residents to go digital and benefit from getting what they need at the click of a button.
“For those of our residents who aren’t yet signed up, I would like you to try this out for yourselves and take advantage of the many benefits of My Account.”
To register and access council servicesplease go to: www.croydon.gov.uk/myaccount (Source: Croydon council press release.)
LEWISHAM SEEK PARTNER FOR COMMUNITY-LED ‘SELF BUILD’
Lewisham Council are looking for a community-led partner organisation to work with residents who want to build their own homes on the site of a former school in Ladywell.
Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock has given the green light to a competitive dialogue process to select a not-for-profit consortium or organisation to deliver community-led self-build or custom build housing on the Church Grove site, Ladywell.
The site on the former Watergate School could accommodate up to 30 new homes, with an emphasis on addressing housing needs and challenges, as well as high sustainability standards.
Council officers have been working with self-build facilitators, Our London, to understand the views of interested residents, understand technical site constraints, and devise a selection process for community-led self-build enablers, which will now be launched.
The council are looking for proposals from community-led organisations, which are financially viable and deliverable, and place an emphasis on affordable housing in the long term.
The contract notice has been advertised in the Official Journal of the EU. (Source: Lewisham council press release.)