CROYDON QUITS TOBACCO HABIT
Pension funds of council employees will no longer be invested in tobacco shares following Croydon’s decision to switch to an ethical investment fund.
Announcing the move Cllr Simon Hall, cabinet member for finance and treasury, said: “The council will be getting a better investment deal as ethical funds are performing favourably against other schemes.
“Tobacco is not the low-risk, high-profit investment it once was. “This really is in the best interests of the scheme’s beneficiaries and residents, both ethically and financially.”
The decision to move the council’s pension equity investment to a different fund, which will also exclude investment in industries with links to nuclear power and arms, was made by the council’s pension committee.
Pensions committee chairman Cllr John Wentworth(Lab. Upper Norwood) said investing in tobacco was at odds with the council’s responsibility for public health.
“Having a pension fund that invests in tobacco was very much at odds with our responsibility to protect and improve public health in this borough, and there were clearly a number of concerns about the ethics of doing that.
“Ensuring that the council is a socially responsible investor was a key manifesto pledge for the administration.” (Source: Croydon council press release)
ELECTORAL REGISTRATION IS CHANGING THIS SUMMER
Letters will be going out this summer telling people about the biggest change to the electoral registration system in nearly 100 years.
It will replace the old Victorian system where the “head of household” registered everyone living in a property. Now, each individual will be responsible for registering themselves.
Most residents will automatically move onto the new electoral register. Others will need to take action to join or remain on it, which they will now also be able to do for the first time by registering quickly and easily online.
Some properties will also receive a household form. This is so that the electoral registration officer in each borough can find new people living in a borough and invite them to register individually.
FREE FRUIT FOR PUPILS?
Primary schools in Southwark have been written to asking them to implement free fruit for pupils as a morning snack from next term, cabinet member for children and schools Cllr Victoria Mills told the latest meeting of the council’ cabinet. (Source: Southwark council press release)
CROYDON CABINET MEETING IN CRYSTAL PALACE?
Five cabinet meetings a year are to be held in communities across the borough as part of the new Croydon administration’s ‘People’s town hall’ pledge.
Opening the town hall to greater community use and the webcasting of council meetings are among a range of proposals designed to make Croydon council an open and transparent organisation, says a council press release.
Council leader Cllr Tony Newman says he wants to see greater community engagement between the authority and the borough’s communities.
“We’re going to make it a real ‘people’s town hall’, and the council an organisation that genuinely engages with those it serves.”
One proposal is to hold five cabinet meetings a year in different communities across the borough.
“The new measures, some of which will require amendments to the council’s constitution, are to be considered by cabinet members keen to see improved access and more information made available to borough residents” said a council statement.
“Webcasting will be one of the key features of the drive toward openness. “Each meeting of the full council and cabinet will be viewable online at a convenient time and place for residents, rather than their being limited by the times and venues of the meetings. “The webcasts will also be available to download.
“Additionally, permitting the use of social media during meetings will enable members of the public to become citizen reporters – as long as they are not disruptive.
“In a move designed to take democracy to the people, five cabinet meetings each year will be held in different communities across the borough.
“The location of each will be determined by the issues raised by that community. “Up to three cabinet members will speak to, and take questions from, members of the community on the issues affecting it.
“The new way of working is based on a series of principles and initiatives that will also see more information in the public domain, and the creation of an adult-to-adult relationship with residents as service users and consumers.
“A formal forward plan for major decisions will be published, making residents aware of, and able to participate in, major decisions to be taken by the council’s executive.
“In addition to an increase in the time allocated for public questions at full council meetings, the structure of those meetings is to be reviewed with the aim of reducing bureaucracy and making them informative to, and inclusive of, the public.”
Cllr Newman said: “We believe the council should be open and transparent, so, as a matter of principle, we’ll be publishing our proposals before decisions are taken.
“This will give us the opportunity to work with residents and community organisations to improve the services the council offers.
“One way of achieving this is by opening up the town hall, and, to help that decision, we’ll be removing the barriers at the entrance, and improving disabled access and the signage around the building” he added. (Source: Croydon council press release)
COUNCIL BRINGS BACK FREE SWIMMING OFFER
Free swimming for under-16s is to be re-introduced at council pools across Croydon from July 21st to August 31st.
The sessions are available at the council’s pools in Purley, New Addington, Thornton Heath, South Norwood and Waddon, and are administered by Fusion Lifestyle who run the centres.
Participants must be Croydon residents and if they have not previously used the scheme they will have to complete a registration form signed by a parent or guardian, as well as paying a one-off sign-up fee of £2.
Cllr Timothy Godfrey, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, said: “Some 40,000 young people have made use of the offer in previous years, so this is clearly a popular and well-used initiative which we are very pleased to have reinstated.
“There are tremendous health benefits associated with regular swimming, and for those who want to push themselves further it is a fantastic competitive sport as well.” (Source: Croydon council press release)