Good Faith Partnership Opportunity

Bristol is a thriving, diverse and growing city. But it can also be a fractured city, with inequalities across race, age, class and location.

As the city develops and moves forward, creativity and determination are required to make sure that nobody gets left behind. That’s why in April of this year David Barclay started a secondment from the Good Faith Partnership to the City Office as an Advisor on Inclusion.

The Good Faith Partnership is a social consultancy which works to help leaders in the worlds of faith, politics, business and charity work better together on common issues. The secondment is funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and is designed to help the Mayor and the City Council to work more strategically with others in the city to make Bristol more inclusive and integrated, with a particular focus on newcomers to the city.

The Good Faith Partnership is now looking to hire a Deputy Advisor to assist David in this work. The role will involve a range of activities, from relationship building and networking to research, project development and contributing to larger initiatives such as the Global Parliament of Mayors Summit and the One City Plan. The successful applicant will work for 3 days a week starting as soon as possible.

Further information and contact details are included in this document: Deputy Advisor on Inclusion JD

GDPR – New Data Regulation

New rules relating to how we all collect and process personal data – the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – come into effect from the 25th May 2018. GDPR aims to streamline and unify data protection laws across the EU and will replace the previous 1995 data protection directive which current UK law is based on.

GDPR is the biggest change to data protection rules in 20 years with wide ranging consequences for an organisation as large and complex as Bristol City Council. Under GDPR the council must:

  • Comply  with the enhanced rights for individual’s given to them under GDPR including the right to have data sent in machine readable format to another organisation in certain circumstances
  • Comply  with subject access requests within the reduced time frame of 30 days
  • Always use an alternative basis for processing other than consent where possible, consent can no longer be gained by the use of ‘opt outs’, an individual must now ‘opt in’ to give consent
  • Provide extra information to individuals when collecting their data in a privacy notice
  • Demonstrate compliance with data protection laws by  keeping records of our processing activities
  • Appoint a statutory  Data Protection Officers if the organisation is a public authority, or processes sensitive data or personal data on a large scale
  • Report data breaches within 72 hours to the Information Commissioner’s Office where there is a risk to the rights or freedoms of individuals

Craig Cheney, my Deputy Mayor with responsibility for Finance and Performance has set up a project to ensure our compliance and make the required changes in each service area. By the 25th of May deadline we will have to make sure the key building blocks will be in place, which includes new ways to report data breaches a review of key documentation and training for staff. I am grateful to everyone working to make sure the council is compliant, and ensures that we can protect citizen’s data.

For my part I am asking all those who are currently subscribed to this blog if they wish to continue receiving email notifications and consent to us continuing to hold contact details. If you choose to continue receiving email notifications from the Bristol Mayor blog your contact details will only be used for the purpose of keeping you informed in the way you have requested. If you do not re-subscribe before Wednesday 23 May 2018 you will no longer receive email notifications from the Bristol Mayor blog.

A new Privacy Notice has been added to my page, explaining what we do with personal information, how long we will keep it and your right to withdraw consent at any time. If you would like to stay subscribed click on the ‘Follow’ button on the bottom right hand side of the screen, input your email and follow the instructions in the confirmation email you receive afterwards.


Foster Care Fortnight

helen gtToday’s guest blog comes from my Cabinet lead for Women, Children and Families, Helen Godwin.

Bristol, and the rest of the country, is today marking the start of Foster Care Fortnight; our annual opportunity to celebrate the power of fostering to transform lives and to showcase our brilliant foster carers. One of the best parts of my role in cabinet is meeting young people and their foster carers. Bristol’s carers come from all walks of life but they have one thing in common – the desire to give our children the best possible start in life. They also tend to share an excellent sense of humour and are unbelievably supportive of each other.

The majority of Bristol’s children in care live with foster families. The impact of living in a safe, warm and caring family environment cannot be underestimated. In Bristol we have hundreds of foster carers who are looking after and supporting children and young people, giving them the best possible opportunity to flourish.  Our foster carers transform  lives and play an extraordinary role in making sure our children in care have the same opportunities for success and happiness in life as our own children do.

Bristol needs more foster carers, so that we can ensure we can place children with carers in their local community, and so that we have a wide variety of carers to match children with. We know that Bristol is a city that cares and a city that looks towards the future, so please use this Foster Care Fortnight to find out more about fostering. Our foster care recruitment team will be going on the road holding events across the city – click here to find out more. This Foster Care Fortnight could be life changing and transformative for you too!


Euro Vision

It’s Eurovision weekend and 180 million people will tune in to watch the show, including millions from the UK and, I’m sure, many Bristol citizens. Whilst the contest is not always viewed as the most serious of cultural events here, it is another demonstration of the value of international links through popular culture. Bristol has so many European links, and many in the city will be rooting for different winners. 

This year’s event is being hosted in Lisbon. Not far from there, Bristol has a twin city of Oporto, where we celebrate specific links on language, theatre, music, food and business. Along with Oporto, we have other twin city relationships with competitor countries; particularly Bordeaux in France, Tbilisi in Georgia and Hannover in Germany. Our links with Bordeaux and Hannover go back to the 1940’s and this year, we celebrated our 70 year twinning anniversaries. We also have close links with cities in Poland, who will feature in the contest, and with 165 countries of origin amongst Bristol citizens, it’s likely every competitor country will have supporters somewhere across the city.

As well as twin cities in Europe, we have partnerships with cities further afield including Puerto Morazan in Nicaragua and Beira in Mozambique. We have close links with cities in India and Somalia, Somaliland and many countries where there are trading relationships with businesses in the city and family ties. 

This Wednesday was Europe Day, and we celebrated  the day with students from Bristol and Bordeaux with an event in City Hall debating Global Citizenship. Young people in the room viewed international links between their countries, schools and universities as essential to sharing positive and vibrant culture between communities and to open up opportunities for education, jobs, sport and travel.    

Eurovision is another symbol of shared experiences across borders and we will continue to work with city businesses to grow opportunity, trade and investment for Bristol across the globe and encourage everyone to act as global citizens, sharing experiences, culture and opportunity while maintaining our status as a city of sanctuary and a city of hope.

If you’re watching, look out for Ireland – my tip for this year’s winner.


Snow Growth

Figures released today by the Office of National Statistics shows that the UK economy suffered its weakest period of GDP growth in five years. GDP growth was just 0.1% in the first quarter of 2018.

The Government blamed the snow in late February and early March for these unsettling figures – but as Frances O’Grady, the TUC general secretary, said: “It’s the avalanche of cuts that has done the long-term damage.”

It will be interesting to keep watch on the growth figures and question the government’s austerity policies. For a long time Labour has been calling for the re-investment in our cities and national infrastructure to stimulate inclusive growth, and blaming the snow is not an excuse.

In fact today I was able to visit the council’s hardworking Housing Management Team who worked extremely hard to keep things running during the bout of snow we had in March.

The team deliver the day to day repairs to approximately 27,000 tenants, structural repairs to approximately 1,500 leasehold and refurbishment to empty homes. They also carry out planned programmes of work gas servicing, fire safety etc. Our workforce is multi trade, working on electrical, gas, plumbing, general trades & carpentry.

I heard that Gas Section, Response Repairs changed their focus from business as usual to boiler breakdown repairs caused by the severe weather. They had to deal with over 600 breakdowns – the vast majority being dealt with within 12 hours in deteriorating weather and road conditions.

Scheduling staff worked around the clock to identify and contact the vulnerable tenants and prioritise their repair and 10 Engineers volunteered to work on Sunday to reduce the backlog. With the dedication and commitment shown by the scheduling staff in Sandy Park and the can do attitude of the Gas Engineers and Plumbers we dealt with all the breakdowns caused by the severe weather in 5 days.

On the Friday the response repairs operatives who couldn’t drive to work cleared snow from the paths and gritting them afterwards. The operatives were greeted by our older tenants with hot drinks, encouragement and thanks.  This back up snow plan meant operatives were able to directly contribute to the safety of our citizens and demonstrate our continued commitment to its citizens.

In total, 39 sites were cleared and gritted on Thursday and 21 sites were cleared and gritted on Friday. The operatives come from a variety of trade backgrounds and very quickly turned their hand to the task in hand.

I am grateful for the commitment and hard work during the recent severe weather. I want to thank everyone who contributed in some way to making sure that people were kept safe and helped vital services to carry on despite the disruption.


Taxi Conference

Today we held our second annual taxi conference in City Hall. The conference is an opportunity to talk with the trade about the city’s transport challenges, the taxi trade and how we work together to build an inclusive, sustainable Bristol.

It was great to see so many representatives from the private hire and hackney carriage sections. As part of the day’s agenda, Chair of Public Safety and Protection Committee Fi Hance gave an update, and Cabinet member for Transport and Connectivity Mhairi Threlfall talked about the vital role the trade plays in our transport strategy and the long term plans for the city.

20180416_105102I thanked drivers for the support they’ve given us in our work to improve the city’s air quality. Many in the hackney carriage trade have responded positively. We acknowledge there is a cost involved of changing hackney carriages in accordance with the Euro 6 policy. As an administration, we are keen to hold this challenge alongside our recognition that taxi drivers are small businesses and will need support to transition to cleaner vehicles. Therefore I was pleased Mhairi announced the news on the Defra funding secured under the Hackney Carriage ULEV Incentive Scheme: A package of incentives offered to Hackney Carriage proprietors for purchasing electric vehicles.

Drivers also wanted to talk about taxi rank space and the work being done to rationalise all the local stands, the Temple Meads approach and licensing. The city centre framework is out for consultation and I asked those present to make sure they made their views known.

20180416_105705We also must tackle out of town licensing and cross border hiring. Due to the current legal framework we find ourselves unable to address directly. Over the last six months TfL has been working with licensing authorities and stakeholder groups across England to understand the individual challenges facing each authority and how a solution may be developed to respond to these challenges and have made a series of recommendations. Bristol’s Taxi drivers supported these proposals for change. I wrote to Nusrat Ghani MP, the Under Secretary of State for Transport in March to express support as the report highlighted many of the issues raised by the taxi trade in Bristol.

My key message for the trade is that we are listening – there are plenty of opportunities to feed into consultations but I encourage everyone in the room to take this opportunity to listen and share.


Coming Together to Support Care Leavers

Today’s guest blog comes from Cabinet Member for Women, Children and Families, Helen Godwin.

helen gtIt was great to bring three reports to cabinet last week, each of them focussing on our role as corporate parents and how we better support children in care and care leavers.

During Bristol City Council’s last OFSTED report in 2014, serious concerns were raised about the outcomes for care leavers in the city. Since then, the council has been working hard to improve our Care Leaver Offer to ensure that young people have a good chance to live independently, access employment or training and to contribute to the city.

However, the story is not as positive as we would like. Despite some amazing success stories in Bristol – we have a number of care leavers in higher education and incredible care leaver apprentices making a difference in the council and for the city – there are some hard to digest statistics around leaving care. Care leavers are over represented in the criminal justice system and in mental health services, too many homeless young people grew up in care and substance abuse is prevalent.

For me the most shocking fact is the 1 in 6 care leavers will not live to the age of 30.

In 2018. In the UK.

It is heart-breaking and unacceptable.

Last week I brought two reports to Cabinet which will make a tangible difference to care leavers in Bristol. Having worked closely with Cllr Craig Cheney, we have announced that from 1 April 2018 all care leavers up to the age of 25 in Bristol will be exempt from Council Tax. This follows on from the Children’s Society ‘Wolf at the Door’ report which demonstrates that council tax debt can be a particularly frightening experience for care leavers. What can start out for many care leavers as falling slightly behind can very quickly escalate to a court summons and enforcement action being taken. We want to protect and support our care leavers as an authority, and help them towards independence and hope that this measure will allow us to do that.

We were also thrilled to announce that Bristol City Council, along with 1625 Independent People, are leading on the development of a Social Impact Bond that will enable us to work with care leavers to ensure that they are able to access education, employment and training. The award, from the Department for Education, is for c£1.7million and will focus on young people who need the most support. To be part of such an innovative project is great news for the city, and to be able to align this work with our key mayoral pledges around work experience and apprenticeships for all young people is especially exciting.

To make the impact we want to see on outcomes for care leavers will take a lot more work and focus, and will require input and partnership from across the city. We want to explain and promote the idea of corporate parenting beyond the council.

If you would like to find out how you can get involved in supporting some of the city’s most vulnerable young people please feel free to contact me directly –

Better Lives

Helen HollandToday’s guest blog is from Cllr Helen Holland, cabinet member for Adult Social Care.

The ‘crisis in Social Care’ is well-documented, and you can hardly see any news item without reference to it – the ageing population, the complex needs of an older population, delayed discharges and transfers of care from hospital, the impact of Brexit on the care workforce… the list goes on, and it would be easy to feel that there is little we can do to influence this.

The report I took to Cabinet today on ‘Better Lives’ shows how we’re tackling these issues – and more – in a comprehensive programme, not just papering over the cracks, but systematically transforming and improving the way care is delivered in Bristol.

I have been leading the Adult Social Care portfolio for just over a year now, and have spent much of that time fact-finding by visiting a whole range of projects and providers, partners, voluntary sector and charitable organisations, the two Health Trusts, hearing from families and carers, those who support them, training organisations, our own staff and many more.

Those visits have taught me a lot, and there are some common themes from them. First is the absolute dedication of staff in organisations large and small to do the right thing. They want to do their best by the people they care for, and regularly go the extra mile. They can often see how we could do things better, where waste is, and where bureaucracy sometimes gets in the way of the right solution. We’re open to those messages.

Secondly, people want to know that appropriate care will be available when it’s needed. This principle is at the heart of our three-tier model, where tier one is ‘help to help yourself’. This means moving towards a much more person-centred approach, with a detailed conversation finding out what the person really needs – maybe some help with shopping or cooking, or attending a community group like Men In Sheds or Knit and Natter, to help address loneliness and isolation. All of these may well prolong the length of time that someone can live in their own home – which is almost always preferred by them and their families.

Historically, Bristol relied on the use of residential care much more than our comparator cities. This is a very expensive approach, so strengthening the community offer (‘social prescribing’) and stabilising the home care market, including raising the hourly rate we pay, is already beginning to pay off in reducing admissions to residential homes.

The third theme is that all of these organisations often struggle with recruitment, training and retention. They invest in training staff, who then might move on, and there are few common standards amongst the different providers. We’re actively involved in the Proud to Care campaign, along with a wide range of care providers, because we want to show the benefits and rewards of care work and what a positive career choice it can be. With an ageing population, there is always going to be a need for a skilled and compassionate care workforce.

There is so much more in ‘Better Lives’, clearly stating our Labour administration’s commitment to doing our best to provide decent care for people to be able to live independently. Please take a look and let me know what you think.

Visit from One25 and Pause

I was pleased to welcome service users and staff from One25 to City Hall yesterday. I sat down with Cllr Helen Godwin, cabinet lead for Women and Children, to hear two women share their experiences of how the charity helps them on their journey.

Launched in 1995, One25 is still the only organisation in Bristol and the city region specialising in supporting women in escaping street sex working and the resulting violence, poverty and addiction. These women are amongst our city’s poorest and most vulnerable individuals. Each year One25 help around 230 women; there are currently about 130 who are street sex-working. Last year, 37 women took tough choices to exit this type of work and to build safe, healthy lives. One25 continues to support 63 women who are moving away from sex work, violence, homelessness and addiction and they offer a ‘step away from the streets’: whether for a short respite on the night outreach van, an afternoon in the St Pauls drop-in centre or permanently with the help of their eight specialist caseworkers.

TH MR and CH

(L to R) Tabby Horsfall (student Social Worker at One25), Marvin Rees, Charlie Hignall (Pause practitioner)

Most of the women the dedicated staff encounter on the streets are homeless, acutely malnourished and addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. Because of this their safety and health are neglected. The charity sees women who are deeply traumatised from childhood abuse/neglect and the violence of life on the streets. Each year their clients report around 150 violent attacks against them.

The women spoke about the impractical result the redesign of specialist drug and alcohol services has had on those committed to getting and staying clean by losing the services of a visiting prescribing nurse. Helen and Jacqui Jensen, my interim Executive Director of Care and Safeguarding will look further into our commissioning process to identify any avenues where this could be improved. I am also going to visit the offices in the next few months to see for myself the important work they do for women in the city.

We also heard from a young woman who has been involved in the Pause Bristol programme which launched in June 2017 to work with women in the city who have had two or more children removed from their care. The 18-month pilot programme is working with around 20 women using an innovative and proven model of care, which supports women to break the devastating cycle of having their children removed. Pause Bristol’s most recent internal report found that, between 2012 and 2017, there were at least 127 women in Bristol who had had a combined total of 414 children removed from their care. Pause Bristol is hosted by One25 in collaboration with Bristol City Council and the Pause support staff were able to report to us a positive response from partner agencies to the launch.

The work of One25 and their input helped shaped my manifesto pledge to target domestic violence and make changes to the priority housing system. We are now looking at other ways to help with the lettings process. They talked to me yesterday about the difficulty a lack of suitable housing has on their lives and their ability to build on the enormous changes they are making. This reminds us of the challenges my cabinet and I are working hard to tackle around housing to ensure that the city continues to benefit all citizens. Starting from a standstill with our housing stock to delivering 2,000 homes a year remains on track and later this same day I was pleased to see the announcement that a ground breaking partnership deal had been completed to deliver 161 mixed-tenure homes in Southmead.

Port & Airbus visits

Last week I visited two of the major employers in Bristol, Airbus, based in Filton, and The Bristol Port Company. Both have a huge and historic significance for our region, and will play a big part in our future inclusive growth. We need to make sure we are working together to deliver a city where everyone can access and benefit from the opportunities they offer.

I visited the Port along with Cllr Nicola Beech as cabinet member for Spatial Planning and City Design with Cllrs Don Alexander and Jo Sergeant as local councillors. Cllr Stephen Clarke was also there in his capacity as a board member.

Mayor of Bristol and TBPCAt the Port, I heard about their plans and had a tour of the site to see a small portion of the 1million square feet of warehousing there – the scale is incredible and sometimes hard to imagine. I was given a tour and showed the huge scale and variety of products brought through the port. It was also very obvious that the port is going to play a major role in the development of the Hinkley Point.

During my tour of the Airbus site I was invited to control the landing gear testing facility which tests the lifespan and durability of the structures. It was a small insight into the high-tech and advanced engineering which the company produces.

IMG_2216 DJH

The Port employs 564 full time and 80 part time employees. Their work generates a multiplier of 9,000 jobs locally, and 20,000 jobs nationally.  Airbus employs around 3,000 people in the South West of England. Their supply chain from businesses in the local area and elsewhere support further economic activity in the South West. They estimate that Airbus’ South West-based supply chain supports around 9,200 jobs in the region.

IMG_2225 DJHBoth of these companies have long term commitments to the city and so are conscious of their responsibility to bridge the skills gap and develop their workforce.  At the port I was told that 79 of the full time employees came through as apprentices and they currently have 20 apprentices. While at Airbus I was able to meet with some of the apprentices and hear about the great opportunities this multi-national company is able to offer young people from the region and beyond.

It is good to hear about the investment in their work force, but the future for both these industries cannot be taken for granted. Both exist in highly competitive environments and we need to make sure that we take on their views about how we ensure Bristol and the wider region has the capacity to support their growth.