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Decision details

Report of the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman - Complaint about Removal of Street Trees and Streets Ahead Contract

Decision Maker: Co-operative Executive

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: Yes

Purpose:

In line with the requirements of the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman, the report outlines for Cabinet the Ombudsman’s report on a complaint made by Mr G about the removal of street trees from his road as part of the Council’s ‘Streets Ahead’ programme of works delivered by its contractor, Amey Hallam Highways plc.  The report also describes the Council’s actions in response to the Ombudsman complaint.

Decision:

7.1

The Executive Director, Place, submitted a report summarising the findings of a formal report by the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman (attached to the report as Appendix A) regarding a complaint made by Mr G about the removal of street trees from the road where he lived, as part of the Council’s ‘Streets Ahead’ programme of works delivered by its contractor, Amey Hallam Highways plc.

 

The report details the recommendations to the Council arising from the report and includes an outline of the steps already taken to improve transparency in relation to decision making. The report recommended that Cabinet recognise the failings

of the Council and provide a full apology. Cabinet approval is also sought for the

creation of a public archive of Sheffield City Council (SCC) street tree related material to be held within the City Archives in perpetuity.

 

 

7.2

RESOLVED: That Cabinet:-

 

 

(a) endorses the publication of a public unreserved apology accepting the findings of the Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman investigation;

 

(b) notes that the Cabinet Member for Environment, Streetscene and Climate Change has provided a private apology to the family of Mr G recognising the failings of the Council in its communications with him;

 

(c) notes that the Street Tree Partnership Working Strategy details the new, transparent decision process for tree removals, and the additional information requirements from the contractor in submitting the recommendation;

 

(d) notes that the Highways Maintenance (Streets Ahead client team) and contractor will receive additional training in the Council’s complaints procedure;

 

(e) notes the work that is being done to embed openness and transparency across all of the Council’s services; and

 

(f) approves the funding for Sheffield Archives Service to establish and manage the creation of a complete archive of SCC tree related material to be held within the City Archives in perpetuity.

 

 

7.3

Reasons for Decision

 

 

7.3.1

The recommendations to Cabinet reflect the work the Council has already commenced that contribute to realising the recommendations of the Ombudsman and our commitment to open and transparent decision making.

 

In addition, Cabinet is asked to approve the new archive project which will allow open access to our records and correspondence in relations to our past approach and decisions.

 

 

7.4

Alternatives Considered and Rejected

 

 

7.4.1

No alternative options have been considered, the Council accepts the findings of the report and is pleased to demonstrate our progress and commitments to realising the recommendations from the Ombudsman report.

 

 

7.5

Any Interest Declared or Dispensation Granted

 

 

 

None

 

 

7.6

Reason for Exemption if Public/Press Excluded During Consideration

 

 

 

None

 

 

7.7

Respective Director Responsible for Implementation

 

 

 

Laraine Manley, Executive Director, Place.

 

 

7.8

Relevant Scrutiny and Policy Development Committee If Decision Called In

 

 

 

Economic and Environmental Wellbeing Scrutiny and Policy Development Committee

 

 

Publication date: 23/10/2020

Date of decision: 21/10/2020

Decided at meeting: 21/10/2020 - Co-operative Executive

Effective from: 30/10/2020

Accompanying Documents: