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Website Fraud

Sefton Council’s Trading Standards team are encouraging residents to be ‘web wise’ after the culmination of one of the UK’s largest ever online crime cases.

Six people have been sentenced to a total of more than 35 years in prison after being convicted of defrauding UK consumers out of over £37 million in a copycat website scam.

They operated a number of fake web pages, impersonating official government services in order to sell passports, driving licences and other key documents for vastly inflated prices.

Sefton residents played a part in uncovering the nationwide scandal, with Sefton Council’s Trading Standards team documenting a number of complaints about suspicious websites offering to sell driving licences and visas.

 

Cllr Paulette Lappin, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulation and Compliance, said: “Online fraud can happen to anybody, especially if you’re not ‘web wise’ and our Trading Standards often receive complaints about bogus websites.

“Genuine websites that ask for personal information show an image of a padlock, usually in the address bar alongside the website address at the top of the page. However, some fake websites display a padlock on the webpage itself to try and convince the user that it is a secure site.

“If you’re not sure whether a site is genuine, click on the padlock and check the security certificate, which tells you if the site is authentic.

“Only valid certificates issued by approved authorities are trustworthy.”

If you see or find anything suspicious, please Report any concerns using the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06.

Liverpool City Region approves new Skills Strategy to drive inclusive growth

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has approved a new Skills Strategy, setting out a vision for how an effective skills system can drive aspiration and attainment and create a truly global and competitive City Region at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse.

The Strategy has been produced in partnership with a wide range of stakeholders from across the City Region, including input from 60 senior stakeholders through one-to-one interviews and contributions from 50 businesses as part of the Local Enterprise Partnership’s Insight Programme.

Responses were also received from the Combined Authority’s constituent councils, employers, business groups, universities, colleges and training providers.

Speaking about the strategy, Steve Rotheram, Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, said:

 

“Our economy has performed well in recent years, creating significant numbers of jobs, and we have also seen an increase in skill levels.

“We know, however, that those successes have not been enough to pull the City Region as a whole up to regional and national averages, and that improvements haven’t been uniformly shared across our communities.

“Ensuring that individuals and businesses have the right skills to compete and succeed in the 21st century is vital if we are to achieve our aim of becoming a globally-competitive City Region at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse.

“This strategy sets out a high-level vision for how we can reform our skills system to meet that goal.  The associated action plan, currently being developed by our Employment and Skills Board, will set out the concrete steps we need to deliver the strategy’s ambitious objectives.”

 

Cllr Ian Maher, Leader of Sefton Council and Portfolio Lead, Skills and Apprenticeships, said:

 

“This ambitious strategy builds upon our collaborative work to date, and sets out how we need to work together to achieve the vision.  Building on such strong relationships and effective practice will enable us to deliver the skills that businesses need as part of a more inclusive economy.”

 

Key outcomes identified in the strategy include:

  • Higher proportion (particularly for 16-18s) of people with good attainment in English, Maths and Information Technology attainment and work readiness
  • Higher proportion of working age population employed with good quality jobs making up a higher proportion of all jobs
  • Higher productivity and lower incidence of skills shortages across growth sectors
  • More effective workforce and fewer local recruitment difficulties across all sectors
  • Employers investing significantly more in the quality and quantity of the skills of their workforce
  • Much simpler systems and more joined up support processes, driven by strategic use of funding

The strategy sets out a performance framework which details the measures against which the success of these outcomes will be monitored.

Hightown Surgery

Sefton Council is strongly opposing NHS England’s decision to close Hightown village surgery.

 NHS England has just announced that the surgery, which serves Sefton residents, will shut later in the year with Sefton Council now calling on the decision to be reversed.

 A special Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting is now scheduled for March 22 as Sefton Council believes NHS England has not followed the right process or engaged with the public properly about this.

 Cllr Ian Maher, Labour Leader at Sefton Council, said: “We as a Council are dismayed and extremely disappointed at the way NHS England has handled this matter.

 “The closure decision was made and then communicated to residents in advance of any meaningful dialogue with the community and ourselves and taken without any reference to the statutory role of the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 “This really exposes wider concerns about the willingness of the NHS to engage with the Council on significant matters affecting health services in Sefton and the apparent lack of any strategic commissioning approach to the provision of primary care to Sefton communities.

 “Our ultimate concern is the safety and wellbeing of our communities and we would again request NHS England to review this decision and keep the surgery open while a meaningful engagement takes place.

 “This is going to be extremely difficult as the closure decision has already been made, patients notified and allocated to new practices. The last thing we want is patients being confused about the process – something NHS England should be ashamed of.

 “As a result we are arranging a special Overview and Scrutiny Committee to consider this matter and to seek assurance from NHS England and the CCG that the health and wellbeing of the people of Hightown has been paramount in this decision.

 “We have written to NHS England expressing all of our concerns and hope they react and respond in the way that betters the communities we serve.”

Sefton Economic Strategy Consultation

Sefton Council is seeking views on the draft framework of a new Sefton Economic Strategy.

To have your say on the consultation, click here

Comments made from a consultation will present a rationale for the Council’s Growth Programme, one of the four key pillars of Framework for Change, agreed by the Council in January 2017.

Strategic economic growth is a key part of the Sefton 2030 Vision that the Council is currently developing. In 2016 when we asked our communities what mattered most to them, in their thousands they told us of their priorities and what was important to them for the future of the borough.

Some common messages included:

  • Investing in the infrastructure of the borough will help to provide a strong, sustainable economy, be it regenerating town centres and high streets, improving highways and connections, developing urban village communities that have affordable housing and access to social activities
  • Job opportunities is an important area that can support resilient people and places
  • Recognition that Sefton has many natural assets including the coast, local heritage and open spaces and these should be used in promoting the borough to attract businesses, investors and visitors.

A 7 week consultation has just opened and Sefton Council is urging as many people as possible to get involved.

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Labour Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “This is the first draft of the framework for a new economic strategy for Sefton and we really want to hear from all sectors of our communities.

“It sets out to identify the key economic and social challenges which should be the focus of the strategy and outlines the headline economic growth objective and the framework for action.

“We recognise the importance of working in partnership with our many key partners and stakeholders from the private sector, communities, voluntary sector and local businesses. This consultation is for everyone and can help define our future.

“We are now seeking views on this important document and would be grateful if everyone could spend a few minutes completing this questionnaire.”

The consultation will run from March 8, 2018 to April 27, 2018.

Rave reviews for Sefton’s pool parties

Be Active’s ‘wave rave’ pool parties entertained hundreds of Sefton’s young people and families during February half term.

 The wave raves are part of the new swim offer heading to Sefton that will see a major revamp of pool time-tables, the sessions on offer and vast improvements to changing facilities at Dunes Splash World, Southport and Meadows Leisure Centre, Maghull.

 More than 250 people from across Sefton enjoyed coloured pools, disco lights, music, floats and water cannons at Bootle Leisure Centre (BLC), Meadows Leisure Centre and Dunes Splash World.

 As a result of the huge success, the wave raves will be made a regular event across the three centres with those interested invited to book a place in advance to avoid disappointment.

 Brand new lighting and sound systems installed across the three centres have paved the way for a new era of pool based activities including wave raves, calm waters and a variety of sessions suited to all ages and abilities.

 Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “We have been blown away by the success of the wave raves with pools reaching capacity at BLC and Meadows!

 “The feedback from attendees has been incredible and I’m so happy that young people and families throughout the borough have found an activity that they can enjoy while keeping active at the same time.”

 Rave reviews of the parties have been sent back to the organisers. One happy resident said: “I would just like to say thanks again for the two brilliant wave rave pool sessions that my family experienced.

 “The floats were amazing and every child was encouraged to use the equipment and they were supervised in a safe, friendly environment.”

 There are more rave waves planned in Be Active’s Easter half term line-up. Call the Active sports team on 0151 934 4799 for more information or to book you place.

 In addition, wave raves will take place on the last Friday of every month at BLC and Meadows. Contact the centres for more information or to book a place at the next session.

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