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Members wanted for Police and Crime Panel

THE Merseyside Police and Crime Panel is seeking a committed and enthusiastic person from the Merseyside area to serve as a co-opted independent member on the panel for a term to end in May 2023. This role is an exciting opportunity to be involved in the arrangements for Police Governance and Accountability, which would involve scrutinising and supporting the Police and Crime Commissioner. The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 introduced significant changes in Police Governance and Accountability; in particular, replacing Police Authorities by directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC's) from November 2012.

In summary, the public accountability for the delivery and performance of the Police Service within each force is now placed into the hands of the PCC on behalf of their electorate. The PCC draws on this electoral mandate to set and shape the strategic objectives of their force area in consultation with the Chief Constable. The PCC is accountable both to the electorate and the Police and Crime Panel; the Chief Constable is directly accountable to the PCC.

Each force area has a Police and Crime Panel to offer both support and challenge in relation to the PCC's decision making and actions. The PCC is required to consult with the Panel on the strategic plan for Local Policing, as well as the level of Council Tax needed to support the Local Policing budget, and the appointment of a Chief Constable. Independent members, through their knowledge and experience, are expected to enhance the Panel's ability to play its role effectively.

The panel is made up of 10 Local Councillors in total from the 5 local Authorities in the force area, plus 2 independent co-opted members. The role of a panel member is an important and demanding 1. The typical commitment required from a member of the panel is expected to average 1 day a month, including preparation time. Applicants must live or work within the Merseyside area (Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral). Experience in community safety, victim support, criminal justice and related issues would be helpful, but is not essential. There is no salary for the role, but reasonable travel expenses can be reclaimed. Panel Meetings are generally held in the daytime with meetings ordinarily being held in Huyton, Knowsley. All panel members receive induction and other appropriate training.

Please find below a link to the application pack, which will provide you with the relevant documents you will need to consider when applying for this position, including the application form:-

► Application Pack.

► Alternatively, please call:- 0151 4433367 to request a copy of the application pack.

There is no formal closing date for applications. Interested applicants are encouraged to apply early as the panel reserves the right to close the advert to new applications on receipt of sufficient eligible applications to enable progression to interview stage.   All completed application forms need to be returned either:- by post to David Moran, Scrutiny and Partnership Manager, Knowsley Borough Council, Archway Road, Huyton, L36 9YU ; or by emailing:- David.Moran@Knowsley.Gov.UK.

The panel wishes to reflect the breadth of communities in the Merseyside area and particularly welcomes applications from all eligible people irrespective of:- gender, ethnic origin, religious belief, sexual orientation, disability or any other factor.

Renters receiving on average ₤320 deposit refund because of new tenancy legislation

TENANTS across England are reaping the benefits of newly introduced legislation which is leading to an average deposit refund of ₤320.27 when agreeing a new rental contract. The reimbursement is to do with the Tenant Fees Act 2019 which came into force on 1 June 2019.

Among many things, the new rules mean that security deposits are capped at a maximum of 5 weeks' rent for tenancies with an annual rent of less than ₤50,000, or a maximum of 6 weeks' rent for tenancies where the annual rent is ₤50,000 or more. The law now states if a tenancy is renewed as a new fixed term agreement, the landlord or agent is obliged to return any part of the deposit which then exceeds the deposit cap.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is the only tenancy deposit protection scheme to have an online solution to facilitate the deposit cap refund process. The organisation used its data to work out how private renters have benefitted and has found that on average, tenants have received a refund of ₤320.

Debbie Davies, Assistant Director of Business Development at TDS, said:- "We reviewed data from when the legislation was 1st introduced in order to establish how frequently deposits are being partially repaid by agents or landlords.  During this period we have made 2,550 repayments totalling ₤817,031.33. From delving deeper into the figures we identified the average payment was ₤320.27 and the highest repayment to a tenant was ₤3,384.62. We believe the deposit cap is having the effect intended by Parliament, with the deposit held being reduced upon renewal, which is great news for renters."

TDS has also reviewed the data set on TDS Custodial Deposit Repayments, these repayments are made when an agent or landlord reaches an agreement with a tenant over how the rental deposit is to be distributed. The data shows that the average agreed deposit deduction is ₤303.59 and in 6% of cases tenants agree to their full deposit being repaid to the landlord.  A total of 43% of tenants agree to some deduction from their deposit and rent arrears and cleaning are among the most common reason for deposit deductions.

Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) is a Government approved tenancy deposit protection scheme. It is the only not for profit tenancy deposit scheme in the UK, which means it continuously invests surpluses into raising industry standards with excellent service levels, quicker call response times, user friendly technology and faster tenancy dispute resolutions.

2019 Poppy Appeal in Southport

THE Royal British Legion is the UK's leading Armed Forces charity. The Southport Branch launched their start of the 2019 Poppy Appeal with a series of events, along Lord Street, on 2 November 2019. They included a ukulele band playing outside Weldons Jewellery and Antiques, who had also organised a collection point for the Legion. As the groups, including members of the local Sea, Army and Air Cadets were collecting poppy money, a homeless 28 year old veteran was identified and alerted the Legions Welfare Team to assist her. We can report that things are now in motion to help that Army Combat Medic, but, on the plus side, it highlighted the need to support the Poppy Appeal in its funding the services the the Royal Legion offers veterans.

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