News

Phantom Debt Fraud Alert

Action Fraud has recently experienced an increase in the number of calls to members of the public by fraudsters requesting payments for a “phantom” debt. The fraud involves being cold-called by someone purporting to be a debt collector, bailiff or other type of enforcement agent. The fraudster may claim to be working under instruction of a court, business or other body and suggest they are recovering funds for a non-existent debt.

The fraudsters are requesting payment, sometimes by bank transfer and if refused, they threaten to visit homes or workplaces in order to recover the supposed debt that is owed. In some cases, the victim is also threatened with arrest. From the reports Action Fraud has received, this type of fraud is presently occurring throughout the UK.

It is important to recognise that there are key differences between the various entities who seek to settle debts or outstanding fees in England and Wales. These differences range from the type of debt they will enforce to the legal powers they possess. To learn more, please take a look at some of the helpful information and links on the Step Change Debt Charity website; https://www.stepchange.org/debt-info/debt-collection/bailiffs-and-debt-collectors-differences.aspx

Protect Yourself

  • Make vigorous checks if you ever get a cold call. Bailiffs for example, should always be able to provide you with a case number and warrant number, along with their name and the court they are calling from; make a note of all details provided to you.
  • If you receive a visit from a bailiff, they must always identify themselves as a Court Bailiff at the earliest possible opportunity. Ask to see their identity card which they must carry to prove who they are, this card shows their photograph and identity number. They will also carry the physical warrant showing the debt and endorsed with a court seal.
  • If you work for a business and receive a call or visit, be sure to speak with your manager or business owner first. Never pay the debts yourself on behalf of the business you work for; some fraudsters have suggested employees make payment suggesting they can then be reimbursed by their employer when in reality the debt is non-existent.
  • Exercise caution believing someone is genuine because you’ve found something on the internet; fraudsters could easily create fake online profiles to make you believe them.
  • Double check with the court, company or public body they claim to work for to confirm whether the call is legitimate; if you use a landline make sure you hear the dialling tone prior to dialling as the caller could still be on the line and you could potentially speak to the fraudster(s) to confirm the non-existent debt. Also be sure to independently search for a telephone number to call; never use a number provided by the caller without carrying out your own research.
  • Do not feel rushed or intimidated to make a decision based on a phone call. Take five and listen to your instincts.
  • If you know you have a debt, keep in regular contact with your creditor and be sure to establish the debt type at the earliest opportunity if you are not aware. This will help you to understand who might be in contact with you regarding any repayments or arrears.

You can report suspicious calls like these to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfaud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Action Fraud 31 January 2018

ABC: Report it

Let's work together to make the borough a better placeAshford Borough Council has improved its online reporting system, making it easier for residents to report issues such as:

  • Flytipping
  • Littering
  • Dog fouling
  • Vandalism
  • Anti-social behaviour
  • Planning enforcement

The new system replaces some online forms and allows residents to report incidents and then track their progress via a unique reference number.

www.ashford.gov.uk/report

Chilmington Green School to open on South School site

Chilmington Green Primary School will open on 1 September 2018 in temporary accommodation* in Jemmett Road, Ashford. The school will move into its new state of the art site on the Chilmington Green Development once building works have been completed, this is currently expected to be September 2019.

* The building on Jemmett Road, (formally [the South School and] temporary site of Finberry Primary School from September 2015 to July 2017) is a fully equipped school site which will meet the needs of the school before its move into the permanent building.

Apply for a place

To apply for a place at Chilmington Green Primary School, please download the application form below.

Chilmington Green Primary School Application Form

Applications can be sent by post to Chilmington Green Primary Admissions, Office Manager, Finberry Primary School, Avocet Way, Finberry, Sevington, Ashford, TN25 7GS or by email to sarah.jones@stouracademytrust.org.uk

APPLICATIONS CLOSE ON 15TH JANUARY 2018.

Admissions Policy

To read the admissions policy of Chilmington Green Primary School, please download the document below.

Chilmington Green Primary School Admission Policy

About the School

Opening in September 2018 in Jemmett Road, Ashford. Chilmington Green Primary School will be a member of The Stour Academy Trust, a leading Primary only Multi-Academy Trust with schools across Kent.

The strong and inspirational leadership of The Stour Academy Trust has been described as Outstanding by Ofsted and has a proven track record of providing outstanding outcomes for children.

Chilmington Green Primary School will share the vision and values of all the schools in The Stour Academy Trust. We value children’s well-being and their education above all else, and put the needs of our children at the heart of all our decision making.

For more information about the school, please view the school website or facebook page below:

www.chilmingtongreenprimary.org.uk

The Stour Academy Trust
www.stouracademytrust.org.uk/Forthcoming-Academies/

Compensation for scam victims who used Western Union

For years, fraudsters have used Western Union as a way to receive money from scam victims. Following an investigation in America, Western Union agreed to refund victims who sent money to fraudsters between 1 January 2004 and 19 January 2017.  If you lost money to a scam during this time you may be entitled to receive a percentage of the amount you lost.

Types of scams covered by these refunds includes:

  • Lottery or prize draw
  • Discounted products or other financial rewards
  • Emergency scams – to help relatives and/or avoid imprisonment or arrest
  • Advance-fee loans
  • Online dating or romance scams
  • Employment opportunities

How to make a claim

  • To apply you must file a petition of remission to Western Union
  • Filing a petition is FREE
  • Apply online by filling in the Western Union remission form
  • Visit Western Union website to find out more
    http://www.westernunionremission.com/

To be considered you must file a petition on or before 12 February 2018 

FILL IN REMISSION FORM
https://kccsecure.com/westernunionremission/Claimant/UnKnownClaimForm

Contact details

For advice and to report issues to KCC Trading Standards contact
Citizens Advice consumer service

Kent County Council  22 January 2018
http://mailchi.mp/dd6ee5a1cb33/compensation-for-scam-victims-who-used-western-union

Stop and think

  1. Take Five to stop fraudRequests to move money: A genuine bank or organisation will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, full password or to move money to another account. Only give out your personal or financial details to use a service that you have given your consent to, that you trust and that you are expecting to be contacted by.
  2. Clicking on links/files: Don’t be tricked into giving a fraudster access to your personal or financial details. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.
  3. Personal information: Always question uninvited approaches in case it’s a scam. Instead, contact the company directly using a known email or phone number.

#TakeFiveWeek

Homelessness Support for Vulnerable Adults Consultation

Kent County CouncilHomelessness Support Service for Vulnerable Adults in Kent

Kent County Council

Opens: 22 January 2018
Closes: 4 March 2018

Kent County Council (KCC) funds homelessness support services for vulnerable young people (16-25), adults who are over 18 and offenders who need additional support. Currently, those services can be categorised as either ‘supported housing’, ‘floating support’ or ‘rough sleeper outreach’.

We would like to hear your views on the proposals contained within the consultation document, which refers to plans for those 18+, and your thoughts on how we might improve the future delivery of homelessness support for vulnerable adults in Kent. Your views will be used to help shape the future of these services after October 2018.

Have your say

We would like to hear your views on our proposal.  We recommend you read the consultation document which can be found in the ‘Consultation Documents’ section below. To take part in the consultation, please fill in the online questionnaire which is available in the ‘Respond to this Consultation’ section below.

Alternative formats: If you require any of the consultation material in an alternative format or language please email alternativeformats@kent.gov.uk or call 03000 421553 (text relay service number: 18001 03000 421553). This number goes to an answering machine, which is monitored during office hours.

Privacy: Kent County Council collects and processes personal information in order to provide a range of public services. Kent County Council respects the privacy of individuals and endeavours to ensure personal information is collected fairly & lawfully.  We will follow our Data Protection Act guidelines to keep your information secure and confidential.

We recommend using Google Chrome if viewing and downloading consultation documents from mobile devices.

Consultation Documents

  • Consultation Document (PDF version) https://consultations.kent.gov.uk/gf2.ti/f/889378/33054309.1/PDF/-/Homelessness_Consultation_Document.pdf
  • Consultation Document (Word version) https://consultations.kent.gov.uk/gf2.ti/f/889378/33054245.1/DOCX/-/Homelessness_Consultation_Document.docx
  • Questionnaire (Word version) https://consultations.kent.gov.uk/gf2.ti/f/889378/33089189.1/WIZ/-/Consultation_Questionnaire__21.01.18.doc
  • Questionnaire (PDF version) https://consultations.kent.gov.uk/gf2.ti/f/889378/33089221.1/PDF/-/Consultation_Questionnaire__21.01.18.pdf
  • Equality Impact Assessment https://consultations.kent.gov.uk/gf2.ti/f/889378/33054437.1/DOCX/-/Equality_Impact_Assessment.docx

Respond to this Consultation

  • Respond by filling in the online questionnaire https://consultations.kent.gov.uk/consult.ti/homelessnessconsultation/respondByQuestionnaire

Bird flu

Kent has earned a hard-won reputation for tough and effective biosecurity to protect plant, animal and human health.

Avian influenza (or bird flu) has recently been confirmed in wild birds in Dorset and Warwickshire, with an ‘avian influenza prevention zone’ now declared covering England.

It is vital that we all remain vigilant and report any wild birds found dead without obvious cause (especially wildfowl such as swans, geese and ducks) to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77.

Any unexplained deaths amongst captive birds, such as poultry or gamebirds, should also be reported to the Animal and Plant Health Agency on 03000 20 03 01.

For further information please contact Tony Harwood (Principal Resilience Officer)

Email Tony Harwood
emergency.planning@kent.gov.uk

For advice and to report issues to KCC Trading Standards contact: Citizens Advice consumer service

Kent County Council 18 January
http://mailchi.mp/9e58280e91ba/avian-influenza

Public health

Public Health England advise the risk to public health from the H5N8 strain of bird flu is very low.
www.gov.uk/government/collections/avian-influenza-guidance-data-and-analysis

Some strains of avian influenza can pass to humans, but this is very rare. It usually requires very close contact between the human and infected birds. There have never been any recorded cases of H5N8 in humans.

The Food Standards Agency has said the disease poses no food safety risk for UK consumers. Properly cooked poultry and poultry products, including eggs, are safe to eat.
www.food.gov.uk/news-updates/news/2016/15834/fsa-advice-about-avian-bird-flu

If you employ people who work with poultry or work with poultry yourself, you can also read Health and Safety Executive advice on protecting workers from avian influenza
www.hse.gov.uk/biosafety/diseases/influenza.htm

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
Animal and Plant Health Agency

Information about avian influenza on gov.uk

www.gov.uk/guidance/avian-influenza-bird-flu

If you keep birds

advice for people keeping just a few birds (more…)

Improvement proposed for stroke services

Further details about a proposal to establish three new ‘hyper acute’ stroke units in Kent and Medway have been announced today (Thursday 18 January 2018).  The proposed shortlist of potential options for the location of these units, which is still subject to final assurances and approval, is1:

  1. Darent Valley Hospital, Medway Maritime Hospital, William Harvey Hospital
  2. Darent Valley Hospital, Maidstone Hospital, William Harvey Hospital
  3. Maidstone Hospital, Medway Maritime Hospital, William Harvey Hospital
  4. Tunbridge Wells Hospital, Medway Maritime Hospital, William Harvey Hospital
  5. Darent Valley Hospital, Tunbridge Wells Hospital and William Harvey Hospital

Unlike current services, these hyper acute stroke units would operate with a multi-disciplinary team of stroke specialists, providing expert care round the clock with consultants on the wards seven days a week. The new units will allow people to get the best possible care in the vital first few hours and days immediately after their stroke – saving lives and reducing disability. The units would care for all stroke patients across Kent and Medway and from some neighbouring communities, in the critical first 72 hours after a stroke. We don’t currently have any hyper acute stroke units working in this way in Kent and Medway, patients are currently cared for in general stroke units.  Each site would also have an acute stroke unit where people may go after the initial 72 hours for further care until they are ready to be discharged, and a transient ischaemic attack (TIA or ‘mini stroke’) clinic.

These proposals would mean significant changes to the urgent stroke care currently provided in six hospitals across Kent and Medway. The proposed changes would affect every hospital in our area, residents in every part of Kent and Medway, and some beyond our boundaries. The proposed three new hyper acute stroke units would ensure all residents get consistently high-quality hospital-based stroke care regardless of where they live or what time of day or night a stroke occurs. However, under these proposals urgent stroke services would not be available at the other three hospitals in Kent and Medway.

The proposed changes are focused on ensuring the best care and outcomes for people who have a stroke, meaning faster diagnosis and treatment, fewer deaths, and less disability. To make these proposed changes we would need to invest up to £40million in hospitals and recruiting more staff across the county, but we expect a reduction in costs over time, mainly due to better recovery for patients who wouldn’t then need as much long-term care, and shorter hospital stays.

A Joint Committee of the ten clinical commissioning groups in Kent, Medway, Bexley and High Weald Lewes Havens is meeting to discuss the shortlist on 31 January 2018.  The joint committee meeting is held in public and will take place from 13.00-16.00, in the Council Chamber at County Hall, Sessions House, Maidstone ME14 1XQ.  It is a meeting in public, but places are limited by the venue so if you would like to attend this meeting, please book your place and register in advance at https://strokejcccg.eventbrite.co.uk.  For those without access to the internet, places can be booked by calling the Joint Committee admin office on 01892 638331.

If the shortlist above is approved, a wide public consultation will begin in February on the future shape of urgent stroke services in Kent and Medway. The consultation will provide further opportunity to help design the best stroke services and to continue to engage staff, stakeholders, patients and local communities in the issues important to them about stroke services.

When the consultation begins we will publish our consultation document. The consultation document will set out the reasons why we believe Kent and Medway needs three hyper acute stroke units and a range of potential options for where they could be located. It will also summarise the issues we have considered to select the shortlist – from travel times through to staffing issues and how long it would take to establish hyper acute stroke units at different hospitals across the area.

We recognise that people have concerns when hospital services change, but we strongly believe change is needed to improve care. These proposals represent a major investment in stroke services and a commitment to making consistently high-quality care available for all stroke patients, regardless of where you live or when a stroke happens.

We will update this information with further details of our formal public consultation once it starts, and how to get involved and share your views, if the required assurance processes are met, in early February.

Background to the stroke review

We started reviewing our stroke services in started 2015. We did this because whilst staff in our stroke services are working extremely hard to provide the best care that they can, we know that things would be better, for both patients and staff, if we developed our stroke services further. We want our stroke services to meet the latest national best practice standards so that patients get have the best chance of the best outcome after a stroke. These new ways of working have been introduced in other parts of the country and are bringing significant benefits to patients. In London, hyper acute stroke units have reduced deaths from stroke by nearly 100 a year.

There has been a detailed process to consider potential options for the future shape of hospital-based urgent stroke services. Over the course of the review we looked at:

  • a long list that considered different numbers of hyper acute stroke units
  • a medium list of possible three-site options
  • the shortlist of deliverable three-site potential options which is being announced today.

Our proposed shortlist has been through a rigorous process and takes account of other work, particularly in east Kent, around changes to acute hospital services.

Find out more about the stroke review here

Transforming health and social care in Kent and Medway 18 January 2018
https://kentandmedway.nhs.uk/latest-news/improvement-proposed-stroke-services-kent-medway/

1 The order is not a ranking and we are not identifying a preferred option until we have fully and carefully considered all the evidence and data available