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Issue - meetings

Ward Committees: Refreshing the Approach

Meeting: 29/08/2019 - Executive (Item 31)

31 Refresh of Ward Committees pdf icon PDF 239 KB

The Corporate Director of Children, Education & Communities to present a report which sets out proposals that aim to build on the success of the council’s approach to ward working by removing unnecessary bureaucracy and delay while ensuring proper accountability for the use of public money.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved:  (i)      That the following be approved:

a)   The criteria for the Safer Communities Fund set out in paragraph 6 of the report;

b)   The proposal for member development set out in paragraph 9;

c)   The allocation for highways funding and the draft updated process for identification of schemes set out in paragraph 12;

d)   The revised basis for allocation of ward funding set out in paragraph 17;

e)   The updated process for Housing Environment Improvement Programme (HEIP) schemes set out in paragraph 18.

 

(ii)      That the Social Value Engine be endorsed as a method for evaluating ward schemes.

 

(iii)     That the proposals for resident engagement and the use of ‘Planning for Real’ set out in paragraph 25 onwards be endorsed.

 

(iv)    That the proposals for Parish Liaison be endorsed.

 

(v)     That the ideas for future development set out in paragraph 38 onwards be noted.

 

Reason:     To support the Council’s commitment to working with local communities and devolving power and budgets to residents.

Minutes:

The Corporate Director of Children, Education & Communities and the Assistant Director, Communities & Culture presented a report which set out proposals to build on the success of the council’s approach to ward working by removing unnecessary bureaucracy and delay while ensuring proper accountability for the use of public money.

 

The report had been informed by issues raised by the Children, Education & Communities Scrutiny Committee during a discussion on ward working at their meeting on 23 July 2019, as set out in the paragraph 5 of the report.  The proposals included:

·        Criteria for allocating the new Safer Communities Fund (SCF) to meet residents’ priorities, with the impact of projects to be planned in advance and their outcome evaluated;

·        Additional training sessions for Members on ward working, suggested to be run in political groups;

·        Extra one-off funding for the Ward Highways Capital Scheme for improvements to highways and walking / cycling, with a revised process to improve timely delivery of schemes;

·        Allocating ward funding in proportion to the number of members per ward, for a more equitable distribution;

·        A new process for HEIP schemes, to achieve better value for money and more timely delivery of schemes;

·        Use of the Social Value Engine, an online tool providing a universal measure of outcome, to compare projects;

·        Plans to improve engagement with residents and refresh the liaison and partnership working with parish councils.

Details of current ward budget allocations were set out in Annex 1 to the report.

 

In response to questions from Members, officers confirmed that:

·        The SCF would allow a broad scope for the use of funds to meet the needs of communities and residents, while requiring clear objectives to be identified for all schemes;

·        The carry forwards of funding shown in Annex 1 related to ongoing projects rather than unallocated funds;

·        Officers would look at the possibility of publishing the minutes of residents’ associations as well as ward committees.

 

Members welcomed the report and

 

Resolved:  (i)      That the following be approved:

a)   The criteria for the Safer Communities Fund set out in paragraph 6 of the report;

b)   The proposal for member development set out in paragraph 9;

c)   The allocation for highways funding and the draft updated process for identification of schemes set out in paragraph 12;

d)   The revised basis for allocation of ward funding set out in paragraph 17;

e)   The updated process for Housing Environment Improvement Programme (HEIP) schemes set out in paragraph 18.

 

(ii)      That the Social Value Engine be endorsed as a method for evaluating ward schemes.

 

(iii)     That the proposals for resident engagement and the use of ‘Planning for Real’ set out in paragraph 25 onwards be endorsed.

 

(iv)    That the proposals for Parish Liaison be endorsed.

 

(v)     That the ideas for future development set out in paragraph 38 onwards be noted.

 

Reason:     To support the Council’s commitment to working with local communities and devolving power and budgets to residents.


 

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