Neighbourhood Working and Community Contracts
- Meeting of Preceded by an informal surgery at 6:30pm, Rural West York Ward Committee, Wednesday, 20 June 2012 7.00 pm (Item 4.)
Kate Bowers, Head of Neighbourhood Management, attended the meeting to address residents and introduce Neighbourhood Working and Community Contracts and ask Ward Members to adopt the priorities under the Community Contract for 2012/13.
She advised that the new model of Neighbourhood Working would allow the Council to work with partners to deliver better services for York’s communities. She explained that this new approach to service delivery had been piloted in 6 wards including Rural West Ward.
She explained that the Ward Profile, containing ward level data complimented by local intelligence, would enable to members to make informed choices in relation to the priorities for each ward. Ward audits would tell the ward member what facilities exist within the ward, what activities are being delivered and by whom, and about schedules of work to enable them to identify any gaps in provision. This will also give residents easy access to what is available to them. Members would set priorities for the ward using the profile data, local intelligence and resident ambitions. An action plan would then be drawn up which would enable residents to hold the Council to account and would allow wards to apply for external funding as it becomes available.
She explained that the Community Contract was an agreement between the ward committee, the community, council departments and service providers. It would provide general information on the ward and list community groups, parish councils and community facilities within the ward. It would also highlight specific challenges in the Ward and the ward priorities that have been identified. It will set out what service standards residents should receive as well as provide information on how communities can engage and be involved including a list of volunteering opportunities in the ward. Copies of the draft community contract were circulated around the room for information.
Concern was raised that parish councils had not been involved in the preparation of this contract. The Head of Neighbourhood Management advised that parish councils had been contacted and had been asked for information relating to their parish a year previously but stressed that if parish councillors/residents felt that anything had been omitted from the draft contract she was happy to work with them to ensure the contract was correct.
Concerns were raised that the money in the central pot would be lost to other wards especially to areas of higher deprivation and Rural West Ward may not benefit fully from it. The Head of Neighbourhood Management acknowledged that parish councils could not access the money from the central pot but advised that they were currently investigating ways in which parish councils could access funding. She explained that the central pot simplified the process of applying for grants for organisations who in the past had to apply individually on behalf of individual wards.
Ward Members agreed that they were happy to support the principle of a Community Contract for Rural West York Ward but that it was unacceptable in its present form and that further submissions, particularly from Parish Councils, were required before the substantive document could be agreed. They noted that once adopted, it would act as a tool which both parish councils and the Ward as a whole could use to hold the City of York Council to account.
It was suggested that parish councils may wish to consider community contracts at their next meeting and invite a representative from Neighbourhood Services to speak to them however it was also suggested that parish councils should work together and form a sub committee with a representative from each parish council to discuss the Community Contract. The Head of Neighbourhood Management agreed to circulate copies of the ward profiles and draft Community Contract for Rural West Ward to parish councils so they could contribute to these documents1 and also advised that the community contracts would be published on the council’s website in the future.
RESOLVED: (i) That Ward Members support for the principle of a Community Contract for Rural West York Ward be noted.
(ii) That it be agreed that the Community Contract is not acceptable in its present form and that further submissions, particular from Parish Councils, are required before the substantive document is agreed.
REASON: To ensure that priorities under the Community Contract are adopted for the ward for the forthcoming year.