Local democracy during coronavirus

During coronavirus, we've made some changes to how we're running council meetings. See our coronavirus updates for more information on meetings and decisions.

Agenda item

New Ward Arrangements

Ward councillors will outline the revised process for ward committees, ward funding and how decisions are made.

 

Minutes:

Cllr Myers outlined the new ward arrangements saying that the two ward councillors want to work with residents to develop local priorities and help deliver these whilst also giving a voice on how to spend ward budgets. This will be done through the Ward Team, consisting of 8-12 people who can propose ideas, this Ward Committee, including the two Councillors and the ward budget that can be used to maintain and improve the ward.

Cllr Myers outlined the importance of residents input into decisions and advised that the ward committee will meet up to four times a year. This will include one formal meeting and can include other, more informal, formats such as walkabouts, drop-ins or consultations, depending on the need of the ward. The Acomb Ward Team will also meet with the councillors to inform the setting of ward priorities, work on projects to utilise the ward budgets and liaise with other partners such as police, estate managers, businesses and voluntary groups along with Kristina Davey the ward coordinator.

Cllr Myers introduced the ward budgets.

The total ward budget of £19,180* which comprises three elements:

·        General ward budget                 £6,769

·        Community Care Fund              £3,385

·        The annual Pride in York Fund £4,513*

(*reduced pro rata by £4,513 for the remainder of 2015/16)

 

In addition there is:

·        A one-off Pride in York Fund    £6,557

·        An annual Highways Budget    £11,282

The Highways Budget is for using local knowledge for highways improvements, resurfacing, for footpaths, cycle paths and street lighting.

The ward budget can be allocated through grants or by commissioning a group or organisation to do a specific piece of work that address ward priorities. The Pride in York Fund element comprises part of the main ward budget but the one-off element is for grants and initiatives to benefit the community that can help to reduce reliance on Council services.

The community care element of the budget is to support, through community activity, the prevention or delay of people needing to access formal care packages and statutory support, such as reducing isolation, nutrition, transport, prevention of falls or practical support.

Ground Maintenance – Ward teams are also being asked to identify priorities for future expenditure. The Ward Team has been provided with a list of grounds maintenance tasks split into two sections: those which can only be completed by the Council due to health and safety implications, eg. operating machinery or working with hazardous chemicals (highlighted in red), and those which could be picked up within the Ward, perhaps through volunteering (highlighted in green). 

Cllr Myers said that five ward priorities have been proposed by councillors after working with the Ward Team and considering ward statistics and data collected from a resident's survey. The proposed priorities are:

·        Reducing social isolation

·        Increasing facilities and activities for young people

·        A cleaner, greener ward

·        Improving health and wellbeing, and

·        Increasing community involvement.

Cllr Myers asked residents in attendance for any comments, ideas for projects and questions about the priorities. The following issues were raised:

·        Litter in the ward.

·        A suggestion for a litter campaign in schools.

·        A resident raised concern about a dead tree on Langholme Drive and requested  that the tree preservation officer should be involved.

·        Poor state of cycle path surfaces in the Beckfield Lane area.

·        The cycle path on the pavement on Beckfield Lane is under used as there are too many crossing points and can also be dangerous for both cyclists and pedestrians.

·        Lack of salt bins in the ward.

·        Concern was raised that the priorities are too general. If everything is a priority, then nothing really is.

·        Residents asked for current examples of initiatives in the ward that address social isolation. Cllr Myers outlined the lunch club at the Ainsty Pub that the Holy Redeemer Church organises, the community cafe and other services at Lidgett Grove Methodist Church and services run by York Timebank.

·        Discussion took place about engaging more widely with the residents of the ward. Cllr Myers outlined that social media and email is used to advertise the various forms of engagement on offer but more needs to be done to include those without access to electronic communications. It was noted that the ward committee meeting details were listed in the Our City newsletter which was delivered to all households in the ward. A further suggestion was made to advertise meetings in the Local Link.

·        Discussion took place about how residents have been able to influence the setting of ward priorities. A Survey Monkey questionnaire was set up and councillors received 130 responses, the results of which were fed into the discussion around setting ward priorities.

·        Cllr Myers outlined that the ward team is led by councillors and includes local residents, head teachers, council officers, vicars, community representatives, and other partners. Residents can also join.

ACTION: Cllr Myers would take the suggestions and points made in the discussion back to the Ward Team so that councillors could begin to allocate funding and develop an action plan for local initiatives. Funding for more litter and salt bins can be considered, although the ward would have to pay the ongoing emptying and maintenance costs; cycle path surface improvements could be considered as part of the Highways Budget discussion.

ACTION: Consideration will be given to advertising meeting dates in the Local Link by the ward team.

ACTION: Cllr Myers would report the issue about the dead tree on Langholme Drive.

 

 

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