Building A Better Borough - Together

Council Leader sets out borough wide agenda to engage the community

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Council leader Edward Lister has set out a borough-wide agenda for transforming the way the council works with local residents and organisations on the big issues that affect people’s life chances.

The main principles underpinning the challenge will be considered by councillors at a special meeting on December 6.

The approach seeks to engage the whole community in drawing up priorities for action over the next four years. This could include local initiatives to tackle worklessness, make neighbourhoods safer and improve the environment.

Cllr Lister said the coalition government’s public sector reforms were offering councils an opportunity to develop new patterns of service provision that would respond directly to local issues:
“Now, more then ever, is the time to challenge ourselves by setting an even more ambitious agenda.  It is a challenge in which we must engage councillors, staff, residents, local businesses – in fact partners of every kind including those in the public sector and voluntary sector.

“We share ministers’ commitment to devolving powers and responsibilities away from the centre.  This is a process of continuous devolution which goes beyond local authorities to communities and individuals.  It maintains the central direction of this council’s own policies which for many years have encouraged greater degrees of personal choice.

He continued:
“We will be building this approach from the bottom up. It will be less about the council ‘doing things’ to its residents and more about freeing them to do or decide things for themselves – and helping them to make a difference.

“This programme will enable us to raise our sights above the immediate demands of today’s difficult financial situation.  If will be about demonstrating how the council can make a difference in every area of public life.” 

The report highlights the potential for new approaches in areas including schools, families, environment, health, social care, community safety, partnerships, voluntary sector and employment.

Cllr Lister’s proposals for change will be debated at the finance and corporate resources overview and scrutiny committee on 6 December. If approved they will be launched for public consultation in the New Year.

November 30, 2010