Resident Forums created as part of improvements to community engagement

21 Mar 2013 @ 7.46 pm
| News

Issued by City of York Council

City of York Council Cabinet members will consider a set of proposals aimed at improving its community engagement and providing tailored support to wards, in a meeting to be held on 2 April 2013.

A refresh of the council’s approach to neighbourhood working, these proposals build on successful work over the past 12 months to: administer the council’s Community York Fund to voluntary sector organisations via Your Consortium; introduce Community Contracts across York to ensure residents’ priorities are met; launch the York Equality Scheme to make York an equal, inclusive, and welcoming city; and in securing £1 million of Big Local funding for Tang Hall over the next ten years.

A continuation of the roll-out of Community Contracts across the city following their initial success will see ward members set their ward priorities based on feedback from residents and partners, local knowledge, statistical data and other ward information. This approach will be accompanied by ward action plans which will detail how local priorities will be delivered through partnership working.

The aim of the neighbourhood working model will be to give local people a clear understanding of the working processes of wards and the many ways in which they can get engaged and involved, and how they can connect with other local communities to pool ideas and resources to get the results they want.

Besides resident involvement, the new model will work to secure the active involvement of partners – including community groups – in influencing and helping to address ward priorities.

There will be clear understanding of how ward funding can be spent to meet ward priorities. Groups and organisations can be invited to bid for funding to deliver these priorities and then use the Residents’ Forum to inform and consult residents on their progress. Or, additionally, wards can commission local groups directly to carry out projects identified as addressing ward priorities through the ward team.

The new measures to be put in place also include establishing Resident Forum meetings in place of ward committees. This could mean annual meetings are help to feed back on the previous year’s achievements, explain the priorities for the year ahead, launch their Community Contract and outline their ward funding arrangements.

Councillor Dafydd Williams, Cabinet member for Crime and Stronger Communities said: “We have been working hard to improve our Neighbourhood Working over the past 12 months and have had some major successes; from the £1 million Big Local funding secured for Tang Hall, to the launch of York’s Equality Scheme and not forgetting the introduction of Community Contracts to ensure residents’ ward priorities are met.

“We’re now building on these with plans to support more opportunities for ward members and residents to work together to establish local priorities and deliver their own innovative solutions. We’ll also be increasing the ways in which residents can find out about and become involved in the opportunities available.”

Residents will be able to find out what’s happening in their ward, ways they can get involved, and how they can take part in community consultation via new Community Information Hubs to be set up in York’s libraries and through the council’s website, Facebook and Twitter sites, as well as community notice boards displaying posters and leaflets.

To support this work, the council has implemented a new staffing structure for the Neighbourhood Management Unit. This is now in place and is also delivering annual savings of around £275,000.

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