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Agenda item

Review of Neighbourhood Working

Report of the Strategic Director of Adult Care and Housing

 

Cabinet Member:     Councillor Yasseen

Commissioner:         Kenny (in advisory role)

 

Recommendations:

 

1.    That the recommendations for a new model of Neighbourhood Working be approved.

 

2.    That the removal of the current Area Assembly governance framework be agreed.

 

3.    That the dissolution of the Area Assembly coordinating Groups be agreed.

 

4.    That approval be given to the approach for each ward to be able to locally agree how to conduct citizen engagement in a flexible and innovative manner. Wards can still choose to hold meetings e.g. in response to specific issues and can tailor the approach to best engage their citizens.

 

5.    That flexible clustering to allow wards to work together based on geography and common interest, where needed, be approved.

 

6.    That a quarterly update from each ward be submitted to the portfolio Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Working and Cultural Services to provide oversight across the Borough.

 

7.    That a requirement be introduced for ward plans to be produced and to publish outlining ward priorities and activities aligned to the Corporate Plan.

 

8.    That a requirement be introduced for place profiles to be developed for each of the 21 wards detailing the demographics and community assets of the area; to be piloted in 4 wards.

 

9.    That the Community Leadership Fund of £1,000 per elected member be continued, but be spent in line with ward plan priorities.

 

10.That the £30,000 currently allocated for Area Assembly Chairs from the Community Engagement budget in 2017/18 be distributed evenly to all 21 wards, which will equate to £1,428 per ward and that this budget be reviewed as part of the overall corporate budget setting process for 2018/19.

 

11.That Council be recommended to add £210k to the Capital Programme in 2017/18, to be funded from capital receipts, and that this budget be reviewed as part of the overall corporate budget setting process for 2018/19.

 

12.That £10,000 capital investment funding be allocated to each ward from the £210k total allocation and that utilisation of this be determined by ward priorities.

 

13.That decision making be delegated to wards with spend approved by the Assistant Director of Housing and Neighbourhood Services

 

14.That officers be required to explore the potential to provide support to members to secure additional funding both internally and externally.

 

15.That an Annual Report on Neighbourhood Working be submitted to both the Improving Places Select Commission (IPSC) and Council.

 

16.That approval be given to a 12 month transitional plan to phase-in the new neighbourhood approach.

 

17.That the review of staffing structure supporting neighbourhood working be noted and decisions arising from the review be taken under existing delegated powers.

 

18.That the Council be recommended to amend the Constitution to:

·        Remove the reference to area assemblies in the heading of Part III of the Constitution and delete Article 12 of the Constitution [Area assemblies and area assembly co-ordinating groups]

·        Remove references to Area Assemblies and Area Assembly Co-ordinating Groups from the Executive Procedure Rules

·        Delete Rule 16(6),(7) and (8) [Conflicts of interest – membership of area assembly co-ordinating groups and overview and scrutiny committee] and references to “Chairs of Area Assemblies” and all other references to “area assemblies” in the Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules

·        Delete references to area committees in the Access to Information Procedure Rules

·        Delete references to area committees and area assembly coordinating groups in the Standing Orders.

·        Delete references to area committees in the Code of Conduct for Members and Co-opted Members

·        Delete the reference to Chair of Area Assembly in the Members’ Allowances Scheme

·        Remove references to area assemblies from the Scheme of Delegation for Members and Officers

 

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report which referred to the Council’s Corporate Improvement Plan, “A Fresh Start”, which had a specificimprovement theme of “strong, high impact partnerships”. This included “active WardCouncillors working within neighbourhoods to build community and citizens’ capacity”.

 

The aim was to undertake a review which would herald the introduction of “a new model of citizen engagement and neighbourhood working linked to a review of Area Assemblies” to provide a focus on communities and introduce a new way of working.

 

          The scope of the review comprised three elements:-

 

1.         Creating a Council-wide policy and approach to neighbourhood working.

 

2.         Developing a multi-agency approach to neighbourhood working.

 

3.         Following the adoption of the new locality model, a review of the role and funding of the Neighbourhood Partnerships and Engagement Service.

 

A fourth connected element was agreeing a new “policy statement” on cohesion  which was now also linked, in part, to the work of the Rotherham Together Partnership (RTP) and the new “Rotherham Plan” which would be launched in March 2017. This piece of policy work was being led by the Council’s Head of Performance, Intelligence and Improvement. However, it was recognised that neighbourhood working played a crucial role in contributing to this agenda whilst it was being developed.

 

An Elected Member Working Group was established, chaired by Councillor Yasseen, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Working and Cultural Services, comprising:-

 

·         Area Assembly Chairs/Vice Chairs.

·         A member of the Opposition Group.

·         Supported by the Chief Executive and senior internal/external partners.

 

There have been six meetings of the Elected Member Working Group. The first four were as follows:-

 

·         11th July, 2016 - scene setting and internal partner footprints.

·         26th July, 2016 - external partner footprints.

·         24th August, 2016- externally facilitated - pre-circulated desktop research and feedback from visits to other local authorities, and results of Member Survey – considered Vision/Working Principles.

·         5th September, 2016 - approved a Vision/Working Principles.

?

The Elected Member Working Group then submitted a report to Cabinet on 10th October, 2016. Cabinet approved the Vision/Working Principles put forward by the Working Group:-

 

“Putting communities at the heart of everything we do by:-

 

·           Councillors working with their communities on what matters to them,

·           Listening and working together to make a difference and

·           Supporting people from different backgrounds to get on well together . . . to help make people healthier, happier, safer and proud

 

Following Cabinet, there have been two further meetings of the Working Group:-

 

·           18th October, 2016  - considered three options for delivering the Vision

·           16th November, 2016 - received officer presentation on a potential working model

 

At the meeting of the Working Group on 16th November, 2016, there was support for a new neighbourhood working model which would result in the twenty-one electoral Wards becoming the key building blocks for supporting Councillors in their community leadership role. A complimentary project had been initiated by the Council and Rotherham Together Partnership to examine locality working across the wider partnership. This presented an opportunity to bring together other stakeholders e.g. South Yorkshire Police (SYP), Health, voluntary and community sector, and otherCouncil services to develop a holistic locality model.

 

The objective of this paper was to present a revised model of neighbourhood working, with more detail around ward level working, accountability and governance.

 

It was reported that the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board had made a number of recommendations following its consideration of the report on 31st March 2017, which Cabinet supported:

 

a)     That Cabinet be advised that the recommendations be supported.

 

b)     That training be arranged and delivered for Ward Councillors on developing Ward Plans as a matter of urgency.

 

c)     That the Cabinet Member be recommended to initiate the development of an overall strategy for Neighbourhood Working.

 

d)     That an update report on implementation of the new model be submitted to Improving Places in October 2017.

 

e)     That a further report be submitted to Overview and Scrutiny Management Board in March 2018 detailing the review of the new arrangements.

 

 

 

Resolved:-  (1)  That the recommendations for a new model of Neighbourhood Working be approved.

 

(2)  That the removal of the current Area Assembly governance framework be agreed.

 

(3)  That the dissolution of the Area Assembly Co-ordinating Groups be agreed.

 

(4)  That the approach for each Ward to be able to locally agree how to conduct citizen engagement in a flexible and innovative manner be approved. Wards can still choose to hold meetings e.g. in response to specific issues and can tailor the approach to best engage their citizens.

 

(5)  That flexible clustering to allow Wards to work together based on geography and common interest, where needed, be approved.

 

(6)  That a quarterly update from each Ward be submitted to the portfolio Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Working and Cultural Services to provide oversight across the Borough.

 

(7)  That a requirement be introduced for Ward plans to be produced and to publish outlining Ward priorities and activities aligned to the Corporate Plan.

 

(8)  That a requirement be introduced for place profiles to be developed for each of the twenty-one Wards detailing the demographics and community assets of the area; to be piloted in four Wards.

 

(9)  That the Community Leadership Fund of £1,000 per Elected Member be continued, but be spent in line with Ward plan priorities.

 

(10)  That the £30,000 currently allocated for Area Assembly Chairs from the Community Engagement budget in 2017/18 be distributed evenly to all twenty-one Wards, which will equate to £1,428 per Ward and that this budget be reviewed as part of the overall corporate budget setting process for 2018/19.

 

(11)  That Council be recommended to add £210k to the Capital Programme in 2017/18, to be funded from capital receipts, and that this budget be reviewed as part of the overall corporate budget setting process for 2018/19.

 

(12)  That £10,000 capital investment funding be allocated to each Ward from the £210k total allocation and that utilisation of this be determined by Ward priorities.

 

(13)  That decision making be delegated to Wards with spend approved by the Assistant Director of Housing and Neighbourhood Services.

 

(14)  That officers be required to explore the potential to provide support to Members to secure additional funding both internally and externally.

 

(15)  That an Annual Report on Neighbourhood Working be submitted to both the Improving Places Select Commission (IPSC) and Council.

 

(16)  That approval be given to a twelve month transitional plan to phase-in the new neighbourhood approach.

 

(17)  That the review of staffing structure supporting neighbourhood working be noted and decisions arising from the review be taken under existing delegated powers.

 

(18)  That the Council be recommended to amend the Constitution to:-

 

·                Remove the reference to Area Assemblies in the heading of Part III of the Constitution and delete Article 12 of the Constitution [Area assemblies and area assembly co-ordinating groups].

·                Remove references to Area Assemblies and Area Assembly Co-ordinating Groups from the Executive Procedure Rules.

·                Delete Rule 16(6),(7) and (8) [Conflicts of interest – membership of area assembly co-ordinating groups and overview and scrutiny committee] and references to “Chairs of Area Assemblies” and all other references to “area assemblies” in the Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules.

·                Delete references to area committees in the Access to Information Procedure Rules.

·                Delete references to area committees and area assembly co-ordinating groups in the Standing Orders.

·                Delete references to area committees in the Code of Conduct for Members and Co-opted Members.

·                Delete the reference to Chair of Area Assembly in the Members’ Allowances Scheme.

·                Remove references to area assemblies from the Scheme of Delegation for Members and Officers.

 

Supporting documents: