Councillor Rebecca Lury introduced the report.
Following debate (Councillor Anood Al-Samerai), the recommendations contained with the report were put to the vote and declared Carried.
1. That Council Assembly agreed the proposal to replace Community Councils (CCs) with a more flexible and devolved Empowering Communities Programme, that promotes:
· Resident-led initiatives
· Strengthens the local leadership role of ward councillors
· Cabinet accountability
· Community Champion councillors
· Transparency of funding.
2. That council assembly noted that there would still be opportunities to discuss Cleaner Greener Safer capital programmes (CGS), Devolved Highways, and Neighbourhoods Fund applications at ward meetings. Ward councillors will take the final decisions for their respective areas. This proposal retains the popular opportunity for residents to present funding proposals for their local area.
3. That council assembly approved the creation of five Community Champions.
4. That council assembly noted that the proposed changes will require changes to Article 8 and Part 3H of the Constitution and any other consequential constitutional changes.
5. That council assembly noted that once the new structure is agreed, it would then be implemented for a year, during which time the effectiveness would be reviewed to ensure that any new model is as effective as possible in engaging the public. There will be an update on how the process is working presented to the Constitutional Steering Panel followed by a full annual review which will include feedback from residents. The purpose of these reviews is to ensure the changes are effective, inclusive and value for money. There will be evaluation of individual meetings as they take place.
That council assembly noted that the following recommendations will be considered by the Leader as an IDM:
6. To approve the creation of a Democracy Fund to allow communities to hold their own events/meetings to tackle local priorities.
7. To approve the introduction of a new Ward Fund for ward councillors to organise at least six ward based meetings a year.
8. To introduce the option for an Annual Residents' Conference.
9. The leader will be asked to delegate executive functions for Neighbourhoods Fund, CGS and Devolved Highways to ward councillors.