Memorandum by Kingston upon Hull City
I refer to the above inquiry, which was brought to
our attention by the Local Government Association, and enclose
evidence of some of the activities that the City Council has carried
out to increase public participation in the democratic process
and determine public opinion.
These documents are based around the following
(iv) Hull700700Ideas Project;
(v) "The Case for Unitary StatusA
Survey of Residents";
(vi) Highways and Road Safety Public Consultations;
The information supplied should be self-explanatory
and provide an outline of the aims, objectives and successes of
each of these issues. However, should you require any further
information please do not hesitate to contact me.
Councillor P J Doyle, MA, LLD, DLitt
Leader of Kingston upon Hull City Council
1. OUTLINE OF
The City Council, as part of its move towards
a new political structure, set up Area Committees in January 1999.
This structure included a Cabinet with a Leader, in line with
one of the proposed models set out in the Government's White Paper,
Modernising Local Government: In Touch with the People.
The role of the seven Area Committees is outlined
within the Code of Corporate Governance, as attached. The responsibilities
of the Area Committees are to engage the public in accordance
with Council policy and act as a consultative vehicle for the
Council. Area Committee Members also have a role in leading public
participation and supporting and creating local groups to build
on community participation.
Each Area Committee has a designated Cabinet
Portfolio Holder in attendance whose role is to feed information
back to the Cabinet on current local issues and concerns.
All regular meetings of the Area Committees
include a 30-minute question and answer session on local issues
and the Committee's business. Meetings are held in public within
the area to encourage local participation and transparency in
the decision-making process. The meetings have been arranged at
different times and venues to maximise public attendances.
The Council has also set aside £50,000
for each ward within the City to be used for community initiatives.
This budget is to be distributed by the Area Committees after
consultation with the local community.
2. AIMS AND
The Council's aim in creating a new political
structure was to promote accountability, transparency, integrity
and openness. The process has included devolving responsibility
for certain service delivery to Area Committees and in the future
will involve some disaggregated budgetary control to a local level.
The Area Committees have particular strengths
in providing a public platform for debate on the Council's service
provision within the City at a local level. This is of particular
benefit when identifying pressures and determining service priorities.
The spending of the Community Initiative Budget may also be informed
in this way. Its usage is determined through public consultation
and funding is spent where the greatest local community needs
Although the political structure is still in
its early stages public attendance levels and participation in
the discussion sessions have been encouraging. The variety of
questions and concerns raised at these meetings has also been
The Area Committees also have a dedicated team
of officers concentrating on the needs and concerns of the local
community and engage in capacity building.
During the early stages weaknesses occurred
in developing the role of the Area Committees. However, this has
now been overcome and good practices are spreading and working
relationships being built between the Council and stakeholders.
Area Committees have already become a significant
"sounding-board" in the programme of implementing city-wide
initiatives such as the collection of household waste in wheeled
bins, the housing stock reduction strategy, and housing refurbishments
priorities. The circulation of a revised strategy for the collection
of wheeled bins within the City to each of the Area Committees
brought about a refinement of Council policy. Instead of a single
service for the whole of the City, local solutions, where possible,
were made available to deal with difficulties raised within each
of the Area Committees.
The Area Committees have also been involved
with circulating various questionnaires to their local communities
to gain a better understanding of their needs and concerns. Examples
of these are attached.
The Humberside Police has also now amended its
area boundaries to tie into those of the Area Committees and a
representative of the police is assigned to each of the committees.
The police also attend officer meetings, which further develops
the partnership approach of the Council and the local police in
tackling crime and antisocial behaviour at a local level.
Area Committee Agenda, Minutes and Papers
Examples of Public Questions/Concerns raised
at Area Committees
Examples of questionnaires distributed
Average Attendances by the Public at Area Committees
8 Material relating to items (ii) to (vii) inclusive
not printed. Back