‘Parish coun­cils can step up’

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

PARISHES across Buck­ing­hamshire are be­ing urged to work to­gether more closely with the County Coun­cil to serve res­i­dents.

At a county-wide Work­ing To­gether meet­ing on Wed­nes­day, Novem­ber 25, Bucks County Coun­cil Leader Martin Tett said towns and parishes were strong build­ing blocks for pro­vid­ing ser­vices to the com­mu­nity.

Forty-six towns and parishes al­ready carry out de­volved high­ways and trans­port ser­vices from a to­tal county-wide bud­get of £945,000.

The con­fer­ence, hosted by the county coun­cil at Amer­sham King’s Church cen­tre, aimed to show­case op­por­tu­ni­ties to de­volve more ser­vices to parish and town coun­cils and to ex­plore the kinds of ser­vices in which parishes would be in­ter­ested.

Se­nior county coun­cil direc­tors out­lined the chal­lenges fac­ing ser­vices for chil­dren and young peo­ple, com­mu­ni­ties, health, adult so­cial care, the en­vi­ron­ment and the lo­cal econ­omy – and they said parishes were uniquely placed to make a crit­i­cal con­tri­bu­tion in th­ese ar­eas.

The con­fer­ence was held against a back­drop of bud­get pres­sure on up­per tier lo­cal au­thor­i­ties and on the day chan­cel­lor Ge­orge Os­borne pre­sented his au­tumn spend­ing re­view.

Leader Martin Tett said: “The changes in lo­cal gov­ern­ment fund­ing of­fer the real op­por­tu­nity for town and parish coun­cils to step for­ward and take on new pow­ers and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties. Those with am­bi­tion can play a key role in both de­liv­er­ing ser­vices to their res­i­dents and shap­ing their com­mu­ni­ties. There are op­por­tu­ni­ties for in­creased de­vo­lu­tion across all coun­cil ser­vices.”

Chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Lo­cal Coun­cils, Jonathan Owen, urged parish del­e­gates to get in­volved and not to miss the op­por­tu­nity to re­shape pub­lic ser­vices.

He en­cour­aged parishes to keep telling res­i­dents about the vi­tal role they played and said they needed to be bet­ter at de­liv­er­ing more thor­ough, strong part­ner­ships with each other and with prin­ci­pal au­thor­i­ties like Buck­ing­hamshire County Coun­cil.

Con­fer­ence chair­man and Bucks County Coun­cil’s cab­i­net mem­ber for com­mu­nity en­gage­ment Martin Phillips said: “There are many things that parishes and towns are bet­ter placed to do lo­cally than prin­ci­pal au­thor­i­ties like Buck­ing­hamshire County Coun­cil, and I’m pleased we’re tak­ing a lead­ing role in help­ing them to be more in­flu­en­tial, more linked in with us, and em­pow­er­ing them to make things bet­ter for their res­i­dents.”

Con­fer­ence chair­man

Martin Phillips

‘Lead­ing role’:

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