Bidston and Claughton Area Forum | St James Centre | 5th February 2013 | Part 1

Bidston & Claughton Area Forum | St James Centre | 5th February 2013 Part 1 | Proposals abolishing Area Forums

Bidston & Claughton Area Forum
St James Centre

Ian Brand (Lead Officer)
Tracey Smith (Community Engagement)
Jim Parsons (Community Rep)
Jean McIntosh (Community Rep)
Pat Lansborough (Community Rep)
Steve Preston (Community Safety)
Paul Murphy (Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service)
Cllr Denise Roberts (Chair)
Cllr Harry Smith
Cllr Steve Foulkes
Cllr George Davies
Cllr Ann McLachlan

+ various members of the public

The Chair, Cllr Denise Roberts welcomed people to the Bidston & Claughton Area Forum and asked the Lead Officer, Ian Brand to read out a statement. Ian Brand said it was a standard statement that was being read at each Area Forum. A report proposing a new approach had been recommended in January and would be voted on by councillors in the coming weeks. The proposal was for four neighbourhood teams, with devolved decision-making and budgets. These would consist of multi agency teams including the local authority, police, health, fire and would result in the abolition of the eleven Area Forums.

These local committees would draw down and allocate resources based on a neighbourhood plan. The benefits would be that costs would be reduced and there would be better outcomes for local people. The area covered would be each of the four parliamentary constituencies which would each have a public service board, chaired by councillors. There would also be an overarching Wirral Together Public Service Board. If the proposal was agreed it would be implemented from May 1st [2013]. Ian Brand said he would be happy to go over any points people missed and answer questions.

Various questions were then asked of Mr. Brand. He answered that the new public service boards would replace the Area Forums covering the area of a parliamentary constituency (in this case Birkenhead). Details such as allocation of funding was yet to be finalised. Cllr George Davies pointed out that the Birkenhead public service board would cover the existing wards of Bidston & St. James, Birkenhead and Tranmere, Claughton, Prenton, Oxton and Rock Ferry. Cllr Roberts said that people would get more news at the next Forum.

Tracey Smith said that on one issue from the last Forum, on the changes to Council Tax Benefit and Housing Benefit, the finance department had provided a detailed response from Neil Powell which was attached to the minutes of the last meeting.

Cllr Harry Smith pointed out that he’d attended the last meeting, but that this wasn’t reflected in the minutes. Cllr Roberts apologised and asked if there were any questions arising from the minutes.