Plans to give communities a greater say in some local highway and ‘street scene’ services such as grass cutting, floral displays and dog waste bin provision are to go ahead from April next year, following a decision by South Gloucestershire councillors tonight (Wednesday 6th November).
Members of the council’s Communities Committee approved the new approach to the ‘localism’ of street scene services after reviewing the outcomes of consultation carried out during the summer.
Under the changes, the council will continue to deliver a consistent ‘core standard’ of services throughout the district including maintaining the area’s highway network and highway structures, dealing with litter, weeds, graffiti and fly tipping, and providing a winter maintenance service to keep the network open.
Alongside this, parish and town councils and other community organisations will also be able to provide further discretionary services according to local need, such as extra grass cutting on highway verges, floral displays and dedicated dog waste bins.
These additional services could be ‘bought back’ from the council or delivered by local community or parish organisations or their contractors.
Following this summer’s consultation the council is now working closely with parish and town councils to confirm the discretionary services that they and their residents wish to receive in addition to the core standard.
To date, 26 parish and town councils have notified the council of their intentions for next year. Of these, eleven will buy back some or all of their current ‘discretionary’ services from the council, nine will have the core service alone and six have opted to make alternative arrangements for some discretionary services using either their own staff or other contractors. Unparished wards will all receive the core service.
The street scene changes form part of the council’s localism plans, which aim to help local people take greater responsibility for their communities and to give them the power to shape services to meet local needs, in partnership with the council.
The changes will also contribute to the council’s transformation programme, which aims to ensure that council services deliver the maximum value for money for local tax payers within a challenging financial environment. The overall transformation programme is expected to deliver £43m of efficiency savings over the four-year period to 2014/15, of which changes to the way street scene services are provided will contribute £328,000.
Further information on the programme is available from www.southglos.gov.uk/streetscene
Photo: South Gloucestershire Council grass cutter in Bradley Stoke. [credit: Bradley Stoke Journal]
Source: South Gloucestershire Council