Neighbourhood Councils

Next year the Localism Bill will come before Parliament, giving power to local groups to have a greater say in how services are delivered in their areas. It is important that Residents Associations are a part of this, and we have attended a preliminary workshop organised by the Community and Voluntary Sector Forum to introduce the initiative. Whilst the motives are admirable, the practicalities present a range of problems and there is considerable concern about responsibility for budget management and expenditure being devolved to voluntary groups and the risks such a commitment may entail. There is also a possibly contentious overlap with elected representatives, the Ward Councillors, and the question of just how representative some voluntary groups really are. There is clearly some way to go on this.