With major cuts to public services it is natural to think that politicians would be keen to make cuts in areas that have little impact on the public. Naturally one of those areas being considered was Area Committees.
Currently the City Council has divided the city up into 8 areas plus the city centre. In each of these 8 areas there is an Area Committee made up of Local Councillors and elected community representatives. They meet every 2 months to hear reports from Council Officers about services in their area, to agree how to spend their allocation of money of approximately £30,000 and to be consulted on how services are provided locally. For example the Parks Section last year outlined 3 possible colour schemes that could be used in each area for flower planters e.g. on lamp posts. In otherwords less than crucial matters.
They are supposed to provide a way for the city council to talk to and get the views of local residents. Unsurprisingly only a small handful of residents actually attend these.
So naturally council officers suggested making savings by cutting Area Committees. Councillor Jon Collins has said clearly that Area Committees will not be cut.
It would be nice to think this was because he really cared about resident involvement. But all the rumours are that Area Committees were really set up as a sop to councillors who have no real power city wide. And Collins does not want to risk alienating these councillors by cutting the Area Committees and exposing the lack of power so many Councillors actually have.