Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Ward Advisory Board

Another good meeting tonight, with the business run through in good time and in good humour.

The Ward Advisory Board consists of representatives from local groups in the ward - mostly residents' groups, but there are also political reps from the Tories and the Labour party, plus the three Liberal Democrat councillors, the police and the council team in the ward. The function is to discuss local issues and assess bids that come through for funding under the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund and Community Chest programmes.

I'm not going to go into detail about tonight's bids - they will be discussed at the next Ward Committee meeting in a couple of weeks - but I was a little disappointed at the quality of some of them. Too many bids that I've seen are scattergunned across the city in the hope of picking up some of the funding crumbs from each ward. Many bids are filled with current buzzwords, but that can come at the expense of details of what their plan entails and how it specifically relates to the ward. Give us a simply phrased proposal with clearly measurable targets and relate that to improving our ward and you have every chance of getting the money. Dress it up in flowery language in the hope that we won't spot the weaknesses or the lack of detail and you'll lose out. What's worse, if you don't get it right at this stage, the people of Acocks Green could lose out on a potentially effective project.

One thing I would like to see is greater involvement from local people in the decision-making process. There's a huge amount of experience and knowledge on the WAB, but the membership could do with a balance of younger people. How we get younger people involved in the process is the challenge. It may not be the most exciting thing in the world, but it is important and you get a chance to make a difference.