CABINET CALL: By Roger Gambba-Jones
It’s often said that if asked what the district council does, the majority of residents would reply ‘empty the bins’ and then struggle to think of much else. Some will know that the council is responsible for determining planning applications, mainly because they’ve either made an application or found themselves impacted by a proposal for some form of development.
This isn’t a criticism of the public, but rather an acknowledgement that much of what the council does isn’t immediately obvious, even though it is critical to the overall wellbeing of the district and its residents.
As a way of improving links between the various council departments responsible for the ‘place’ we all live and or work in, the council has created a new role of Place Manager.
As well as having responsibility for those services that empty the bins and determine planning applications, our Place Manager will also be directly responsible for the performance of our housing and communities teams.
The housing team manages the council’s housing stock, monitors the quality of our local rental housing provision and deals with homelessness - all very much focused on the place around us.
The communities team also has a very diverse, place based role.
They deal with anti-social behaviour and running our CCTV systems. They also work with community organisations, support and organise events as well as encouraging community involvement.
The ultimate goal of what is a council-wide restructure, is to both increase our capacity and improve lines of communication between our many services.
This will help people needing information, support or assistance from the council, to get what they need in a more efficient and effective way.
It will also enable us to look for income-generating commercial opportunities, essential to ensuring that our front line services are maintained without the need to increase the financial burden on local taxpayers.