Agenda item

Area Based Working Update

The paper provides an update on the significant progress that is being made by Town Centre Managers and Neighbourhood Managers, leading on the council’s new area based approach.  The report summarises the achievements in the first 6-15 months of operation for X4 Town Centre Managers (TCMs) and in the first 7 months of operation for X5 Neighbourhood Managers (NMs). It also provides a summary of the objectives and deliverables for 2018/19 for TCMs and NMs, and a summary of medium-long term plans.

 

Minutes:

At the invitation of the Chair, Councillor Tatler (Lead Member for Regeneration, Highways and Planning) introduced the report on the progress made by the Town Centre Managers and Neighbourhood Managers leading on the council’s new area based approach. The report before the committee summarised the achievements made in the first six to fifteen months of operation of four Town Centre Managers (TCMs) and the first seven months of operation for the five Neighbourhood Managers (NMs). The report also summarised the objectives and deliverables for 2018/19 and the medium-long term plans. Councillor Tatler emphasised that the approach described recognised that each area had different needs and requirements. Councillor Krupa Sheth (Lead Member for Environment) highlighted that there had been lots of positive feedback from residents, businesses and community groups regarding the new area based approach and work of the NMs and TCMs.

 

The Chair welcomed Shirley Holmes (NM), Rubina Charalambous (TCM) and Richard Hay (TCM) to the meeting, alongside officers Matthew Dibben (Head of Employment Skills and Enterprise), Simon Finney (Head of Neighbourhood Management) and Rosalyn Flowers (Economic Growth Senior Manager).

 

In the subsequent discussion, the committee questioned whether NMs and TCMs would develop closer working relationships with the ward councillors for their areas, noting the scope for both strategic and resident level working. Clarification was sought regarding the working relationships between NMs and TCMs, noting that certain issues impacted across the remits. The committee further noted that some NMs made greater use of social media, for instance to engage with resident forums, and questioned how the council could support NMs in developing social media skills. The committee asked the NMs and TCMs to comment on whether there were any additional resources or tools that would help to increase the productivity of their roles. The committee subsequently queried what support was available to NMs and TCMs.

 

Councillor Krupa Sheth advised that it had recently been determined that  monthly meetings would be held with NMs, TCMs and ward councillors. Councillor Tatler added that the TCMs had been established for a longer period and there was an expectation that they involved local councillors in any developments for their areas. Furthermore, action plans had been developed in consultation with ward members and were regularly reviewed. Going forward, TCMs would be asked to involve ward members in the review of these plans.

 

Clarifying the roles and expected working relationships between TCMs and NMs, Councillor Tatler advised that they worked jointly across their respective remits to achieve improvements for their areas. NMs’ primary focus was public realm issues and addressing these would deliver outcomes that would support the work of TCMs. Discussing the use of social media, Simon Finney agreed that training could be provided to encourage greater use by NMs and TCMs and advised that challenge would be provided going forward on this issue. Responding to the committee’s queries regarding resources, Richard Hay advised that a lot of the necessary tools were already in place to support his role as TCM and commented on the importance of joint working with NMs to resolve issues. Richard Hay expressed that providing hospitality was not a necessarily element of his role and rather, as long as TCMs were approachable connections were made organically. Chris Whyte emphasised that since the NM posts were established they had largely been a standalone resource, however plans were now in place to expand the area based working approach to provide dedicated services around these positions, for instance, allocating dedicated enforcement officers

 

With the permission of the Chair, a member of the public commented positively on the NM and  TCM roles and highlighted a number of issues for attention. Chris Whyte agreed to follow these matters up with the resident and NM as appropriate.

 

The Chair thanked everyone for their contribution to the meeting.

 

RESOLVED:

 

i)     The committee expressed its thanks to all the officers involved for their hard work;

 

ii)    That the Cabinet note the committee’s endorsement of the move towards neighbourhood based working;

 

iii)   That the Strategic Director for Regeneration and Environment ensure that the council offer training to all Neighbourhood Managers and Town Centre Managers to ensure all officers in these positions have sufficient skills to utilise social media to support their work with the community and report back to the committee on the impact of this training.

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