Ward budgets aim to give power to communities

Community wards in Croydon Pic: Croydon Council

Croydon Council is set to devolve funding to local areas in red Pic: Croydon Council

Croydon council is set to introduce community ward budgets, which will take decision-making out the Town Hall and devolve funding to local areas across the borough.

The aim of this cross-party initiative is to create a borough-wide pilot that contracts the methods in which the council can progressively delegate decision-making and financial responsibilities.

Councillor Tony Newman, the council leader, said: “Croydon’s one of the most diverse boroughs in London, and we understand that there are different needs and issues within each community.”
A distribution of £2,000 will be given to individual councillors to be spent within their ward and in New Addington and Fieldway where there are fewer members £3,000 for each ward councillor.

Newman said: “By devolving funding and delegating powers to our communities, we can better address the priorities of our residents and enable them to have a greater say over what they would like to see happen in the area they live.”

Members will be able to use a website dedicated to each ward to gain more recognition in regards to local issues and engage with people in the community.

Alternative methods will also be considered, such as social media, the appointment of community connectors, crowd funding and community panels.

“They’ll also improve accountability as local people will be able to judge how their councillors involve them in decision-making and making changes – a good thing for local politics,” said councillor Jamie Audsley, Labour member for Bensham Manor.

He added “ for me the community ward budgets are all about giving greater power to local councillors and, in turn, the communities they are working closely with.”
Ward members would gain a sense of more freedom to work alongside their communities on the more important issues to residents.

Councillor Steve Hollands, Conservative member for Kenley ward, said: “This is an opportunity for ward members to be able to respond directly to residents rather than go through a longer process via the Town Hall. It should be a lot quicker”

The recommended proposals will be put forward to the cabinet on Monday for approval by the full council.



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