A SYSTEM of “public-council board meetings” to manage borough services will cost £100,000 a year.
Spurred on by the Government, the borough council is looking to introduce six area committees across Ellesmere Port and Neston.
A report to the council’s resources committee says these will cost £33,000 to set up in their first year, and an estimated £102,000 in 2009/10.
This is expected to rise further in 2010/11 to £105,000, to cover administrative costs and extra jobs to cope with the paperwork.
The report says: “Increasingly, the Government requires local authorities to improve the means by which they enable their citizens to contribute to the development and management of services which meet their needs.
“The White Paper Strong & Prosperous Communities makes clear the Government’s expectations for best practice in community engagement, leadership, empowerment and consultation.
“Running a system of area committees cannot be undertaken at no extra cost – given the nature of the existing committee structure.
“The impact on the council’s member services unit would need to be addressed through the establishment of administrative and committee officer posts to handle additional workload.”
The system of area committees would enable to the council to “engage more effectively” with the community and ensure services were more tailored to the local need.
“They would also act as a spur for increased partnership working with other key agencies, providing opportunities for increased collaboration, efficiency and identification, and use of locally-targeted resources,” says the report.
“This proposal is cost-effective compared to area committee networks in operation elsewhere in the UK.”