Concerns over future of community partnership

CONCERNS have been raised about the future of a partnership set up to promote Salisbury.

The Salisbury City Community Area Partnership (SCAP) was set up five years ago so people in the city to have their voices heard and their views included in a community plan.

It is open to all members of the community – including residents, city and parish councillors, businesses, and representatives from the police, fire service and health services.

Wessex Community Action has been paid by Wiltshire Council to provide administration since the partnership was set up in 2009, but due to a cut in funding it now has to change the way it operates.

“What we are trying to do is keep the partnership together,” said area board chairman Cllr Ricky Rogers.

“There is a reduction in revenue funding and we’ve got to try to keep the community groups and partnerships working in a different way.”

The area board is hoping Salisbury City Council will work with Wiltshire Council to take on the running of the partnership.

“We were in a situation where we were paying an outside agency to do what we could do ourselves,” said Cllr Rogers. But concerns have been raised about the impact on the partnership’s political independence.

Wiltshire councillor Richard Clewer, a former chairman of the area board, said: “My view is that we need to know what the community really wants, not what councillors want for it.

“It is absolutely not what the partnership is for. It is not about councillors taking over. This is a political takeover of what is not supposed to be a political group.”

But Cllr Rogers said: “We can’t do nothing; that’s not an option. There is no suggestion of area board members or city councillors taking over. The role is to give some of the theme groups added support and make them feel a bit more important.

“We want councillors to support them and make sure their ideas turn into some sort of project they can bring back to Salisbury Area Board for grant funding.”

The proposals are set to be discussed at the next Salisbury Area Board meeting.

Comments (11)

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11:27am Wed 19 Mar 14

karlmarx says...

"Wiltshire councillor Richard Clewer, a former chairman of the area board, said: “My view is that we need to know what the community really wants"

And a good example of this very noble principle can be seen in the closure of Salisbury police station, amongst many similar decisions.
"Wiltshire councillor Richard Clewer, a former chairman of the area board, said: “My view is that we need to know what the community really wants" And a good example of this very noble principle can be seen in the closure of Salisbury police station, amongst many similar decisions. karlmarx
  • Score: -3

10:39pm Wed 19 Mar 14

Richard Clewer says...

I understand why you are having a political dig Karl but the police station is an entirely different issue to the Community Partnership.

Decisions about the police station in the end of the day need to be made by the police based on operational requirements.

The Salisbury Community Area Partnership is supposed to be a body working along side the area board. It should not be a political body but is supposed to bring together different community groups and individuals. It is designed to allow the community to come up with views on issues around education or transport or the environment. It is then down to the Area Board for transport, or the Sixth Form College or Technical College teams for education to try to assess if what is asked for is viable and to try to deliver it.

To give an example, one of the ideas from the Tourism theme group of SCAP was to improve tourist signage in the City. As a result I looked at the issue with officers and other Councillors and secured funding for the brown signs on the edge of the city (something we are now 2/3rds of the way through completing). The Transport theme group of SCAP suggested among other ideas that we should look at the idea of a bypass. That is something which has lots of public support but on investigation is not currently viable as it would cost several hundred million pounds. In the area of Education, many of the ideas from the SCAP theme group are now comming to fruition being delivered by other bodies which is great to see.

Those are ideas comming from SCAP at the behest of members of the community.

The proposals put before the area board (and we first saw them as the meeting started which didn't give much time to review them) are for a new City Partnership (sadly lacking Community in its title) with Councillors leading the themed groups. Councillors get plenty of opportunities to push forward their own ideas and projects. I think it is really important to also gather the ideas of the voluntary sector, those who are interested in the future of the City but don't have time to stand for election and so on. They should be encoured to come up with their ideas without political leadership and it shoudl then be incumbent on politicans to deliver those ideas if possible and practiable.
I understand why you are having a political dig Karl but the police station is an entirely different issue to the Community Partnership. Decisions about the police station in the end of the day need to be made by the police based on operational requirements. The Salisbury Community Area Partnership is supposed to be a body working along side the area board. It should not be a political body but is supposed to bring together different community groups and individuals. It is designed to allow the community to come up with views on issues around education or transport or the environment. It is then down to the Area Board for transport, or the Sixth Form College or Technical College teams for education to try to assess if what is asked for is viable and to try to deliver it. To give an example, one of the ideas from the Tourism theme group of SCAP was to improve tourist signage in the City. As a result I looked at the issue with officers and other Councillors and secured funding for the brown signs on the edge of the city (something we are now 2/3rds of the way through completing). The Transport theme group of SCAP suggested among other ideas that we should look at the idea of a bypass. That is something which has lots of public support but on investigation is not currently viable as it would cost several hundred million pounds. In the area of Education, many of the ideas from the SCAP theme group are now comming to fruition being delivered by other bodies which is great to see. Those are ideas comming from SCAP at the behest of members of the community. The proposals put before the area board (and we first saw them as the meeting started which didn't give much time to review them) are for a new City Partnership (sadly lacking Community in its title) with Councillors leading the themed groups. Councillors get plenty of opportunities to push forward their own ideas and projects. I think it is really important to also gather the ideas of the voluntary sector, those who are interested in the future of the City but don't have time to stand for election and so on. They should be encoured to come up with their ideas without political leadership and it shoudl then be incumbent on politicans to deliver those ideas if possible and practiable. Richard Clewer
  • Score: 4

10:10am Thu 20 Mar 14

karlmarx says...

If you read the comment I posted you will notice that it isn't a criticism of 'The Salisbury Community Area Partnership' but on the theory of 'My view is that we need to know what the community really wants', two entirely different subjects.
Judging by the turnout for the local PCC elections..."Police and crime commissioner elections around England and Wales have seen a record low in terms of national turnout - less than 15% in 41 areas." the communities really didn't want these quangos installed but they went ahead anyway. I also recall the outcry that union votes should be made null and void if the turnout was less than 50% a few years back, need I say more?
If you read the comment I posted you will notice that it isn't a criticism of 'The Salisbury Community Area Partnership' but on the theory of 'My view is that we need to know what the community really wants', two entirely different subjects. Judging by the turnout for the local PCC elections..."Police and crime commissioner elections around England and Wales have seen a record low in terms of national turnout - less than 15% in 41 areas." the communities really didn't want these quangos installed but they went ahead anyway. I also recall the outcry that union votes should be made null and void if the turnout was less than 50% a few years back, need I say more? karlmarx
  • Score: -6

8:36pm Thu 20 Mar 14

FreeBornJohn says...

I'm with Karl on this one. The issue is that politicians say we want to listen to you. Then they ignore what is said to them. Often, consultation is a complete sham and more often than not politicians will lie, disassemble and mislead.

Karl raises the issue of nine jobs PCC. During election time no mention of losing 200 staff, he would definitely not close the Police station, but then we all know what happens next. Cllr Clwer is wrong, this was not an operational Police issue at all but a political one.

Then we have cllrs voting themselves massive pay rises, which is disgusting.

This is why the public almost come to despise their elected representatives. If you want to know what the public want, they want an end to self serving, corrupt, lying and incompetent politicians.
I'm with Karl on this one. The issue is that politicians say we want to listen to you. Then they ignore what is said to them. Often, consultation is a complete sham and more often than not politicians will lie, disassemble and mislead. Karl raises the issue of nine jobs PCC. During election time no mention of losing 200 staff, he would definitely not close the Police station, but then we all know what happens next. Cllr Clwer is wrong, this was not an operational Police issue at all but a political one. Then we have cllrs voting themselves massive pay rises, which is disgusting. This is why the public almost come to despise their elected representatives. If you want to know what the public want, they want an end to self serving, corrupt, lying and incompetent politicians. FreeBornJohn
  • Score: 1

5:52am Sat 22 Mar 14

karlmarx says...

"I understand why you are having a political dig Karl but the police station is an entirely different issue to the Community Partnership.
Decisions about the police station in the end of the day need to be made by the police based on operational requirements."

Complete and total brainwashed rubbish. If you really delude yourself into believing that decisions are based upon anything other than cost cutting then don't blame people for having a political dig. The decisions made regarding police station closures and reducing the number of police officers up and down the country had nothing at all to do with operational requirements and, more to do with central government budget cuts. That's why the British public had to endure the hugely expensive fiasco of the PCC elections (lowest turnout in election history) just so this government could install axe men to push through the cuts.

Hence the saying “My view is that we need to know what the community really wants, not what councillors want for it." can be translated into "My view is that we need to know what the community really wants, not what PCCs want for it."

How exactly do you find out what the community really wants? Do you hold elections or referendums on important decisions? Do you send questionnaires out to the general public? Of all the junk mail I receive through my letter box from various councils and their quangos not one has ever asked for my opinion on anything.
"I understand why you are having a political dig Karl but the police station is an entirely different issue to the Community Partnership. Decisions about the police station in the end of the day need to be made by the police based on operational requirements." Complete and total brainwashed rubbish. If you really delude yourself into believing that decisions are based upon anything other than cost cutting then don't blame people for having a political dig. The decisions made regarding police station closures and reducing the number of police officers up and down the country had nothing at all to do with operational requirements and, more to do with central government budget cuts. That's why the British public had to endure the hugely expensive fiasco of the PCC elections (lowest turnout in election history) just so this government could install axe men to push through the cuts. Hence the saying “My view is that we need to know what the community really wants, not what councillors want for it." can be translated into "My view is that we need to know what the community really wants, not what PCCs want for it." How exactly do you find out what the community really wants? Do you hold elections or referendums on important decisions? Do you send questionnaires out to the general public? Of all the junk mail I receive through my letter box from various councils and their quangos not one has ever asked for my opinion on anything. karlmarx
  • Score: -4

7:54pm Sat 22 Mar 14

karlmarx says...

"This is a political takeover of what is not supposed to be a political group.”

It's quite ironic that you should mention this as this is EXACTLY what people have said and continue to say about the unwanted PCCs.

An article from Liberty, a campaigning organisation with 80 years of expertise who protect civil liberties and promote human rights for everyone...

"A year of PCCs
14 November 2013
Author: Isabella Sankey, Policy Director
Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) mark their first year in office today but any celebrations are likely to be muted. With the anniversary comes evidence suggesting extremely limited public support or awareness for PCCs.

A BBC poll found that more than a third of people in England and Wales have no idea if there’s even a PCC in their area, while a YouGov poll found that only 10 per cent of people asked thought that Commissioners gave them more input into how their local area was policed. Only 9 per cent of those asked thought PCCs had contributed to a fall in crime.

It’s not surprising the Government has failed to convince the public on this. Fewer than one in five of us bothered to vote in the PCC elections, and no evidence was ever provided to show need for the reform.

Of course people should have a say in how their neighbourhood is policed, and officers must be accountable to the public. But partisan visibility can easily have the opposite effect - alienating particular communities and undermining credibility.

By rooting police accountability at the ballot box, Ministers have risked politicising policing. Police independence is as fundamental to the Rule of Law as the courts’ neutrality and the judiciary’s independence. It allows everyone to feel protected regardless of race, religion, class or politics. How can such impartiality be maintained now that forces fall under the control of politically-motivate
d figureheads? PCCs are overwhelmingly white and male – a marked contrast to the previous diversity of Police Authorities.

And with the PCC position tied to the vote, policing priorities will inevitably be skewed by those who shout loudest and in favour of popular demands – risking topics such as antisocial behaviour being elevated above less visible police work vital to tackling crime. This is a particular concern given the staggeringly low elections turnout.

The influential cross-party Home Affairs Select Committee hasn’t been impressed with PCCs so far – expressing worries over their ability to side-step statutory processes for firing Chief Constables and the lack of checks on salaries and standards.

The endeavour has failed. With PCCs representing the interests of millions in some areas, only serious principled reform can ensure those people’s interests are properly safeguarded in future."

Community voices heard, and ignored.
"This is a political takeover of what is not supposed to be a political group.” It's quite ironic that you should mention this as this is EXACTLY what people have said and continue to say about the unwanted PCCs. An article from Liberty, a campaigning organisation with 80 years of expertise who protect civil liberties and promote human rights for everyone... "A year of PCCs 14 November 2013 Author: Isabella Sankey, Policy Director Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) mark their first year in office today but any celebrations are likely to be muted. With the anniversary comes evidence suggesting extremely limited public support or awareness for PCCs. A BBC poll found that more than a third of people in England and Wales have no idea if there’s even a PCC in their area, while a YouGov poll found that only 10 per cent of people asked thought that Commissioners gave them more input into how their local area was policed. Only 9 per cent of those asked thought PCCs had contributed to a fall in crime. It’s not surprising the Government has failed to convince the public on this. Fewer than one in five of us bothered to vote in the PCC elections, and no evidence was ever provided to show need for the reform. Of course people should have a say in how their neighbourhood is policed, and officers must be accountable to the public. But partisan visibility can easily have the opposite effect - alienating particular communities and undermining credibility. By rooting police accountability at the ballot box, Ministers have risked politicising policing. Police independence is as fundamental to the Rule of Law as the courts’ neutrality and the judiciary’s independence. It allows everyone to feel protected regardless of race, religion, class or politics. How can such impartiality be maintained now that forces fall under the control of politically-motivate d figureheads? PCCs are overwhelmingly white and male – a marked contrast to the previous diversity of Police Authorities. And with the PCC position tied to the vote, policing priorities will inevitably be skewed by those who shout loudest and in favour of popular demands – risking topics such as antisocial behaviour being elevated above less visible police work vital to tackling crime. This is a particular concern given the staggeringly low elections turnout. The influential cross-party Home Affairs Select Committee hasn’t been impressed with PCCs so far – expressing worries over their ability to side-step statutory processes for firing Chief Constables and the lack of checks on salaries and standards. The endeavour has failed. With PCCs representing the interests of millions in some areas, only serious principled reform can ensure those people’s interests are properly safeguarded in future." Community voices heard, and ignored. karlmarx
  • Score: -3

2:51pm Sun 23 Mar 14

Grampie says...

I think if local people were given the choice, they would want the old Salisbury District Council back.
Local people having a say in local issues, not by some faceless person in Trowbridge.

How about a say in local car parking charges for a start?

(How many dislikes can I rack up for this comment?)
I think if local people were given the choice, they would want the old Salisbury District Council back. Local people having a say in local issues, not by some faceless person in Trowbridge. How about a say in local car parking charges for a start? (How many dislikes can I rack up for this comment?) Grampie
  • Score: 3

9:02am Mon 24 Mar 14

Richard Clewer says...

The public are being given a view on parking charges in the review that has just started. I hope that they also consider that parking charges and bus subsidies are linked and that a reduction in parking revenue means fewer buses going out to the villages around Salisbury and making it more difficult for people in villages without a car to get into the city centre.

The District Council to Unitary decision was taken in Westminster by the last Government. I would agree that the public were not listened to then, I would also point out that we are in a much better state in terms of services in Wiltshire as a result of the Unitary Council than we would have been under the old system (I opposed the creation of Wiltshire Council for the record).

The PCC system is another one coming from Westminster (under the current government). The decision to close the police station is however an operational one and not a political one. I have been shown the station as part of the shadow COB board. It is empty and the police are maintaining a building which is not considered fit for their purposes. That is why they want to move to a better designed location.

None of this changes the fact that I believe we need to listen to the public and get them to set the agenda for changes in the City where ever possible. Putting Councillors in charge of the Community Partnership will not help that happen.
The public are being given a view on parking charges in the review that has just started. I hope that they also consider that parking charges and bus subsidies are linked and that a reduction in parking revenue means fewer buses going out to the villages around Salisbury and making it more difficult for people in villages without a car to get into the city centre. The District Council to Unitary decision was taken in Westminster by the last Government. I would agree that the public were not listened to then, I would also point out that we are in a much better state in terms of services in Wiltshire as a result of the Unitary Council than we would have been under the old system (I opposed the creation of Wiltshire Council for the record). The PCC system is another one coming from Westminster (under the current government). The decision to close the police station is however an operational one and not a political one. I have been shown the station as part of the shadow COB board. It is empty and the police are maintaining a building which is not considered fit for their purposes. That is why they want to move to a better designed location. None of this changes the fact that I believe we need to listen to the public and get them to set the agenda for changes in the City where ever possible. Putting Councillors in charge of the Community Partnership will not help that happen. Richard Clewer
  • Score: 3

2:14pm Tue 25 Mar 14

Grampie says...

Richard wrote "The District Council to Unitary decision was taken in Westminster by the last Government."

With the support of Conservative controlled District councils, because they could see that they would almost stay Conservative for ever. Only Salisbury District Council opposed it.

A shocking decision by the then government .

Since WC took over, the roads have got worse, the parking charges have gone up, good people have been thrown on the scrap heap. kids centres are closing, the bus station has closed, the police station affair is a shambles and now the coach station is on the move.

"in a much better state in terms of services in Wiltshire as a result of the Unitary Council than we would have been under the old system"

You are joking.
Richard wrote "The District Council to Unitary decision was taken in Westminster by the last Government." With the support of Conservative controlled District councils, because they could see that they would almost stay Conservative for ever. Only Salisbury District Council opposed it. A shocking decision by the then government . Since WC took over, the roads have got worse, the parking charges have gone up, good people have been thrown on the scrap heap. kids centres are closing, the bus station has closed, the police station affair is a shambles and now the coach station is on the move. "in a much better state in terms of services in Wiltshire as a result of the Unitary Council than we would have been under the old system" You are joking. Grampie
  • Score: -1

3:08pm Tue 25 Mar 14

karlmarx says...

"None of this changes the fact that I believe we need to listen to the public and get them to set the agenda for changes in the City where ever possible"

I would expect that listening to the public includes 'awarding themselves £19,000 pay rises and 36% allowance increases' and we all know the outcome of that sordid episode, roll on 2015 when we can bring these people to justice.
All together now "we're all in this together' LOL
"None of this changes the fact that I believe we need to listen to the public and get them to set the agenda for changes in the City where ever possible" I would expect that listening to the public includes 'awarding themselves £19,000 pay rises and 36% allowance increases' and we all know the outcome of that sordid episode, roll on 2015 when we can bring these people to justice. All together now "we're all in this together' LOL karlmarx
  • Score: -1

4:49pm Tue 25 Mar 14

Richard Clewer says...

What Wiltshire Council has done is to put us in a much stronger financial position than we would have been as District Councils (Salisbury was not the only District to oppose it by the way). We have been able to save a huge amount of money in operational costs and as a result have avoided 'throwing people on the scrap heap' as you put it. We have maintained all our sure start centres (the reductions that have come have been in central government grant no Wiltshire Council grant). The Bus Station has closed because the bus company wanted to close it. I seem to recall that it is the Conservatives who are trying to keep it running as a station in the face of opposition from other parties. The Coach Station will move into a better facility as a result of the work the Vision Working group has done. The only shambles around the police station is that the police have remained based there for this long. They will be getting purpose built facilities set up with the partners they work with and meeting their requirements. I cannot understand how anyone is against that for the sake of retaining a building which is out of date, not fit for purpose and massively costly to run. The money the police save in moving will allow more officers to be retained on the 'frontline' I would have thought we should all be in favour of that.

Wiltshire Council is spending more on the roads and we are slowly getting them fixed. They look bad now because it is the end of Winter and the tail end of the worst flooding in as long as people can remember.

Back to the topic, do you accept that politicians should be listening to the Community and responding to their needs, or do you think that Councillors should be in charge of the community theme groups. That is the matter at hand.
What Wiltshire Council has done is to put us in a much stronger financial position than we would have been as District Councils (Salisbury was not the only District to oppose it by the way). We have been able to save a huge amount of money in operational costs and as a result have avoided 'throwing people on the scrap heap' as you put it. We have maintained all our sure start centres (the reductions that have come have been in central government grant no Wiltshire Council grant). The Bus Station has closed because the bus company wanted to close it. I seem to recall that it is the Conservatives who are trying to keep it running as a station in the face of opposition from other parties. The Coach Station will move into a better facility as a result of the work the Vision Working group has done. The only shambles around the police station is that the police have remained based there for this long. They will be getting purpose built facilities set up with the partners they work with and meeting their requirements. I cannot understand how anyone is against that for the sake of retaining a building which is out of date, not fit for purpose and massively costly to run. The money the police save in moving will allow more officers to be retained on the 'frontline' I would have thought we should all be in favour of that. Wiltshire Council is spending more on the roads and we are slowly getting them fixed. They look bad now because it is the end of Winter and the tail end of the worst flooding in as long as people can remember. Back to the topic, do you accept that politicians should be listening to the Community and responding to their needs, or do you think that Councillors should be in charge of the community theme groups. That is the matter at hand. Richard Clewer
  • Score: 0

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