Local ward councillors should be responsible for an annual grant budget of up to £10,000 a year. This will come from existing funding currently given out by Town Hall officers. Local councillors with knowledge of their own ward will be able to distribute to local voluntary and community groups, and for local projects according to a new report by the Local Government Association.
The report, Closer to People and Places, published on Monday 22nd May 2006, and backed by the leaders of all the political parties in local government, will put forward eight key proposals to enhance the role of local councillors and put them at the heart of improving people’s lives and the places they live in.
You might not know it, but we tried this (but with £5k) last year in Lewisham.
Where I was a councillor (Blackheath) we put our money into a variety of things – more hanging baskets, some new signs for the heath, some minor repair work on one estate and £250 to spend on books for all the primary schools in the ward.
I'm not sure it worked particularly well, we didn't get enough input from the public and the bureaucratic structures of the council aren't well set up to help at the ward level. But, should it continue then maybe it'll help conect councillors with parts of their wards that don't usually connect with councillors.
Of course it could just mean money going to the usual suspects and barely making a difference.