New partnership group group

CIVIC chiefs will be asked to back major changes to the way a council interacts with the community and its partners.

Hartlepool Borough Council carried out a review into the way it engages with the public, voluntary sector and business.

It is proposing a series of changes as part of a radical overhaul.

The changes are being put forward because less money is available, changes to the law and the Government’s Big Society initiative.

The way the council engages with the community and stakeholders is planned to be overseen by a new Strategic Partnership Group headed by Mayor Stuart Drummond.

A council report says it will bring together the key public sector agencies along with representatives from the voluntary and community sector.

It will meet four times a year, but will not be a decision-making body.

The group will be backed up by four “theme groups” incorporating the existing Safer Hartlepool Partnership and Health and Wellbeing board.

Two new groups will focus on jobs, the economy and education with another for housing.

Each group’s chairman will also sit on the Strategic Partnership Group.

A council report said: “The recommendations have been prepared following a review of how the council interacts and engages with local residents and stakeholders.

“They take account of the current financial position of the authority and changes in national policy that the local authority needs to take account of in its arrangements.”

It is also proposed to hold four Face the Public events during the year.

Another proposal is to disband the role of resident representative and replace them with new Neighbourhood Voices based on the town’s new ward boundaries due to come in next year.

Due to a drop in resources, the council is proposing to reduce the number of Neighbourhood Action Plans which work with eight priority neighbourhoods deemed as being in the top 10 per cent nationally for deprivation.

Instead the council will focus only on those in the top five per cent.

The proposals are set to be discussed by Hartlepool’s cabinet next Monday.