New ward budgets on agenda

THE Mayor of Hartlepool and councillors were due to discuss the creation of a new budget for members to spend in their wards today.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s cabinet committee will examine the details of how the £181,500 ward fund will work.

The council previously agreed that the fund be allocated equally to all councillors to address specific resident and ward issues.

It will replace a minor works budget previously allocated to Neighbourhood Consultative Forums by the council.

Meeting papers say it is assumed that ward member budgets will not be available to be spent on individuals, but are meant for wider community benefits for the ward.

A report stated: “Members will be expected to consult with each other to ensure that there is no duplication of expenditure.

“It is assumed that the intention is not for ward member budgets to be expended on services which are already provided by the council, unless it is for the purpose of enhancing upon the level of service currently provided.

“Similarly the funds are not intended to be used to provide services which are provided by other public agencies unless the purpose is to supplement what is already being provided.

“It is recognised that ward member budgets would need to be subject to various procedural arrangements to ensure accountability and transparency of decision-making.”

The cabinet is being asked to delegate powers to the assistant director for Neighbourhood Services and approve the application framework.