Haringey Community Press

Haringey Community Press

Move to help residents 'shape' council spending plans

Councillors discuss 2022/23 budget proposals

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Haringey Civic Centre

Haringey Council plans to boost spending on its engagement with residents to help them become more involved in local decision-making.

The civic centre aims to invest £100,000 to help communities take part in “shaping the services they use” and “co-producing the borough of the future”.

It comes after a “significant percentage” of communities said they did not feel they could influence the way the council plans and invests.

The extra money is set out in the budget for 2022/23, which was discussed during an overview and scrutiny briefing on Thursday.

Susie Faulkner, the council’s interim director of customer transformation and resources, told the meeting the cash would be used “to develop skills across the council and an enhanced ability to co-produce, particularly with vulnerable groups, but actually with wider communities”.

She added: “It is designed to increase the participation of seldom-heard voices. We know we have some communities who feel we don’t engage with them particularly well, and we wish to respond to that feedback.”

Susie said the aim was to develop “greater collaboration and co-production across all areas of the council”, as a “significant percentage” of communities have indicated they would like to influence the way the council plans and invests but do not feel they can.

After taking over the council in May last year, leader Peray Ahmet said she wanted to make Haringey a “genuinely collaborative council”, adding that there needed to be “a massive shift in the way the council talks to people and works with people”.

Liberal Democrat councillor Pippa Connor, who was chairing the meeting, described the proposals as “really interesting” and asked for more information to be brought back to a future session.

During the scrutiny meeting, councillors also discussed plans to boost digital access to services after Cllr Connor raised concerns over “slippages” in the savings programme. The budget papers show the council’s “digital together” scheme fell £660,000 short of the planned £750,000 savings target for the current year.

Susie said rolling out the scheme had been “a bit challenging through Covid”, as council staff had been focused on responding to the pandemic.

Seema Chandwani, cabinet member for customer service, welfare and the public realm, told the meeting the digital together programme did not involve cuts and was aimed at “bringing up the council in par with the rest of the country” in terms of its use of technology.

Susie told councillors the digital together programme would release money that could be used to manage other areas of growth.

The budget proposals for the 2022/23 financial year will be voted on at cabinet and full council before they can take effect.