Central Bedfordshire Together has developed a comprehensive Community Engagement Strategy in discussions with Council officers, Ward Councillors, Town and Parish Councils and partners.
Residents’ views have been gathered by the Residents’ Survey and a Residents’ Discussion Workshop.
The final draft of the Strategy and Delivery Plan were endorsed at the Central Bedfordshire Together Board meeting on 13 May 2010.
The aim of the strategy is to help the public sector deliver greater added value to our citizens by understanding their needs and issues, and giving them greater involvement in the decision making process and access to public sector services.
Consultation on the draft strategy was carried out for 13 weeks from October 2009 until January 2010. A broad range of partners, officers and members were invited to respond to the consultation, which was also available on Central Bedfordshire Council’s website for all to view and respond to. Presentations were given to various partnership meetings and housing tenants’ panels.
Feedback from the consultation process has shown that overall there is strong support for all five of the principles contained in the strategy, and also the actions listed under each of them.
Implementation of the three year delivery plan for the Community Engagement Strategy will be co-ordinated by the Stronger Communities Thematic Partnership, and the Community Engagement Delivery Group. The current document is about the delivery of engagement via Central Bedfordshire Council, but more work will be undertaken in the first year to identify and include partner’s engagement activities.
The Compact is an agreement that provides an overall framework for promoting effective partnership working between the Government and the third sector.
Having recently undergone a review and refresh process, the new version of the national Compact retains all the key points of the original but takes into account recent developments in law, policy and practice. Consisting of 95 commitments: 62 for government and 33 for the third sector, it is divided into three key areas covering:
• involvement in policy development,
• allocating resources, and
• advancing equality
Our local Compact for Bedfordshire and Luton is currently being revised to reflect these changes to the national Compact, a process which will be finalised by the end of May 2010.
The Council has a statutory duty to work with partners to produce a Sustainable Community Strategy (SCS) that sets out a long-term vision for the area and agreement on the key priorities and actions needed to deliver it.
The Board of Central Bedfordshire Together has overseen the process to develop the SCS and began the process with an ambition setting workshop and visioning exercise in September 2009. The emerging vision and priorities were refined by the Statutory and Thematic Partnerships and consultation, which has been ongoing, was carried out with;
- Town and Parish Councils in November 2009;
- stakeholders at the Central Bedfordshire Forum in January 2010; and
- business views gathered at Business Leaders lunch;
- voluntary and community sector organisations at the Third Sector Assembly in February 2010.
The first draft was also presented to a number of other partnerships and forums, and feedback received. Resident’s views have been gathered from a Resident’s Survey (with 1335 responses) and a Resident’s Discussion Workshop, with 35 attendees. Elements of the vision were also shared with businesses at a Business Leaders lunch in March 2009.
Feedback from partners, stakeholders and residents confirms widespread support for the partnerships’ vision and high level strategic priorities.
The final draft of Central Bedfordshire’s first Sustainable Community Strategy 2010 – 2031 (SCS) has been recommended to Central Bedfordshire Council for approval and publication by the Central Bedfordshire Together Board.