pres5hcctownparishtg26i0912

Report
Hertfordshire County Council’s relationship
with Town and Parish Councils
Town / Parish Responses
responded to the questionnaire. Of these, 49
were parish / town councillors; 26 were
clerks and 15 were chairman. 6 did not
specify what role they had
How would you generally describe the
nature of your relationship(s) with the
County Council in your division?
45% of participants described their
relationship with the County Council as
“good” or “very good”, and 35% described
the relationship as “neutral”.
However, 17% described the relationship as
“poor” or “very poor”
• How has this changed over the last 12 months?
• 80% of participants had “stayed the same” over the past 12 months.
13% said that it had “got worse”, and 7% said
it had “got better”
3. If your relationship with the town / parish
councils in your division has got better or
worse, what has changed which makes you
say that?
Got better
• Built officer relationships
More frequent meetings
Better relationships with County Councillors
Got worse
• Rarely see county councillor
‘The incinerator’
Officers are difficult to engage
Highways officers are spread too thinly
4. Please give an example of where, how
and why your relationship with the County
Council works particularly well
• Officers keeping in close contact and responding to requests quickly
Regular meetings with Highways
Approachable, helpful County Councillor
County Councillors using locality budget for
initiatives in town / parish council
5. Please give an example of where, how
and why your relationship with the County
Council may not be as good as it could be.
• Poor communication with HCC departments, e.g. Highways, Libraries,
County Council does not listen, does not consult, and is hard to get
information from.
• “There is no mechanism by which the town council can have relations with
HCC or visa versa”
“County Council officers have little
knowledge/understanding of Parish
Councils.”
• The relationship is not as good as it is with District Councils
County Council’s attitude toward parishes:
• “There sometimes remains a patronising attitude to parishes. The Parish
Charter is only given lip service.”
government. They still want to impose
change upon the residents instead of
entering in to consultation and negotiation.
They do not feel they have to enter into
discussions with Towns and Parishes on
issues that greatly affect our Town and its
residents.”
6. How would you describe your
relationship with your local County
Councillor?
• 82% of participants described their relationship with their local
County Councillor as “good” or “very good”. 12% described their
relationship as “neutral”
However, 6% described their relationship as
“bad” or “very bad”
7. How has this changed over the last 12
months?
• 83% of recipients said that their relationship with their local County
Councillor had “stayed the same” over the past 12 months.
4% said that it had “got worse”, and 13% said
it had “got better”
8. If your relationship with county
councillors in your division has got better or
worse please say what has changed that
makes you say that.
Got better
• Arranging to meet and improve communications
Councillors involving town/parish councillors
with the Highways Locality Budget and
Locality Budget Scheme
County Councillor attending more meetings
Got worse
• County Councillor ignoring issues that town / parish councillors have
raised
9. Please give an example of where, how
and why your relationship with you county
councillor works particularly well
• County Councillor is accessible and responsive
County Councillor uses locality budgets
effectively
County Councillor will go out of their way to
sort out problems for the parish council and
is supportive of local projects
County Councillor attends local meetings
County Councillor aware of local issues
10. Please give an example of where, how
and why your relationship with your county
councillor may not be as good as it could be
• More openness and engagement needed
County councillor claiming political credit for
the work of the parish council.
Representing different political parties
County Councillors adhering to County
Council policy
County Councillor does not attend parish
meetings
Poor communication
11. Does your local County Councillor attend
Town and Parish council meetings?
• 62% of recipients said that County Councillors attend town and parish
council meetings whenever they can
• 12% said they attend meetings only when there is something of
interest on the agenda
8% said that they keep the councillors
informed, but they choose not to attend
7% said they attend meetings, but only when
invited
6% said that County Councillors do not
attend, as they do not let them know when
they are taking place
6% said that they notify County Councillors,
but they choose not to attend.
12. If the County Councillor attends what is
their normal role?
• 62% of recipients said that if county councillors attend town and
parish council meetings, their role is that of proactive participant
(involved in the discussion)
• 8% of recipients said that if county councillors attend town and parish
council meetings, their role is that of a formal observer (people know
you are there but you are not expected to do anything)
20% of recipients said that if county
councillors attend town and parish council
meetings, their role is that of a reactive
participant (to present a report)
11% of recipients said that if county
councillors attend town and parish council
meetings, their role is as a member of the
public (informal not publicised)
13. What do you think generally is the role
of Parish / Town Councils in respect of
localism?
• Offering local services
Great input in decisions made about Parish
More information about localism needed
before can comment
A way to pass responsibility on to the
Parishes with additional funds
Opportunity to serve the community more
effectively
Should be greater co-operative working with
Districts and County to ensure the best
outcome for all in Hertfordshire
To be the voice of the village
To enable local communities to be central to
the decisions that affect their community
14. How can County and Parish/Town
Councillors best work together to achieve
better working in communities?
• Better communication and joint working
There should be a service agreement that
spells out what each party wants and can
give to the relationship.
Better consultation and engagement on local
issues
Joint public meetings
Parish plan
Devolving services
The principals and aspirations of the Parish
Charter taken seriously
Parishes should have key contact at County
level.
15. Are there any services that your Council
would be interested in having greater
influence over?
• Libraries
Highways
Public transport
Planning
Housing
Education
16. Are there specific assets (pieces of land
or buildings) that your Council would wish
to manage?
• No, as do not have enough resources to manage them.
Nature reserves, car parks, civic buildings,
flower beds, toilets, playing fields
17. What is your Council's interest in
neighbourhood planning?
• 56% of town and parish recipients said that they were interested in
neighbourhood planning and would like to know more
31% said that they were already working
towards a neighbourhood plan
10% said that they were not interested
18. Top five issues affecting town / parish
1. Development
2. Planning
3. Traffic
4. Roads
5. Housing
19. Would your parish consider raising the
precept if it enabled you to deliver
improved local services?
• 48% of recipients said that they “might” consider raising the precept
if it enabled them to deliver improved services
41% said “yes”, and 11% said “no”
20. How often does your County Councillor
involve you on matters regarding their
division?
Town / Parish councillors
• 31% of town/parish councillors said that their County Councillor
contacted them “more often than not”
However, 31% said that their County
Councillor didn’t contact them very often
16% said that their County Councillor
“never” contacted them, and 22% said that
their County Councillor “always” contacted
them.
Parish Chairmen
• 32% of Parish Chairman said that their County Councillor “always”
contacted them
32% said that their County Councillor
contacted them “more often than not”
However, 30% said that their County
Councillor didn’t contact them very often,
and 7% said that their County Councillor
never contacted them.
Clerks
• 32% of Clerks said that their County Councillor contacted them “more
often than not” and 27% said that they were “always” contacted
However, 30% said that that were not
contacted very often by their County
Councillor, and 12% said that they were
“never” contacted.
21. What were the issues?
• Highways locality budget
Locality budget scheme
Planning
Street lighting
22. What methods did they use, and do you
remember giving a response?
• 67% of recipients said that they had been contacted by email. Of
these, 39% remembered giving a response “more often than not”,
27% said they “always” responded, 27% said they didn’t respond very
often, and 8% said they “never” responded.
• 36% said that they had been contacted by letter. Of these, 9% said
that they “always” responded, and 9% said that they responded
“more often than not”. 54% said that they “never” responded to a
letter, and 30% said that they didn’t respond very often.
• 45% said that they had been contacted via the phone. Of these, 9%
said that they “always” responded, 30% said that they responded
“more often than not”, 18% said that they “never” responded, and
42% said that they didn’t respond very often.
• 74% said that they had been contacted face to face. 25% said that
they “always” responded to this means of communication, 45% said
they responded “more often than not”, 7% said that they “never”
responded, and 23% said that they didn’t respond very often.
think has worked particularly well or where
your feedback has influenced / shaped /
changed any decisions your County
Councillor has made?
• No
Yes: street lighting, money from LBS, anti
social behaviour, roads, salt bins
24. Are your councillors democratically
elected?
• 91% of recipients said that their councillors were democratically
elected, 9% said that they were not.
26. Does the council have a qualified audit
of accounts?
• 64% of recipients said that the council does have a qualified audit of
accounts, 31% said that they did not, and 5% said that they did not
know.
27. Does the council send out regular
communications to residents?
• 82% of recipients said that the council did send out regular
communications to residents, 18% said that they did not.
28. If so, how frequently?
• 67% said that communication went out quarterly.
25% said that communication went out
monthly, 5% said that it went out weekly, and
2% said that it went out annually.
29. Do you have or are you working to meet
the requirements of the 'General Power of
Competence' or 'Quality Council Status'?
• 45% of recipients said that they were working towards meeting the
requirements
24% said they have met the requirements
23% said that they have yet to decide
8% said that they had decided against it.
30. Do you have any other comments you
would like to make?
• “Please encourage the officers to engage with us and take us
seriously. We know our local community better than they do (as we
should) and we are not a bunch of local yokels! Several of us have
former business experience way beyond that of the officers. We are
generally older and possibly wiser.”
• “Perhaps your council officers would be better informed and better
communicated with if they visited Council meetings - most of the
problems are not with policy (councillors) but with implementation
(officers).”
• “Happy to work with the CC on any initiatives, just treat us as a
partner that can help in delivering solutions. Not the little PC who are
bumbling amateurs playing at local government.”
• “We have a good relationship with our local County Councillors but
not always have good access to county officers Feel some county
councillors are there for the status and do not get involved enough
with any issues”

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