Devolved services - getting closer to the community
When it comes to providing local services like grass cutting, road sign cleaning, weeding and hedge trimming, parish and town councils are in the best place to know what needs doing and when.
Which is why we’re keen on partnering with them, to enable them to carry out these services in a way that’s appropriate for the community, more efficient and more economical. Because we recognise that one size doesn’t fit all.
There are 86 devolved services partnerships throughout Buckinghamshire, all of which are working well. And we’d like to encourage more.
Here’s how it’s working: the budget of a shade over £455,000 is devolved to the 86 parishes and towns, who agree to provide a set of highways services – urban grass cutting, hedging, weed killing, removing fly posters, approving charity event advertising, clearing rights of way, and so on.
In addition, six parish and town councils are taking part in a pilot scheme for road repairs – an extension to the raft of devolved services.
We’re also enabling local councils to put up their own highways equipment on quieter roads, at their own cost and where a road safety audit isn’t required.
There have been many benefits since the devolution scheme was introduced in 2015:
- local people are much happier: complaints about grass cutting reduced by 50% in the first year!
- local job opportunities have been created through social enterprises and apprenticeships
- larger and smaller local councils, who are working together providing services, have developed positive collaboration and improved efficiencies
Taking on these devolved services means parish and town councils can set their own standards, manage their own schedules, and carry out the work in a way that best suits their communities.
We’ll honour the budget we agree even if we then decide to vary the service we provide in parishes that haven’t signed up.
There’s a Devolved Services Working Group, involving a number of parishes, whose purpose is to develop a devolved services support package for town and parish councils.
For more information, please view our detailed presentation about devolved services for parish and town councils by Mark Averill, Head of Highways
To make an expression of interest, please drop an email to Mark Averill, Head of Highways, including the word 'devolution' in the subject line. The deadline for expressions of interest is Friday 30 November 2018.