Agenda item



The Constituency Manager presented a report advising of a Council decision taken on 10 December 2018, on receipt of a recommendation from the Cabinet, to implement a new model of community engagement.  The new model, to commence in the 2019/20 Municipal Year, would involve the establishment of Ward Member budgets and the submitted report advised on:-

·  the distribution of funding across Wards according to a weighting mechanism based upon 75% per head of population, 15% deprivation, 5% under 5 years population and 5% over 75 years population, details of which, together with allocations in respect of each Ward Member;

·  the governance arrangements for the processes of applications for Ward Member budget funding and for annual review and evaluation; and

·  Member support arrangements to aid Ward Councillors.


The decision of the Council also deleted the Constituency Committees, meaning that this would be the final meeting of the Birkenhead Constituency Committee.  Members were therefore invited to consider arrangements for collaborative working outside of formal governance conditions.


The report considered the background to the decision of the Council arising from a review undertaken by the former Cabinet Member for Community Engagement, key principles as to how the Ward Member budgets were to operate, a process for funding applications and approval, the availability of Member support, and options available for Members to work together within and across Ward boundaries.  Draft guidance and a proposed application form were further appended to the submitted report for consideration.


The Chair questioned whether current projects such as the provision of skips across the Constituency area would be able to continue under this scheme.  The Constituency Manager advised that should Members so wish it may be possible to consider a top slicing of the budgets.  It was noted that there were services provided in certain Wards, for example foodbanks, that were accessed from across the Constituency, and comment made that there needed to be a way for these schemes to be funded from across the Constituency.  The Constituency Manager advised that it was proposed to establish a workshop to enable Members to discuss their approach to Ward Member budgets and how these were to managed.


The need for a dedicated area on the Council website to publicise the availability of Ward Member funds in the Birkenhead Constituency and to provide the opportunity to apply for funds was stated.  This would allow access to funding for new and difficult to reach groups.  The need for a robust communications strategy to support this was referenced. 


The Constituency Manager further advised that the Highways Integrated Transport Block (ITB) Funding for Constituency Committees was coming to a close.  A sum of £28,000 remained for the Birkenhead Constituency and the Committee was asked to consider allocating this amount to the following schemes that had been discussed previously by Members:




Estimated Cost

Harcourt Street, Birkenhead

Traffic calming


Shrewsbury Road / Palm Grove, Oxton

Pedestrian Refuge


Woodchurch Road Service Road, Prenton

Traffic calming


Total estimated schemes


Approved remaining Constituency Committee funding





(1)  the Ward Member Budget process and criteria, as set out in the submitted report, and the necessary Officer delegations required to administer the Ward Member budgets, be noted;


(2)  the opportunities for working together be noted and the convening of workshops to further consider how to progress this approach be supported;


(3)  the remaining Highways Integrated Transport Block funding for this Committee be allocated to schemes at Harcourt Street, Birkenhead for traffic calming; Shrewsbury Road / Palm Grove, Oxton for provision of a pedestrian refuge; and Woodchurch Road Service Road, Prenton for traffic calming.

Supporting documents: