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Gravesham council opens door to community

PUBLISHED: 09:25 04 August 2011

New Chief Executive David Hughes, recently retired Chief Executive Glyn Thomson and leader of Gravesham Borough Council John Burden

New Chief Executive David Hughes, recently retired Chief Executive Glyn Thomson and leader of Gravesham Borough Council John Burden

»Residents ranging from business leaders to youth workers will be invited to sit on five policy-forming committees as a council sets out its intentions to put community at the heart of its plans.

Gravesham Borough Council has released its four-year plan, focusing on 18 key areas picked by more than 800 public consultees last year, from crime reduction to embracing diversity and dealing with social housing needs.

The committees, open to members of the public for two-year terms, include business and partnerships, public and private sector housing, community and the environment and performance and administration.

A mobile information centre has also been set up to visit wards across the borough to consult with residents.

Council leader John Burden said: “This is just the start. We recognise sometimes there is potential for a disconnection between public service providers and the public. We want to find out what really matters to people and address those issues.”

Public committee members –who will have no vote but be entitled to speak on any issue – will be picked by the chairman of the committee, the opposition chairman and Cllr Burden.

Risks

Cllr Burden admitted there was no facility to remove them but was confident mediation would resolve any problems.

He also confessed the plan opened the council up to more criticism, adding: “Of course there is a risk people will be disappointed if we are unable to do as they ask, but I believe if you are up front and honest with people about the reasons why, they accept it –even if they don’t like it.”

Applications to join the committee are open until August 12.

To pick up an application form visit www.gravesham.govuk

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