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Proposals to help borough council focus on real issues for residents

Proposals to help borough council focus on residents' real issues

11 March 2021
Shute End

Wokingham Borough Council’s decision making executive is considering plans this month that will allow it to better target issues that affect residents’ quality of life.

Dealing with many environmental health issues such as low-level nuisances and anti-social behaviour including noise, illegal bonfires and advice on pests is currently the responsibility of the Public Protection Partnership (PPP) with West Berkshire and Bracknell Forest councils. But under proposals being considered by the executive on March 18, Wokingham Borough could take control of these and licensing and trading standards so it can set local priorities and react to residents’ concerns more quickly.

Cllr Parry Batth, executive member for environment, said: “The Public Protection Partnership does a good job but, as a partnership across three authorities, it inevitably cannot be as responsive to our local issues as we would be able to be. We want to be in a position to react swiftly if our residents are facing specific issues in their communities and to be able to target our resources at what is most important to our local communities. We’ll certainly continue to work closely with partners but, if this change is approved, we’ll be able to do so while making sure our resource is 100% focused on what our residents need.

“Bringing the services back in house would mean the officers could work more closely with colleagues across the borough council who are also out in the community – for example those who are already ‘in-house’ and dealing with other anti-social issues such as fly-tipping – which would be another benefit.

“This would also enable those services delivered by Public Protection Partnership at present to become more integrated with how we deliver all council services.”

If approved by the executive, Wokingham Borough Council would give formal notice that it intends to leave the partnership in March 2022. Discussions will then start on the detailed arrangements. It is anticipated that there may be some one-off costs involved in leaving the PPP, but it is planned to continue the ongoing service within the current budget.

The executive will meet to discuss the proposal on March 18.

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