Community Committees

Norma Thompson, Chair of Third Sector Leeds, looks at how the Third Sector can use the new Community Committee structures to improve things locally.

Norma Thompson

Some of you may already be aware of the changes being made to Leeds City Council Area Committees, as the Council works to improve the involvement of local people. The new Community Committees will still have to deal with the business of formal decision making, but will be making a real effort to ensure that much of the meeting is less formal, more inclusive and involves discussion of local issues and priorities.

An opportunity? 

For any organisation which considers part of its remit is to advocate on behalf of the people it works with, or to support local people to influence local decisions, then the Community Committees offer an exciting opportunity to do this. 

Whilst the cynics in the sector may not be wholly convinced, the Community Committees will genuinely work differently if we commit to being an active part of them. I'd be really keen to hear from people who attend them how you get on!

Comments (2)

  1. Dom Charkin:
    Jul 22, 2014 at 07:51 AM

    I attended the Inner East Community Committee in July. My thoughts:
    1. The formal meeting part of the session was inaccessible. It was difficult to hear and there had not been enough agendas made available. Meaning I had no background as to what was being said.
    2. I applaud holding the Committee in a community venue, rotating it across the area will also help.
    3. The meeting was well attended but I wonder how many people living in the area actually attended. The table I sat on was all workers contributing to the workshop.
    4. Overall I think this is a good start to making meetings and democracy more accessible. I would welcome the idea of trying bold new methods of engagement to try and reach parts of communities that meetings don't. I do think that more needs to be done to make people feel comfortable in this setting. Providing accessible paperwork should not be seen as anything but compulsory.

  2. Norma:
    Jul 22, 2014 at 08:57 AM

    thanks for the feedback, were your observations noted at the meeting? I wondered if many people felt as you did, Dom, and it was discussed in any way. The paperwork is a real challenge, as there will have to be a cultural shift over time, which can only be driven by people asking for information to be clearer. It will be usefull to have some of these notes and be able to compare later in the year to see if anything has changed!

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