Agenda item

Collaborative Communities Framework: 2021-2025

Minutes:

The Strategic Lead Community Development and Equalities introduced the report and stated that an earlier version had been shared with the Committee last year, and had been developed with the Council’s partners and the voluntary sector, and the work with the Thurrock Coronavirus Community Action had helped push the framework forward. She stated that residents were at the heart of this framework, which was divided into three sections: equality to ensure fair access and cohesion; empowerment to ensure the council were working with community forums to make sure they succeed; and engagement to ensure conversations with partners and residents are started early. She added that the framework was ambitious and a development plan was being drawn up to ensure a culture change within the council. She stated that she was keen on comments from the Committee in how to provide the necessary change, including on a ‘pact’ or ‘bond’ with partners and residents, but stated that as this framework covered four years, it would be long-term change programme.

The Chair thanked the Strategic Lead and stated that this was an important piece of work that would set services up well to be able to help residents. He asked what the proposed ‘pact’ would look like and what the outcome of this would be. The Strategic Lead Community Development and Equalities stated that some other Councils had established a manifesto with local organisations, and this framework was the beginning stages of organising this. She felt that the Council had worked well with partner and voluntary organisations during COVID and wanted this to be extended after the pandemic. She added that the ‘pact’ would be a reciprocal arrangement with potential rewards for volunteers, which would ensure a win-win situation for both the Council and partner or voluntary organisations.
The Chair queried what routes were available to contact the significant proportion of residents who did not get involved with community forums, and asked how these people could be engaged and those processes embedded within the council. The Strategic Lead Community Development and Equalities replied that there were numerous channels to engage with residents such as via email or social media, and the Community Development team worked closely with the Communications team on this. She felt there needed to be a formal process to enable this dialogue and link local networks together to be able to connect with each other. She explained that the Council worked closely with CVS on the ‘Stronger Together’ initiative that brought working between the Council and voluntary sector closer to be able to facilitate and develop ideas, as well as nurture policy discussions. She added that working closely with the voluntary sector was good as it invited comments and ideas, as well as allowed the Council to help businesses and individuals secure grant funding. She added that these ideas would be embedded through engagement with directorates and officers.

Councillor Ralph echoed the Chair’s comments and felt it was a vital report. He stated that the Council needed to engage with communities, and that Stronger Together has worked very well during the pandemic. He felt that the Council needed to work closely with the community, for example the recycling team could attend community events to spread the recycling message and provide information. The Strategic Lead Community Development and Equalities replied and stated that she hoped community events would begin post-COVID and that past Council teams who had attended such events received good levels of feedback and new ideas. She described that officers who attended community events also felt empowered on their return to change their services and implement ideas.

The Chair summarised and stated that the Committee felt it was a positive report, and how communities engaged with the Council was very important. He asked if updates on the project could come back to the Committee in future.

RESOLVED: That:

The Committee:

1. Commented were invited to support the scope of the Framework – specifically the idea of a ‘pact’ or ‘bond’ with communities, as well as broader comment of the proposed actions and their priority. 

Supporting documents: