Ward Funding

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Heworth Labour councillor Tina Funnell has outlined concerns into the way ward funding is handled in York.

The scheme, which gives ward committees and local councillors cash to spend on projects in their areas, was re-introduced into York when the Tory/Lib Dem coalition took over from Labour in 2015.

And Cllr Funnell, who led a scrutiny team investigating the programme, said: 'Councillors recognise the potential benefits of having funds to spend locally, but the structures are hard to navigate.

'There are some real concerns about how we can ensure this money is well spent and that we are doing it in the most effective way, despite the goodwill to try and make it work.'

The money available for 216-17 - including funds carried over - varies from £13,670 for Fulford and Heslington, to £108,000 in Micklegate. Some areas have plans to use all their money, others, such as Hull Road, had allocated less than a fifth by January 2016.

Cllr Funnell, speaking at a meeting of the city council executive last Thursday, said the funding system puts significant responsibility on councillors to make sure the money is spent well.

The scrutiny team quizzed people involved with one senior voluntary sector worker saying that allocating significant sums through a system not all members bought into was "a perfect storm".

Cllr Funnell's scrutiny team's report made eight recommendations to improve the programme, including training for councillors, ways of sharing best practice, and more staff time available to support.

While the executive accepted some of the recommendations, they refused to make the training mandatory and said councillors could decide to spend some of their funds on extra support.

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