Ilfracombe is successful in bid for Government pilot

Joseph Bulmer

New Neighbourhood Community Budgets scheme will enable town council and partners to share resources to provide better services.

ILFRACOMBE has become one of a handful of areas in the country to be chosen for a Government pilot scheme designed to allow a pooling of resources to provide better local services.

The Town Council, supported by the county and district councils plus 18 partner agencies, submitted a detailed bid to join the “community budgets” scheme and on Wednesday heard it was one of 14 to be successful.

The council said the aim was to create more innovative, cohesive and ultimately better ways of delivering public services to give people at local level more power over services and where the money is spent, as part of a government’s drive to move power away from Whitehall to the communities themselves.

As one of the 10 “neighbourhood level” areas, other resources the community can bring, such as volunteers, community groups and its businesses can then be aligned to ensure a focussed, co-ordinated approach.

“Our concept represents the most radical change in more than 40 years in our town, by involving communities in service delivery and partnership working,” said Councillor Ron Ley, who led the bid on behalf of the town council.

“It will be a breath of fresh air by returning power to the people. The town is ready to move on from the old way of working where services were ‘delivered’ to the public, often in isolation and with little community control. The council had a vision of turning service delivery on its head - what does the community want and need and how can we ensure this is met.”