More power for council groups

THE GO-AHEAD has been given for a revamp of Ashfield District Council’s area consultative groups (ACGs), including the one in Hucknall.

The aim is to make them more responsive to the needs of the communities they serve.

As reported by the Dispatch last month, there have been regular complaints that Hucknall’s ACG meetings, which are held every two months, do not engage with the public.

Now a unanimous vote at a full meeting of Ashfield Council will see them overhauled.

Changes will include greater options on how groups can use their budgets, including giving councillors the opportunity to pool funding pots for the good of the community.

There will also be named ‘area committees’, which will meet more regularly and link with the police to recommend crime-fighting priorities.

Ashfield currently has four ACGs, representing Hucknall, Kirkby, Sutton and the rural areas of the district.

Only councillors for a particular area sit on the groups and discuss a locally-tailored agenda. There is also an opportunity for members of the public to pose questions.

Simon Oldham, democratic services manager at Ashfield Council, said in a report:

“The ACGs could be an excellent tool to engage with the community to better understand their needs in relation to access to services and general quality-matters. They could assist in the council’s understanding of its community before deciding upon courses of action.”

Some changes to the ACGs were made last year but it was decided to take further action.

The review has been led by Coun Chris Baron (Lab), one of Hucknall.’s most senior coun cillors.