Quality status move causes row over £43

PUBLISHED: 13:07 26 October 2006 | UPDATED: 14:52 12 May 2010

MEMBERS of Royston Town Council have approved producing a newsletter as part of a bid to gain quality council status. But it took a heated debate at a meeting of the finance committee on Monday evening to give the go-ahead for spending £43 on the project.

MEMBERS of Royston Town Council have approved producing a newsletter as part of a bid to gain quality council status.

But it took a heated debate at a meeting of the finance committee on Monday evening to give the go-ahead for spending £43 on the project.

Cllr Lindsay Davidson, who has been leading a working party looking into an application for quality council status, said the provision of a newsletter was part of the criteria to obtain recognition.

She said: "The costs have been kept extremely low."

This would involve the printing of 1,000 copies which will be made available to the public, but not distributed to every property.

Cllr Davidson said the newsletter was one of only two remaining mandatory requirements for the town council to receive quality council accreditation.

She said the production of a newsletter would "signify a further development of the town council's efforts to communicate with its electorate".

The newsletter would also raise the public profile of the town council, she said.

In spite of opposition to producing the newsletter, Cllr Davidson said it would be "madness" not to begin such a process.

Cllr Robert Inwood said it would be "disheartening" not to have a newsletter after the work carried-out by the working party.

Cllr Rod Kennedy said the production of a newsletter gave the appearance that the town council was "running ahead of itself" over applying for quality council status.

"We have difficult budget decisions ahead and I do not believe there is the need for a 1,000 copies which will end up in the recycling bins," he said.

And Cllr Lynn Berry said the town council was still to approve a move to make an application to become a quality council.

"This was the idea of having a working party. It was to see whether we could meet the criteria of becoming a quality council," she said.

Cllr Liz Beardwell said she was not convinced that the town council had to gain quality council status. "We need to make sure that residents have value for money."

Cllr Robert Smith said, however that it may appear the town council was "jumping the gun", but he was dismayed over the "negative comments".

He added: "It seems like a step in the right direction."

FACTFILE

A quality town council is

- representative of, and actively enagages, all parts of its community

- effectively and properly managed

- articulates the needs of its community

- committed to work in partnership with principle authorities and other public service agencies

- in proportion to size and skills, delivers local services on behalf of principal authorities when this represents the best deal for the local community

- works closely with voluntary groups

- gives leadership to work by the community on town plans

- working with its partners, acts as an information point for local services.


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