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£500k scheme to ‘transform’ City of York Council
CITY leaders have agreed a £500,000 shake-up of the way York’s council operates, amid questions about its cost and what it will achieve.
The “transformation programme” will be launched by City of York Council following three surveys and reviews of its work, including a poll where most residents who responded felt they could not influence key decisions.
They also called for improvements to services such as street cleaning and road repairs.
The programme is intended to save money and “reshape” services with residents’ involvement.
Chief executive Kersten England, speaking at last night’s meeting of the authority’s Labour cabinet, said the aim was for every pound it costs to be repaid three times over through increased efficiency.
The £500,000 will come from the council’s venture fund and delivery and innovation fund.
Council leader James Alexander said the authority had to focus on economic growth, saying: “People say we should prioritise street-level services, which is very difficult when you have the scale of the funding reductions we have.
“A declining city will mean people don’t have jobs, can’t afford to pay taxes and we end up without these services anyway.
“We have an ambitious programme for this city, and we want the city to have ambition for the future rather than retrenching.”
Conservative group leader Ian Gillies said the residents’ poll showed people were angry at being “starved of basic services”.
He said: “Labour’s solution is to put a badge on yet another new programme and spend money on it – shouldn’t senior council officers already be doing this work without the allocation of an extra £500,000?”
Liberal Democrat councillor Carol Runciman said the programme’s purpose was unclear.
She said: “You can’t have a transformation programme without knowing what you are being transformed into and how you can measure it.”
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