Tea and biscuits key to better engagement in “modern times” say new Parish Council leadership
The Parish Council’s new leadership have commited the council to a new spirit of openness and transparency in the way it engages with the community.
The new leadership of Colnbrook Parish Council says it wants to engage more with residents, community groups, Slough Borough Council, and neighbouring authorities.
Following a period of reflection on previous meetings and discussion with residents, the new chair and vice-chair of Colnbrook Parish Council have set out a “vision statement” for how they want to engage going forward.
Cllrs Scott Bryant and Puja Bedi have distributed a document, as an appendix to the minutes of the Parish Council’s June meeting, that sets out the principles through which the new team at the helm wants to engage with other councillors and the residents.
Five key commitments made include:
- A new “open door” policy.
- A promise of transparency.
- No final decisions by the Parish Council without majority agreement.
- Details of all councillor external meetings to be published – and the result shared.
- Standards of personal conduct by councillors will be reinforced, “in a formal manner if that need arises”.
And, most importantly they say, they want to listen.
… we are both here to listen to everyone, listen to your concerns, issues and your ideas. We are not here to judge anyone, we will show respect and if any issues need further investigating or bringing to the Council table at the next meeting we will.
The pair have also issued a call for greater respect for fellow councillors, and for councillors to improve their attendance.
And not just councillors.
With parish meetings rarely attracting more than a couple members of the public at best the new leadership has also set out a their ideas on how they can make meetings more relevant.
Top of the list: serving tea and biscuits at Parish meetings will hopefully make meetings more informal and encourage attendance. But village groups, representatives from SBC and neighbouring councils will be asked to attend full parish council meetings in order provide their own updates.
“… to make meetings a more relaxing and comfortable environment, we are suggesting offering hot and cold drinks and biscuits to everyone, utilising the kitchen facilities that are available. The provision of these would be the responsibility of the Parish Council”.
Cllrs Bryant and Bedi also say they want to forge a closer relationship with outside bodies to bring communities closer. They want to promote “working better together as well as trying to modernise the way we are as a Parish Council”. The ‘Outside Bodies’ part of meetings where councillors report on behalf of the groups they are also member of, will be replaced with an ‘Areas of Responsibilities’ with immediate effect as “we both feel that this brings the role a more modern name to more modern times”.
The first new format Parish Council meeting takes place tonight, at 7:30 pm in the Village Hall.