Council Acts to Ensure Those Who Need Help Most are Prioritised

22 Oct 2023
The WBC council chamber with councilors preparing for a meeting.

Wokingham Borough Council approved a motion at its meeting on 19 October 2023, to agree a set of principles for decision making in light of the current challenging financial circumstances it is facing. These principles will ensure that finite resources are used responsibly to protect the most vulnerable in our community and build sustainable services for the future. A number of councillors spoke in favour of the motion, citing examples which show how these principles are already being used for the benefit of the community.

Like most councils, WBC are facing huge financial challenges caused by growing demand for services, years of reducing income in real terms, and high interest rates.  WBC is the lowest funded per capita unitary authority in the country: it receives £30M per annum less than the average.

 

By using a set of guiding principles WBC will ensure that:

  • It is acting in the best interests of the community and the climate, in alignment with the collective community vision
  • It is practising fiscal responsibility
  • It is taking into account the needs of the less well-off and vulnerable residents
  • It is planning for the long-term, and maintaining prevention early help services to off-set long term problems and costs
  • It acts with openness and transparency, welcoming internal overview and scrutiny from all councillors
  • It is maximising income from external sources and working with partner organisations to deliver cost-effective, quality services to our residents, to build a thriving sustainable future for Wokingham Borough.

 

Cllr Andrew Mickleburgh, Hawkedon Ward said, “By using these principles we are already making demonstrable improvements for our residents. In children’s services, we are engaging with, and learning from, stakeholders whose voices were not heard, understood or responded to in the past.”

 

Cllr Stephen Newton, Maiden Erlegh Ward, said, “Instead of investing residents’ money in outdated office blocks as the previous administration did, this Council has invested in a local care home. This will deliver care to our residents and provide better value for money all round. This motion embeds what this Liberal Democrat Administration has been doing since taking control of this council.”

 

Cllr Prue Bray, Executive Member for Children’s Services brought forward the motion for consideration. She said, “This list of decision making factors makes it clear how we, the Lib Dems, want the council to operate. It seems obvious to us that we should be helping those who need it most.  It seems obvious to us that we should be encouraging partnership and a sense of community.  And it seems obvious to us that we should be aiming to create not just a future for the Borough that is sustainable but also one in which we thrive. ”