rbwm community warden ben higgs

Proposal to Fully Fund RBWM Community Wardens

Tuesday evening at Full Council the Tory Cabinet kept saying how the opposition had not submitted any budget proposals… that is not true.

Below is a proposal I put forward in early January after consulting with the Lead Officer and others. The only response I have had to date is a return email acknowledging my proposal. Cllr Cannon had not got back to me and so I was forced to go head-on at Full Council and share my feelings and that of residents who have had dealings with the wardens.

Hopefully you never need them but it is good to know they are out there, taking care of us.

The picture above shows RBWM Community Warden Ben Higgs ensuring contractors are securing the area after drivers were driving through barriers, trying to get round a hole in the road, created to access a leaking gas mains pipe… imagine the potential damage that could have been caused had their combustion engine connected with the gas leak!

On 13 Jan 2021, at 19:29, Cllr D Cannon

Cllr Davey,
Thank you for you email.
We will look into this proposal and get back you .

Regards

David Cannon
RBWM Ward Councillor
Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury
Lead Member- Public Protection

From: Cllr Davey
Sent: Wednesday, January 13, 2021 7:26:42 PM
To: Cllr D Cannon ; Cllr Hilton ; David Scott ; Neil Walter
Cc: Cllr Jones ; Cllr Price ; Cllr Werner ; Cllr Del Campo ; Hilary Hall; Duncan Sharkey ; Cllr Bowden ; Simon Dale ; Andy Aldridge ; Wayne Eveleigh

Subject: Proposal to fully fund Community Wardens

Evening David, David, David & Neil,

Below are some foundations for further discussion that could see the Community Wardens fully funded next year and a way forward for the future.

I will bring this forward at Communities O&S but want to work collegiately moving forward to improve relations and so am giving you all the heads up so the idea hopefully gets the serious consideration it deserves.

The Community Wardens are a highly valued asset by residents, members and the emergency services in RBWM. To half their number and hugely reduce their effectiveness seems crazy at a time when the general public need all the support that we can muster around COVID.

I totally get the need to have a balanced budget but feel strongly that we need to protect the Community Wardens from the cull. Has any of the Community Wardens time, over the last year, been offset against the COVID budget? If not, is this an option?

They are such an important component in the life of the borough that we need to find a way to fix the shortfall.

Longer term this revenue could come establishing our own team of District Environmental Enforcement Officers to work alongside the traffic wardens and community wardens.

The average fine: assuming 50% pay early, 20% pay late, 30% don’t pay and fines are 25% fly tipping, 75% cigarettes or equivalent, then the average fine is £105. If officers issue an average of 10 fines a day and we had 5 officers, this would equate to over £1m a year.

We need to clean up the borough to help with environmental concerns but we also need to look after our residents mental health and wellbeing, the Community Wardens do that very well. Enforcement needs a different mentality and so we need a separate team employed by RBWM.

If we had a target of £600k for enforcement, half would offset the shortfall and half pay for the enforcement officers and an education programme to help young and old understand the importance of keeping RBWM tidy.

So please, please, please, can we revisit the COVID budget for last year and this year relating to Community Wardens and then plan for post COVID and us funding this service via enforcement.

Thank you.

Cllr Jon Davey
Clewer & Dedworth West
West Windsor Residents Association / Local Independents
Vice Chair of Infrastructure Overview & Scrutiny Panel
Cllr.Davey@rbwm.gov.uk
07717 820823

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