North Yorkshire County Council has announced that they are to establish networks across the county to help drive social and economic change whilst also identifying the different priorities of communities.
The largest county in England, North Yorkshire will be taken over by the new North Yorkshire Council on the 1st April and it is making plans for the introduction of community networks by working alongside town and parish councils, public sector partners, businesses and communities to make sure that they accurately drive decision-making and action in the county.
With 30 networks set to be introduced, they will include councillors but will be independent of the council and will be focused on more specific area priorities.
Councillor Carl Les, Leader of North Yorkshire County Council, said:
“While North Yorkshire Council will cover the largest geographical area of any local authority in the country, we are committed to being the most local too.
“The community networks will be invaluable to ensuring that the voices of communities across North Yorkshire are heard, and that local needs and priorities can be addressed.
“Nothing will be imposed, as we want to do this with our communities and not to them.”
Work has already been undertaken to create the model for the new networks, with local leaders hoping that it will continue to build on the existing partnerships between public, private, community and voluntary sectors.
Executive Member for Stronger Communities, Cllr Greg White, added:
“The community networks are set to act as local agents for economic and social change. They are due to be places of collaboration between the new council and parish and town councils as well as business, public sector agencies and the communities they serve.
“Our approach would be centred around the significant economic, cultural and social assets of market towns, surrounding villages and natural communities in North Yorkshire, This would lead to greater collaboration and would provide the support that helps communities to become more self-reliant and resilient.
“They are due to be the engine rooms of local action and ideas, to get things done in local areas. Communities will help shape the plans and it is expected that the nature and make-up of the networks will evolve over time, to meet local needs and priorities.”
Whilst plans are being put in place to ensure that these networks are up and running as soon as possible, there have been recommendations that the system be phased in. This would mean initially rolling out around six networks following the launch of the new council, as part of a trial approach. The other networks would then be added over the first year of the new council’s leadership.