Select Committee on Public Administration Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum by Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council


  You may be aware that Barnsley MBC introduced its "New Democratic Framework" in February of this year. A key part of the framework is the development of a borough-wide "Community Plan" aimed at establishing a vision for the future of the Borough, both developed in partnership with and informed by the views of local people.

  The Barnsley Forum, composed of key stakeholders, has been created to facilitate the production of, delivery and periodic review of the Community Plan. The Forum was convened for the first time on 27 November 1999 where nearly 200 people, derived from the general public and local community groups attended. The Barnsley public was invited to submit views on the future of the Borough and a mini-exhibition, including an exhibition concerning "Local Democracy Week" was staged to assist in stimulating discussion.

  A considerable amount of information was yielded by the public via the Forum on issues of local significance.


  Barnsley "Voice" is a citizens' panel which has been formed in conjunction with other stakeholders, notably Barnsley Health Authority, and is composed of a representative sample of Barnsley Residents (1,600 members), Barnsley "Voice" has already provided the Authority with information via surveys on public perception of the quality of services and how they should be improved. The information yielded will be put to good use in Best Value Service reviews.


  Barnsley's New Democratic Framework is also characterised by a number of area based "Forums" which are coterminous with local ward boundaries. These Forums are composed of local ward members and their purpose is to represent, advocate and meet the needs of local people.

  The Forums also act as a vehicle for contributing the views of local people to the development of area community plans. The meetings of the Forums take place every three weeks and public attendance is actively encouraged. The meetings provide for a 30-minute public question and answer session at the end of each meeting.


  Full Council meets every three weeks and meetings are open to the public who may table questions. Details of meetings and the dates by which questions need to be submitted, are published in the local press.

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Prepared 30 April 2001