Settling into the governance and protocols of Council life

Posted: Dec 15, 2015

I still bear the invisible title of ‘newbie’ or newly elected member but I can proudly say I am settling into the governance and protocols of Council life.

My favourite committee is still Borough Planning where we make democratic decisions that have an immediate impact on the lives of our residents. There is a health warning with this committee as it can involve getting VERY cold or wet on winter Saturdays’ site inspections.. and our committee meetings have been known to go on past midnight – not for the faint-hearted but certainly interesting!

Recently I enjoyed Tea on the Terrace at the House of Commons as it presented a good opportunity to discuss local issues and activities, including the success of our first Hanworth Winter Fair, with Dr Phillip Lee MP and his family, local councillors and opinion leaders. Here I am (above with Cllr Tina McKenzie-Boyle). Dr Phillip Lee’s mother-in-law very kindly took this photo for me.

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We have quite a challenge ahead of us before the next local elections. Pressure on public spending means we need to make £25 million savings over the next five years. This may mean that we will need to do some things differently or even reduce what we do. I have tried to explain this in the Local Strategy section of my ward website: www.hanworthandbirchhill.co.uk but the bottom line is that in the face of any major change, Bracknell Forest Council is committed to consultation and assessing the impact of change on communities.

I sit on the Corporate Parenting Panel which meets regularly to scrutinise the actions taken to support our looked after children in care. The young people have a collective voice called SiLSiP (Say it Loud, Say it Proud) and recently they put me through a rigorous training. Using the medium of games they recreated in me the different and often confusing emotional states they experience daily. This is a powerful, impactful training programme and I encourage all councillors to attend as we all have corporate parenting at the heart of our duties.

For my ward I have created a website and Facebook page which are growing in popularity. There is quite a lot happening in our ward, Hanworth and Birch Hill, so if you get a moment please log on to www.facebook.com/HandBH to like our page or check out the pages of www.hanworthandbirchhill.co.uk

Wishing you much happiness for Christmas and the coming year I leave your now with my thoughts of special Christmas thanks to all who play a lead role in our local community, our teachers, and headteachers, the local police, our church leaders, those who run local businesses, manage homes for the elderly and importantly, those who volunteer their own time to help others.

Catch up with you in the new year!

Cllr Sandra Ingham

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