Health Warning: Reading this post could seriously confuse you.
This Thursday December 5th will see the first meeting of the Mayor’s new Community Champion Coordinators (CCCs) between 6.30 and 8.30 PM at Raine House, Raine Street, Wapping.
You can find the official CCC page for the St Katharine’s and Wapping Ward Forum here and the page for more info on the Local Community Ward Forums here.
The Local Community Ward Forums, based as the name suggests on local electoral wards, are being replaced by Local Area Partnerships.
At the first meeting attendees will select possible projects for funding with the £10,000 budget for the St. Katharine’s and Wapping Ward.
Across the London Borough of Tower Hamlets a total of 71 CCCs have been appointed and each Ward has a £10,000 budget to spend on local improvements which is a total of around £170,000 apparently.
The CCCs for St. Katharine’s and Wapping are:
- Gren Bingham
- Christine Trumper
- Sala Uddin
A full list of CCCs across the Borough can be found on my previous post here. As ever you should check the Tower Hamlets website to check for any changes.
What on earth is a CCC?
Well this is all very tricky to explain.
The publicity for this has latest initiative by Mayor Lutfur has not been extensive although there have been adverts in recent issues of East End Life (page 20 of the most recent one). Some people have had flyers through their doors, others have not.
I have heard about the CCCs over the last few months but my attention has been diverted by other matters (yes Network Nuts, I mean you).
The other day I started to try and explain all the relationship between the Mayor’s Community Champion Coordinators, the Local Community Ward Forums, the Local Area Partnerships, Tower Hamlets Council, the Localism Act and the precise orbits of the moons of Saturn but gave up.
So I asked the nice people at Tower Hamlets for an explanation. Here is what they said:
“The role of the Community Champion Coordinators are to facilitate the three yearly meetings and encourage resident activism in addressing the Forum priorities that are selected during Meeting One. They do not represent the Local Community Ward Forums as such, as they facilitate rather than lead the process. The Coordinators are however playing an active role in promoting the Forum meetings in their local area.”
Yes I know, but it was a pretty good attempt and better than anything I could come up with.
To try and alleviate your confusion I have three other separate blog posts about the CCC issue lined up. Yes, I am that sad and no I do not have a life.
Whatever the precise in’s and out’s of the CCC thing it’s obviously important that as many people as possible turn up to the first meeting on Thursday. Although I think a lot of people will not be able to make it as many of us are still at work at 6.30.
Anyway turn up if you can.
Councillors belonging to parties other than the Mayor’s are not too happy with the CCC idea. Attached is a leaflet from the Conservative Party which popped through my door. Here is an extract:
“The Respect-backed Mayor of Tower Hamlets Lutfur Rahman has abolished the Local Area Partnerships, whereby residents, councillors and officers could come together to discuss matters of interest to residents.
Instead Lutfur Rahman has personally appointed a group of “Community Champions” to each of the seventeen wards in the borough and handed them a budget of £10,000 to be spent on local improvements. ·
In St Katharine’s & Wapping there are three Community Champions. None have them have been elected by you, unlike your local councillors .”
One reason the Conservatives are annoyed is that the CCCs seemed to have been selected on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. Which is not ideal for democratic representation.
I know because I applied to become a CCC too, mainly because I hoped there would be a free uniform or at least a shiny badge but was told that I had missed out on the first round so would have to wait for the next one.
No badge for me.
Other residents are slightly suspect of the CCC thing too. Here is an extract from an email sent to me by one neighbour.
“ I actually know nothing about all these groups. Indeed I am only aware of what little I do know via your website [Love Wapping].
In general, as a statement of the obvious, whoever are supposedly representing Wapping need to state who they are, why they are, on what authority they are doing so.
And if they have meetings etc., then genuinely publicise these, give plenty of time so that people have the chance to arrange their diaries – ordinary residents live lives, they go out, want to watch something on TV etc., and cannot be expected to just attend at a few days notice.
Furthermore, their attendance is somewhat meaningless if they have no prior information about the subject matter being discussed.
Unless these basic rules are adhered to, then you don’t get democracy, you get what years ago we used to refer to as ‘smoke filled committee rooms’.”
All valid points I think.
I know personally two or three of the CCCs and am sure they will represent their Wards in good faith and listen to the people they represent. But at bit more transparency and advanced publicity by Tower Hamlets Council would be good.
A free Twix for everyone in the East End!
What bothers Love Wapping is that where does the Mayor find a spare £170,000 ? We are still trying to get the pavements in Wapping Lane fixed. Gold pavements might cost £170 grand, but we just want ordinary ones that aren’t broken.
And while the whole Love Wapping team embraces the idea of local people taking more control of where they live splitting the £170,000 up by giving it to different Wards who will then spend a thousand pounds here and a few hundred there reduces the buying power of the cash.
The Love Wapping Policy Adviser does have a sound plan though. Get all the different £10,000 budgets together and buy a Twix for everyone in the East End! Maybe two if we bulk buy!
OK, not everyone likes a Twix.
How much does a copper cost?
But £170,000 could probably fund one or two more MPS police officers for a year? Or several PCSOs?
What it should not be used for is to fix the pavements. Apparently someone is responsible for doing that already. They just don’t.
One last thought. We know the names of the CCC people. But with no photos on the site we don’t know what they look like. And how do you contact them? No emails or phone numbers are listed. Sounds a bit daft to me.
For more info: List of Tower Hamlets Community Champion Coordinators