Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

In My View

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

In My View

Article excerpt

Byline: By Bill Brooks

In my daily duties I have the title of Leader of the Council. Sounds simple enough, doesn't it? But what is the council?

For those of you living in Northumberland, and the majority of you reading this in the North-East of England, I'd take a stab in the dark and guess that many of you are served by more than one council simply by living where you do.

Confused? Well, if you live in Amble, for example, it can be confusing to be told you have three councils: county council, district council and parish council.

If you happen to live in an area where all three exist, it's possible that you could receive information from three different groups of people and often they'll all be trying to do similar things.

This is why in Northumberland, the county council is working in co-operation with both district and parish councils on an exciting agenda called "natural communities".

Our aim is to enable councils and other organisations providing public services in Northumberland to work together to provide a better service to the public.

In doing this we should also continue to improve how we consult and engage with our local communities. We aim to do this by reshaping the way the council operates to reflect the diverse needs of the county. The idea is that for different aspects of our lives, we think of different levels.

Across Northumberland we have already identified 24 "belonging communities" that we believe are made up of neighbourhoods that people identify as belonging to.

For example, if someone asks you where you come from when you're on holiday, responses vary depending on the context within which it's asked.

We start be saying we're from a particular country (eg, England); then when questioned further we will establish a particular part of that country (eg, Northumberland); below this we then identify a particular place within that part of the country (eg, Morpeth); and at the lowest level we all belong to a particular neighbourhood or village (eg, Loansdean).

We hope in the future decisions will be made at the right level for each service or issue. …

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