Taskforce set to improve north Liverpool

Liverpool City Council is preparing to establish a dedicated team that will aim to improve three of the most deprived wards in the city.

A report to the city council's cabinet today recommends the North Liverpool Action Team be established to get to work quickly tackling problems with housing and environmental blight, as well as crime, anti social behaviour, in Anfield, County and Kirkdale.

The council said a small group of officers and elected members on the ground in the area will lead the project, as part of an integrated team made up of the city council and partner organisations. Those working in voluntary organisations, the police, and health authorities will be involved in the project.

The council added that the aim of the taskforce will be to deliver improvements and cut through the red tape and bureaucracy that often leads to delays in getting things done.

Ideas being considered include:

  • Combining environment staff and resources across partners to create a 'Land Army' to replicate the success of the regeneration of Speke-Garston and Ropewalks through the establishment of an "environment for investment"
  • Launching a social investment bond which invites commercial and individual investors to donate the interest they make into social benefits
  • Home improvements delivered by local firms that improve residents health, safety and wellbeing
  • A comprehensive programme of activities for young people integrating the opportunities offered by a range of organisations
  • New bus services connecting communities in north Liverpool with the city centre and the waterfront

The council said work will start next week as soon as a lead partner from the third sector is in place.

Cllr Steve Munby, cabinet member for neighbourhoods at Liverpool City Council, said: "Over the years we have had all manner of strategies and plans launched, and residents have become frustrated with the amount of time it takes to actually see something being done.

"This new approach aims to get a first class team of staff working closely together on the ground to improve the area.

"It is about devolving power away from the centre of the council down to a neighbourhood level to overcome many years of neglect.

"We have to give residents the confidence that when they report a problem we will just get on and deal with it there and then, rather than carrying out assessments, filling in forms and writing reports.

"If an area looks a mess with fly tipping, grot spots and empty properties, it puts it at a massive disadvantage when it comes to attracting new residents and businesses.

"By dedicating an experienced team to the area and giving them the power to get on and solve problems we can make a big difference within a relatively short space of time and show it is a great place to live.

"It sounds simple, but this is a radical new approach to delivering public services from within the community, rather than it being dictated from the centre.

"By working smarter and taking all of the red tape out of the process we can do a lot more within our existing budgets."

The council said a series of targets for the first three months of the year will be set shortly, and an evaluation carried out afterwards to measure how it is working. If it proves successful then it could be rolled out to other areas of the city.

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By Dimock

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