Parliament committee meets in Sunderland

Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson
Sunderland City Council leader Paul Watson
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MPs are visiting Wearside to hear about the relationship between councillors and the community.

A cross party House of Commons Select Committee will spend time in Sunderland on Monday as part of an inquiry it is carrying out.

The MPs will be looking to hear about the improvements and support structures that are in place in the city which allows the council to interact with the community.

One of those giving evidence during the day, which the public are welcome to attend, will be council leader Paul Watson.

Coun Watson said: “Just as with any job, it’s essential that councillors are given the right tools if we want them to do their job properly.

“The Community Leadership programme is all about giving councillors the support, training and information they need to enable them to fulfil their roles as community leaders.

“It’s about putting them at the heart of decision making and providing them with the information they need to be able to address local concerns.

“What we’re aiming for is a much more bottom-up approach, with faster, more effective decision making and budget decisions taken at a local level to make services more responsive to needs and the Community Leadership programme is helping us achieve that.”

The committee will visit Barnes Park, which re-opened last year following a £3.6 million redevelopment funded with the help from the Heritage Lottery and the council.

They will meet employees of Beckwiths, a community interest cafe, based in the old coach house in the park and talk to frontline workers from the area response teams, who deal with issues like litter, graffiti and dog fouling.

Twitter: @tomwhite7