The new arrangement for Wokingham’s public protection services
Wokingham and West Berkshire councils will continue to work together to protect the public despite Wokingham Borough Council ‘leaving’ a joint partnership next year.
Currently, all public protection issues in the Borough of Wokingham, including the management of anti-social behavior and licensing issues, are covered by the Public Protection Partnership (PPP).
The PPP is a shared service between the Borough of Wokingham, Bracknell Forest and West Berkshire councils, with the service based in West Berkshire.
Wokingham Borough Council will exit the PPP on April 1, 2022.
READ MORE: Council “takes the nuclear option” and leaves the Public Protection Partnership
But in a new arrangement, Wokingham Borough and West Berkshire will continue to work together to provide selected public protection services to their residents.
The Borough of Wokingham will continue to use PPP for trade standards, food standards, air quality management, animal welfare (including biosecurity and feed), as well as financial investigations and proceeds of crime.
It will also benefit from support for pre-legal proceedings and the preparation of PPP application cases.
However, other critical areas of public protection, such as anti-social behavior, licensing, development control, food hygiene and pest control, will be handled by the Wokingham Borough Council when it leaves the PPP in April.
In particular, the council wants to provide a 24/7 anti-social behavior service that offers “full coverage” that it does not currently have.
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Councilor Bill Soane, Borough of Wokingham Executive Member for Neighborhoods and Communities (Conservative, Loddon) explained: “We have been through a number of different scenarios, I think this is the best, it will simplify the process. end of staff transition and will reduce the financial cost of terminating the partnership.
“So it’s a win-win situation for everyone.”
He added that the councils of West Berkshire and Bracknell Forest have agreed that the Borough of Wokingham can benefit from the “reserved” services on a contractual basis.
This decision could be seen as a turnaround on the part of the board. Earlier this year, Cllr Soane was interviewed by the Community and Company Oversight and Review Committee on the process, where concerns about the hiring and expertise of staff were raised by Cllr Paul Fishwick (Liberal Democrat, Winnersh).
READ MORE: The Public Protection Partnership and why Wokingham doesn’t want it
The changes to the Borough of Wokingham’s relationship with the PPP were unanimously approved by the council’s executive committee on Thursday, September 30.
It has also been announced that a head of the public protection department in the borough of Wokingham has been appointed.
Expressing support for the changes, Cllr Pauline Jorgensen, Executive Member of Highways and Transport (Conservative, Hillside) said: “I think this is absolutely the right model, which is why West Berkshire was doing things like business standards. and food standards and some of the more complex things is that it’s quite difficult to retain staff with the right skills. So doing these things with West Berkshire while doing things are less specialized in Wokingham where local knowledge is the advantage is absolutely the right way to go.
Below is a full list of public protection services that the Borough of Wokingham will manage itself when it leaves the PPP next April:
- animal keeper
- anti-social behavior
- contaminated land
- development control consulting
- exhumations and funerals of the poor
- dirty and verminous premises
- food hygiene
- health and security
- infection control
- integrated pollution control
- licenses, permits and authorizations
- pest control
- private accommodation, mobile homes & caravan pitches