Community warden roles facing the axe in County Council bid to save £1million

Community warden scheme

The Community Warden service in Kent is the subject of a 12-week consultation as the county council looks to axe 32 roles in a bid to save £1million.

Some of the posts are already vacant but 60 warden and team leader roles currently in operation will be reduced to 24 plus 14 additional wardens who would be allocated to areas based on need.

Canterbury and Thanet is currently allocated  one team leader and 11 wardens – although some of those roles are vacant – with a proposed restructure meaning this would be reduced  to one team leader and three wardens, with the possibility of services from the additional 14 wardens.

The service’s current  £2.4 million budget mostly covers staffing costs. The remaining £135,000 of this budget is used for uniforms, equipment, training, materials, vehicles, and travel expenses.

The Community Warden service was established in 2002. The service works closely with district Community Safety Units (CSUs) and receives requests from multiple different partners such as Adult Social Care, Kent Police, Trading Standards, district and borough councils, parish and town councils, community groups, schools, health services (e.g. GPs) and Kent Fire and Rescue Service. Wardens cover a variety of wellbeing and community safety needs.

In February County Councillors approved the authority’s planned budget for 2023- 24. The budget takes into account a £182 million rise in the cost of services, fuelled by inflation, market conditions and additional demands on council services from an ageing population with increasing complexity of need.

Increased funding from the government and council tax provide £124 million. This leaves a shortfall of £58 million over the next financial year, which will need to be found from spending reductions, increased income and some use of savings to balance the budget. The £1m cut to the warden service means job losses and changes to the way it is operated.

Kent County Council (KCC) says as part of a redesign, data would also be used to identify the communities which would benefit most from having a warden. This includes areas of deprivation, a high elderly population and isolated and rural locations. Other factors such as proximity to services and public transport changes would also be taken into consideration.

Under these proposals, wardens would still be based in all 12 districts across Kent, with a minimum team size and further wardens placed in teams that cover districts with the highest need.

Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services Mike Hill said: “We are keen to hear residents’ views on the proposals and how they would affect them.

“To achieve this level of saving, we are proposing to redesign the service with a core small team of wardens covering two district authority areas per warden team, with additional warden presence allocated to areas of highest need.

“This proposal is in no way a reflection on their performance. The successful community-based approach would be retained, and it is essential that the proposed new structure is scalable so that, if resources become available, we could look again at its provision.

“Setting this year’s budget was the most challenging it has ever been, due to increasing demands on KCC services and the cost of providing them. We have to set a balanced budget and are having to make some extremely tough decisions in order to continue to provide the most vital services within the financial resources available.”

How to have your say:

Before any decisions are made, KCC wants to hear your views on:

  • How the proposed reductions and approach to allocating wardens could impact you
  • Any additional information that you think we need to consider
  • Any alternative suggestions for how the service could make the savings
  • The assumptions we have made in the draft Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA).

Visit kent.gov.uk/communitywardenreview and complete the online questionnaire.

This consultation will run for 12 weeks from 12 July until 3 October 2023. 

Paper copies of the consultation material are available. To request these, or if you have any questions about this consultation email[email protected]

Telephone: 03000 42 26 88 (this number goes to an answer machine which is monitored during office hours).

Easy Read and Large Print versions of this document are available from KCC’s website or on request.

Consultation material is available in an alternative format or language. Please email [email protected] or telephone on 03000 42 15 53 (text relay service 18001 03000 42 15 53). This number goes to an answer machine, which is monitored during office hours.

What happens next?

The responses to the consultation will be analysed and result in a consultation report. This report will be published on the consultation webpage and presented at a meeting of the Growth, Economic Development and Communities Cabinet Committee in January 2024 for consideration and recommendation.

Following this meeting a decision is expected to be taken by the Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services. Details of the decision will be published on the consultation webpage. Any changes to warden allocations would most likely take effect in Spring 2024.

11 Comments

  1. How about removing all bonuses and perks from KCC and tdc staff for 2 years that should provide a large sum of tax payers money back into services. Also half the amount of councillors. as far to many for such a small area like thanet

  2. i dont think i have ever seen one – has anyone else ? , still they much have plenty of ( our ) spare money to clear that mess up left by ” travellers” that dont actually travel ?

  3. How about removing Councillors and council staff food allowance,why should we be paying for these peoples food in a cost of living crisis? Why should the rate payers be paying for it full STOP. ✋️

      • Look at their expenses on the KCC website, Karen Constantine has munched her way through over 500 pounds of food allowance, I think it is despicable that the tax payers are expected to feed these people and more despicable that Councillors are claiming this expense.

        • Uh ho Sparky. How about a little fact check? That claim was for hotel accommodation in Harrogate for the LGA conference. I went at very short notice as another individual was unable, and hotel rates were high as availability was extremely low. My claims are actually very low. One conference claim since 2017, for a Division of 42,000 people. No food claimed. Facts eh and pesky accurate details!

  4. If every allowance and expense claim was denied to councillors, then they’d all give it up. There would be no democracy.

  5. Appalling decision. Though when a significant proportion of KCCs annual budget is spent on old people (over £527 million) The rest of us don’t matter.

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