Call to reverse cuts to Kent County Council’s community warden service

Community warden scheme

By Local Democracy Reporter Simon Finlay

Plans to save £1 million by slashing the county’s community warden scheme are to receive extra scrutiny.

The service is set to be reduced as part of Kent County Council’s drive to find tens of millions of pounds in savings.

It would see the number of managers and uniformed officers shrink from 73 in total to 39 although the aim is to retain a presence in all 12 districts.

But dedicated wardens for individual communities would be phased out and expected to cover more than one patch.

The Kent Community Warden Service has proved popular, where areas can have a uniformed presence keeping an eye on residents and deterring crime.

The proposed cuts have been “called in” to this week’s scrutiny committee by the leaders of the Labour and Liberal Democrat opposition groups, Dr Lauren Sullivan and Antony Hook.

By law, Kent County Council (KCC) has to maintain statutory services, such as social care and education, so the spotlight is likely to continue to fall on areas regarded as ‘discretionary’.

KCC is under severe pressure to find efficiencies to avoid having to issue a section 114 notice, which is effectively a declaration of bankruptcy.

Cllrs Sullivan and Hook will argue the warden cuts do not comply with the KCC policies on service transformation and new models of care.

The consultation into the changes ran from July to October last year, during which 1,300 questionnaires were completed, many in support of the warden service.

Cllr Hook said: “The wardens have proved invaluable to our communities, especially when police presence has been scaled back. We can only hope that there can be a rethink.”

The councillors’ “call in” paper said wardens have already started to leave the service rather than wait to see if they still had a job.

It adds: “The managed decline of the service, via the inevitable reduction in headcount and then standard process of vacancy management within the service, the decision has not been open and staff have sadly left before the inevitable was to happen, making the decision technically confirmed before the cabinet member has taken it.

“This has led to experienced staff, known in their communities, leaving to pursue other careers.

“Where is the dignity, respect and fairness in this for our valued staff?

“It could be argued that no other KCC service is having their role as clearly debated in public as this. Once again KCC has consulted but held no regard to the findings of the consultation.”

The KCC scrutiny committee will listen to the arguments on February 7.

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

8 Comments

  1. Kcc Consultation in fact means we will be going ahead with it. There hasnt been any consultation that has reversed their plans including road traffic calming, speed limits, cuts in services. They are all playing lip service.

  2. I did not know that Community Wardens still existed. I cannot remember seeing one for years. Where are they and what do they do ?

    Many moons ago there always used to be a pair patrolling the High Street to curb antisocial behaviour, littering, shoplifting, etc.

  3. Community wardens, please what do the look like Do they wear uniforms and what are their powers..
    Maybe those local here are plain clothes or wokeing from home…

  4. Those who have had call to make use of the Wardens know their value.
    KCC make many poor decisions but the plan to decimate the wardens is one of the worst. I still cannot understand why they can’t be funded by the bloated adult social care budget.

  5. The cuts have to be made so the tory government can afford the tax cuts they have tried to bribe people with for your vote, in the meantime councils are going bust. What a crap government.

    • Steve – and the alternative is? If it is the mob I saw on TV having a meeting ‘preparing for government’ , I despair for the future.

  6. Mob? Fed up.Do you mean the Labour party?
    This general election is going to be bad enough, without amateur propagandists for the status quo spreading exaggerated hyperbolic statements.
    Labour may be boring,lacking in aspirations, and attempting to be ‘bomb proof ‘, but that hardly constitutes a mob.In fact Labour is spending so much effort to be ‘electable’, that it is ignoring a considerable constituency that wants far reaching change.The reform party appears to offer that change but does so by the means of blaming the other,i.e. migrants.
    Local govt is in trouble because of 14 years of consistent underfunding.They were warned and even now the government blames local authorities for poor financial management on spending on ‘diversity training ‘of all things.
    I think the long queue outside a newly opened NHS dentist in Bristol,is all the evidence we need to prove that Broken Britain exists, and was promulgated by this government.

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