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JIS News

The Hanover Parish Council has come out in praise of the local government reform process, noting that it has facilitated improvements in the council’s operations.
“We have seen some positives coming out of local government reform,” said Secretary Manager, Alfred Graham. He told JIS News, that the process had resulted in a strengthening of the staff complement by the inclusion of more senior posts, and the filling of those positions with highly qualified and adequately trained personnel. This move, he said, had resulted in “great improvements” in the efficiency level within that parish council, and also better delivery of service to the public.
Mr. Graham also praised the Ministry of Local Government, Community Development and Sport, for instituting a training schedule for both staff and councillors, which, he said, had resulted in better understanding of the roles of both, and the provision of better service to the public.
He further pointed to improved revenue flow to the parish council as a result of increased compliance from barbers, hairdressers, butchers and car parks. “And, by ensuring that these persons comply with the regulations we have seen improved revenues from the fees that are attached to these areas, and these persons now operate in a more customer friendly and healthy environment..resulting in a better service for the public”, he stated.
The Secretary Manager also made mention of the fact that there was increased revenue coming to the parish council from the Parochial Revenue Fund, which is financed from motor vehicle licensing fees.
He said that two thirds of those fees remain in the parish, and the funds were dedicated to roadwork inclusive of the maintenance of all parochial roads and drains.
Mr. Graham further praised the staff of the Hanover Parish Council for their willingness to adopt to the changes. “We are now operating in an environment, where the staff looks forward to coming to an office that is really modern and is comparable with any major private sector office operation. So, this in itself is a positive, and is a motivating factor for the officers, who operate from here”, he emphasized.
He said that feedback from the general public with regards to the improvements taking place within the Hanover Parish Council under the reform process, has been positive, noting that residents were most pleased with the reduction in processing time for development applications.
Meanwhile, Mr. Graham pointed to the need for clear definitions of the responsibilities of Councillors. He noted that while there were clear and written job descriptions for staff of the parish council, by which they were guided, there were no such clear and written descriptions of the roles and functions of the councillors, and misunderstandings occured from time to time.