On Monday, Brent Council decided to increase ward working budgets from 20,000 to 40,000 pounds. This was moved as a late amendment at the actual meeting.
Both the Tories and the Liberal Democrats opposed the move. I suspect that, as with recycling, Cllr Paul Lorber is once again leading his party down a dead end. Whereas the Tories opposition is, I think, populist opportunism, Cllr Lorber's hostilitity to ward working is longstanding and heartfelt.
When he was in opposition before 2006, he would routinely call for the entire ward working scheme to be scrapped. On attaining office, he was unable to fulfill this ambition as the other two parties opposed him, but he did scale back each ward's budget from 30k to 20k. The budget decision the other night now puts each ward's budget up to 40k.
As far as I can see, Cllr Paul Lorber simply does not understand the logic of the policy, which is that frontline councillors will only be taken seriously if they can bring some sort of budget, however small, to bear on a problem in their wards. He claimed that ward working had been unsuccessful in his own ward of Sudbury. If so, I am inclined to attribute its lack of success to him. Where councillors actually engage with the ward working agenda, it has been used to back all sorts of useful community projects.