Of course you might have seen from the previous post that PCSB is short for the Tower Hamlets Police & Community Safety Board, that this year, has produced a glossy yearly report that even includes the budget spent during the last financial year. I am astounded to notice that the PCSB had a total budget of £58.785 and largely exists from an MPA grant of £50.000 per year, whilst other smaller amounts come from Surplus £3,985 from 2009, Metropolitan Police Service Grant £4,000 and LBTH drugs and alcohol action team £800.
The salary and costs of the Engagement Officer make an enormous £36.638, whilst meetings and events total £15.824,30. I have heard yesterday that the grant will get smaller and can only cover the salary of the engagement officer without covering any events. So what will the engagement officer be paid for and does he really need a full-time job? Honorarium and members’ expenses were £654, Advertising and publicity £4,605,35 and materials and resources £1,237,70. The board overspent by £200.
I also wonder about the inclusiveness of the board, whereby residents on low incomes get their fares paid to come to the often remote meetings. Whilst we have already been told that our refreshments had been abolished, we do not know what the proposed salary of that engagement officer is going to be when he has less to do now as there is no budget for events.
I find that there is the typical dilemma, amongst the cuts, whilst the government wants to encourage community participation, in an area like ours the costs of those community activists are not being paid and that is a serious draw back. It’s often those out of work who can spend the most time to do valuable observations and jobs around their area but to not even allow people the costs of coming to meetings makes such panels not inclusive to those that can’t afford the fares.
Unfortunately most likely also a victim of budget cuts will be the ads in East End Life each week, which tell us, which persons of our community were sentenced for crimes, so that we get to know our anti-social neighbours better. I am all in favour of not relying solely on volunteers, but to give all a chance to equally take responsibility; but to cut out any volunteer expenses is a bit too mean, I think.