This piece is taken directly from H&F News
With the royal wedding and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee set to take place later this year, organising a street party or fete has never been easier in Hammersmith & Fulham.
Instead of reams of forms and red tape getting in the way of organising small scale local events, if residents want to hold a small street party or local fete in the borough all they need to do now is fill in one simple on-line form. Residents without a computer can ask to be sent the form which is only a few pages long instead of the previous lengthy forms.
John Griffiths, Chairman of the popular Greenfest event - which has taken place in Furnivall Gardens for the past eight years, says: “Simpler on-line forms are definitely the way to go. It is much easier and quicker by computer and it used to be quite tedious to fill in 23 pages by hand every year. If this speeds up the time it takes the council to approve events it will also be a good thing.”
Under previous time-consuming central Government regulations, community groups were asked to apply for up to five separate licences and found it difficult to navigate through the numerous layers of bureaucracy and paperwork. They also found the process to be tedious which often lead to delays or cancellations to community events.
Last year Hammersmith & Fulham (H&F) Council, the country's most efficient local authority, revealed a list of 105 ways for central government to deliver more for less during the age of austerity.
Amongst the council’s suggestions was the proposal to sweep away with the huge number of obstacles that local groups faced if they wanted to hold a community event like a street party.
The council, the current 'Council of the Year' as judged by the Local Government Chronicle, argued that setting local authorities free from the ball and chain of regulatory burdens would give them more scope to get on with the job themselves and save taxpayers’ cash.
Cllr Harry Phibbs, H&F Council's cabinet member for community engagement, said: “Fetes, street parties and fairs should be fun, and everyone's energy needs to go into the fun part - not trawling through endless reams of guidance and dusty rules. I am delighted that the Government has listened to our suggestions and made it easier for community groups to hold small events.
“With the royal wedding and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee due within months, this stripping away of bureaucracy has happened just in time and I look forward to seeing the bunting out and the parties in full flow next year.”
As a result of the council’s proposals, there are now two main requirements for groups that wish to hold a small event. They must have community approval and make appropriate arrangements for diverting traffic. Exactly the same rules now apply to small community Christmas celebrations such as carol concerts or fairs.
H&F says that if all of its 105 recommendations were agreed, it would save the council a minimum of £500,000 or £200 million across the country. Nine million council officer hours a year would be saved across Britain not counting the millions of hours that residents and business spend on dealing with the red-tape their end, according to the council.
If you would like to apply to have a small local event click here
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