Community wardens may soon be patrolling the streets on a permanent basis after councillors agreed to recommend making their posts long-term at a cost of over £200,000.
The recommendation to provide neighbourhood support workers came from members of the council’s infrastructure committee last week. However, the posts will be reviewed in 12 months time, after concerns were raised over funding provision.
The budget of £245,000 for managing anti-social behaviour is no longer ring-fenced, meaning it can now be used for other purposes if required.
That means the money available for government-led projects could soon be depleted, as the funds are snapped up to cover other costs.
The committee heard calls for the council to closely examine the money it spends on government-led initiatives in the future, as the funding available for them comes to and end.
Councillor Betty Fullerton called for the review. “As part of the single outcome agreement with the Scottish government local authorities are given a pot of money which has encompassed what in the past was ring-fenced money for particular projects, which at the time previous governments were pushing forward.
“I’ve absolutely no problem with this approach. It does give a lot more local control about where we spend our money, but what we need to be careful about is that we look at where this is affecting different areas of service and what we’re going to do about the future.
“There are definitely a lot of areas ring fenced in the past still under that funding and we will now have to find that out of the pot of money we are getting to spend.”
The neighbourhood support service consists of four temporary wardens, who complete 21 hours a week.
They complete a shift pattern covering days, evenings up to 11pm and weekends.
A report before the committee said support workers had received 269 referrals from different agencies in the year to date requesting they monitor or patrol to specific issues.
They were originally asked to build the service within Lerwick, however there are plans to see them work in the wider Shetland area.