Efforts made to solve Riding of the Bounds issues
Steps are being taken to try to ensure better organisation of Berwick Riding of the Bounds.
While this year’s event, which attracted more than 80 horses and riders, was widely considered a success there were problems behind the scenes in the build-up.
Town clerk Gareth Davies said: “It is the consensus of opinion between the town council and Berwick Riders Association (BRA) that whilst the 2018 Riding of the Bounds was a success, the relationship between town council and the BRA did not work well.”
To resolve the issues, the council now proposes to agree with BRA a schedule of items that it will procure, to be completed by November each year. This would represent the total town council commitment to BRA.
Mr Davies explained further: “BRA cherish their independence and would prefer to run their own organisation without interference from the town council. Conversely, town council is duty bound to follow its own financial regulations if it is procuring services in its own name. Many of the difficulties in 2018 arose from this and it is not easy to see a solution.
“Previously, the council has offered to fund and procure specific aspects of the event, although this agreement is neither well documented nor well specified.
“Council is still pursuing the option of being able to provide a volunteer led traffic management service in Berwick, but this option is not currently supported by Northumberland County Council. It is increasingly difficult to be able to predict whether Northumberland County Council will change its position on this. However, this report is primarily focussed on the financial rather than operational aspects of organising the event.”
Councillors also called for BRA to provide a balance sheet prior to any funding commitment being made.