Author Topic: Time to end local 'democrasy'? Cash Strapped Council and a Vision Which Is A Void.  (Read 3918 times)

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Offline Tobes

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A discussion piece in response to Councillor Renard's piece in the Adver - http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/13778913.Rethinking_our_approach_will_be_a_challenge__says_David_Renard/

There's a schizophrenic view in government which sees them both slashing council budgets AND increasing the amount of services (with related bureaucracy) for which they bear legal responsibility to deliver...

It seems to me, that having been emasculated with regards their influence over planning, and with capped taxation and spending, we're in fact approaching the point where local government is becoming pointless. We don't get the representation we thought we'd elected, because the council simply doesn't have the power, influence or budget to address pretty much any of the issues which concern local people.

Rather than a pathetic and perverted form of local government which is characterized by shrugs and the standard response of 'we can't do anything about it because we don't have the money / legislation prevents us from acting', why don't we simply close Euclid and hand the responsibility over to one of the usual suspects; Crapita, Seqol, Group 4 et al? After all, conservative politicians seem happy enough to let these groups run vast swathes of the rest of our public services as it is (as were Labour under Brown and Blair too, lest we forget).

Cut out the cost of the middle man and the increasingly pointless seeming local elections, end the pretense of local democracy. Because that's increasing what it seems to me to be - a pretense.

If the conservatives love PFI so much, and think that voluntary groups can take up the slack, why not do the honourable thing, draw up a contract, sign a PFI deal and resign?

Perhaps the more competent can roll up their sleeves and take on a voluntary role.

 ::)
« Last Edit: September 24, 2015, 09:32:45 AM by Tobes »


I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline Donian

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But yet the government are devolving powers to local government. This frankly scares me. I respect councillors for the work they put in but I think many lack the calibre required and there's little scrutiny at local level.

Offline Tobes

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Quote
But yet the government are devolving powers to local government

So we're told - but how does that actually translate in reality?

Is palming off ever more issues and services onto local government really an increase in their power, when legislation both demands their compliance AND prevents any real budgetary flexibility?

Responsibility without power is no power at all. Its just a way of shifting blame for failure from central to local government.

Its why Renards words look so gapingly empty and don't equate to any kind of plan or vision worth calling. Basically he's saying 'we've got bugger all money, we're going to get even less, and oh, by the way, government is going to demand even more of us'.

I don't blame him for the position he finds himself in, but I think it would be healthier for all to realise how increasingly unimportant these moves make local government. If we merely make our elected representatives the whipping boys and girls for the policies of central government and the efficiency or otherwise of council officers, we're all wasting a lot of time, money and effort.

I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline Muggins

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Some of it has been devolved down as far as Neighbourhood and from what is happening here, you are justified to feel afraid. 

It's not a lot of money, but it is being used unwisely and adding nothing to the welfare of people or covering lost, or about to be lost , services.

Over stretched and inexperienced officer are trying to cope with more work than they can realistically fit into their time. Communication is at an all time low with little or no Admin behind them.

In some cases making more work for themselves (and others) than they need to and causing disruptions in what was a smoothly flowing community.

Despite the strap line being - "we have to save money!"   
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Terry Reynolds

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so why spend 4 million on the wifi debacle when bt and vodaphone can do the job just as well if not better.. :2funny:

Offline Tobes

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But the budgets are being slashed year on year, way beyond any realistic expectations of commensurate savings in efficiency - added to which, central government wants local councils to deliver (I cant say manage, because they are obliged to on a capped budget and according to legislative rules) ever more services....

I no longer blame the council for much of the crappola  - they are victims of serial underfunding and a minimal legal mandate to actually do anything, despite being lumbered with the responsibility. Wifi might have been an epic blunder of incompetance, but I can entirely see why they'd be vulnerable to smooth talking salesmen, promising a quick return. If the ways to raise money to actually attempt to deliver the things youd like to do for the town are so infinitesimally small otherwise, its a rather human and understandable temptation. What a shame therefore it was so spectaculalry bungled and then hidden behind ego and bluster - but five years on, I do see it in something of a different light.

Frankly, it amazes me that they're not more honest and outspoken about the current situation, given the criticism and subsequent disengagement from the public. Toadying to central government really isnt going to help them.
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'

Offline the gorgon

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Looks like they want parish councils across the whole town http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/13784491.Plans_to_introduce_parish_councils_across_whole_town_revealed/

Really don't know if it's a good thing or not, on one hand parish councillors are more likely to be in-tune with what is going on in the parish, on the other hand it could be a small clique of people who care only about one bit of the parish.  It might help get things done quicker than dealing with SBC would, on the other it could just be another layer of inept politicians.

Looks like a way of increasing council tax by stealth, but then again if the extra money goes directly to my parish council to be spent on things I might actually use...