Tuesday 5 April 2011

Improving Our Local Democracy

Cllr James Powney, the lead member for libraries, points out on his blog that the Extraordinary Council Meeting on library closures to be held on April 13th will make no difference because under the present Constitution full council now has no power to overturn decisions made by the Council Executive. He says it is just a 'talking shop'. In another posting he laments the 'partisan' atmosphere of the Scrutiny Committee which he suggests if used properly could have a role in improving council decision making.

The whole issue of council democracy could do with a fresh look.  Recently I have talked to Labour and Liberal Democrat backbench councillors who feel that under the present system they have very little voice in their own party's policy and little chance to contribute. Some are quite depressed by the experience and not likely to stand for election again.

On a wider level there is a danger that citizens who engage with the council will become disaffected by what some see as a disdainful rejection of the representations and proposals  they have made on issues such as library closures, Charteris Sports Centre and day centres.  Surely with the Coalition undermining local government through cuts and very low voter turn-out in local elections, the Council should be promoting active citizenship rather than dismissing it?


Anonymous said...

Brent Labour are playing with Fire - the library closures, Charteris Sports centre the list goes on.
Just wait til the fortnightly waste collections start (another Cllr Powney great idea) -
A lot of them will be looking for part time jobs to make up for their missing £12k per year.
Brent Voters are not stupid and will have long memories.

Anonymous said...

I agree