Councillor Dave Pearson On The Nottinghamshire County Council Public Consultation.
I attended a meeting on Tuesday at County Hall with regard to possible Local Government Re-organisation and would like to bring out a few points which came out as a result of that.
This meeting was attended by Clerks & Leaders of Parish/Town Councils and was run by ORS; there were no County Councillors present.
1) I totally agree with Teresa with regard to this initial consultation and the way it has been introduced and the wording of the form. Alas this kind of consultation is typical of the way all Councils seem to go about things. ORS conceded that his could have been done better.
2) I did not get the impression that this was a ‘done deal’ as suggested by one County Councillor. This is only an initial consultation, and should the County Council decide to embark on this path in December, there will be a further, longer consultation early next year.
3) There was considerable dissatisfaction expressed by a number of Town/Parish Councils with regard to the way the Boroughs operate, and this applied throughout the County.
4) The savings that are being looked at does not particularly apply to Councillors but the higher tiers of management within the Districts. Seven Chief executives alone on salaries on a par with the Prime Minister amounts to over £1 million of public money. Then consider all the other very highly paid officers in each Borough; this adds up to a considerable sum of money; our money!
5) Regarding local democracy two points need to be made. There would obviously need to be an increase in the number of County Councillors but not to the extent of replacing all Borough Councillors and this would remove the anomaly of Councillors being on both Borough and County as referred to by one of your correspondents. Secondly the intention is to retain Parish and Town Councils and possibly set up similar structures in areas that do not have these, but this would not amount to the cost of the Borough Councils. In some ways, this could, and I stress could, improve local democracy; if it was done in the right way.
6) With regard to the idea suggested that Broxtowe set itself up as a unitary authority itself. Firstly is in not of sufficient size to be viable, and secondly the way Broxtowe has carried on its affairs/operations over the last couple of years does not inspire any confidence in its capabilities of running such an organisation. To add to this I continually hear complaints from residents “What has Broxtowe done for us? It is only ever interested in Beeston.”
These kind of points need to be considered when responding to the consultation and a judgement should be made pragmatically and on the merits of proposals and not coloured by politics of the various political parties.