Sunday, 19 December 2010

We can't pin down our local elected representatives

We never seem to be able to pin down our local elected representatives. Council tax - it always used to be 'nothing to do with us guv' because the government fixed the amount of redistributive grant. This was the excuse for having set an exorbitant council tax increase to balance the books. "If you don't like it change the government". Council tax doesn't do what it says on the tin.

Having not entirely got past that one we turn our attention to spending and whether we are well governed. We are not but then we find that we  can't turn to Surrey MPs for support with council tax because there is a chinese wall between them and councillors. Not only that but we can't see what we are getting for the Party 'brand'.

So we think some more about this and conclude that we must face up to those who run things and are supposed to be accountable to us. Councillors say "we are elected to represent the people of Surrey. We are not managers." This seems to be an Upstairs/Downstairs idea that the elected ones are only concerned with strategy and policy while the appointed paid officers look after execution and administration.. This is an artificial and unreal distinction in the total system which embraces responsibility and delegated decision-making. It matters of there is bad policy and unproductive or unnecessary process.

The cost to us is compounded by the many committeess, select or otherwise, all requiring servicing, set up for Party political balance to monitor everything and in so doing dilute the managerial process.

This all represents a huge unproductive and wasted cost  which is nevertheless difficult to measure..

And when we go to the voting booth we are short of evidence to inform our judgement such as a timely Annual Report of activity, financial performance and state of affairs as is rquired by law. We are also short of the  CVs of those aspiring to take executive responsibility.

We are campaigning into this dimension and are looking for anecdotal evidence to make the case for better behaviour, and reform. Please give us your support because we want a better, less costly, county council. Register with us if you share our ambitions, it will not cost you one penny