Too much governance

Sometimes I am asked "What is the Council doing that is new?" And to be honest there is always an answer to that. But should there be?

I don't think there should. There must come a time when a local government has changed all that it needs to change and when the work it does becomes day-to-day management rather than great schemes and projects. This would be when Council Taxes could settle down and people would be, I suspect, happier with their governance.

Sadly this isn't possible at the moment. This isn't because Councillors are habitual meddlers (though there will undoubtedly be some of us who are) but because of central government. When I think about the main activities that the Council carries out (Planning, leisure facilities, waste collection, environmental health, Council housing) none of these is untouched by the Whitehall meddle-machine.

It is time that Councillors were left alone a little by the British government and its quasi non-governmental organisations and allowed to bed-in some of the impositions.

So what sort of meddling do I mean? Aside from the obvious — and unavoidable — implementation of new Acts of Parliament, Councils must adopt new Council House selection processes, Councils must produce several plans including a document setting out guidelines for design for local planning applications and developments (the document West Sussex County Council have created is excellent, but that's not the point — it must have cost a fortune) and much more.

The truth is the work that Councillors must perform is mostly easy. The difference between one party's Councillors and another is the effort they put into cost-savings and whether they focus slightly more on one aspect or another. Overall services will still be delivered. Our Councillors are involved in the KWASH campaign as local 'advocates' but it is not strictly within the Council's remit.

So this is a request for central government: stop meddling in local governments and allow Councillors to get on with the work of running the Council.

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