Tag Archives: councils

The importance of community consultation

Quite recently, I was sitting in a council chamber when the topic of consultation was brought up by one of my fellow councillors. It made me think! I often wonder what springs to our minds when someone says – ‘community consultation’. I often have mixed feelings. On one hand, I am glad that someone asks a question which may be relevant and important to me. However, in too many cases, our actual contribution is not necessarily taken into the consideration. Far too often, the decision is already made and we can’t really influence it. It feels like we are fed up with simply ‘being consulted’ for no real reason.

Local authorities, government, businesses, they all want to listen to our opinions. We are always told that our ‘voice’ matters. Examples? Closure of a local hospital, cuts in bus provision or even Brexit which in my opinion could fall into the category of ‘community consultation’ (it was an advisory referendum). More recently, some would argue (not me) that the selection process of the Conservative Party Leader was part of a consultation. I also wonder whether any elections could be called a “consultation exercise”. We ask residents’ their opinions on topics, often in line with a party policy, of local or national importance. This is how, I hope, we would make our political judgment. Moreover, we actively encourage people to vote to enhance and strengthen our civic participation process.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 5 Comments

Tory centralisation has failed us on Coronavirus. It’s time to consider the local alternatives.

We have seen how the government has acted too slow to implement a lockdown and not given councils enough resources to be able to help people locally.

Coronavirus has also shown us how the Tory government believes it is best to deal with the Coronavirus centrally rather than making more use of local government. As a Liberal Democrat I believe strongly in localism – one of the party’s founding principles.

In Ealing, despite the Council being run by the Labour party, the Liberal Democrats have managed to take a more active role than many opposition parties. Liberal Democrats in Ealing have been able to make decisions locally that affect the people we serve during the Coronavirus period.

To deal with Coronavirus effectively, we need money and support from the national government – not dictates. It is important there is trust in the local government partners. Yet this Tory government has done exactly the opposite of that.

Firstly, on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): if we had waited for the government’s supplies to arrive, our care homes would have run out very quickly. Instead we bought large supplies alongside other West London boroughs so that our care homes had regular supplies.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 5 Comments

Recent Comments

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    As I see it, about half of voters in England would support rejoining the EU yet no major party is willing to represent this position. I can’t understand the r...
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    It is all so frustrating. What do ordinary members have to do to get the 'leadership' to shout about our clear and distinctive position on relationships with th...
  • Tim Rogers
    In general I agree with this although perhaps longer than I would have gone for. It explains why brexit has,is and will fail and cool level headed thinking is n...
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