I want councillors to be in charge of councils. That may seem obvious – unless you’ve served as a councillor!
Welcome news, I’m sure; but I’m less certain that the stuff she talks about to make that happen will really make the difference.
Putting councillors at the centre of what councils do requires more than permission to hold your surgery on council property, or supplying the leader with a desk, a phone, a computer or support staff. In passing you have to wonder just where is it that council leaders don’t have those resources?
Still, lets wait and see the full White Paper on Wednesday before passing judgement.
My guess is that Hazel wouldn’t see Lewisham as somewhere which has too many problems on this front, and she’d be right, to an extent. The development of ward based assemblies seems to significantly enhance the community leadership opportunities for councillors, and my experience was that Lewisham’s officers have a healthy respect for the democratic mandate. But, I still think that more could be done to promote the decisions that are being taken and the political debates that are currently being had by our elected representatives.
Of course the politicians and their political parties have duty in this. If they’re not blowing their own trumpets then just how hard should officers bother?