Communities in control: real people, real power

Communities in Control

Communities in Control

The computer ate my very long post about the new White Paper, for which you should feel grateful.

Anyway to cut to the chase, the papers got some stuff I like – removing the need for “two click” policies for councillor websites, ammending the Widdicombe rules, stuff about creating better and more accessible local information, realising that information needs to flow two ways and doing some small things to help that to happen, and giving some power to petitioners to have their concerns debated in council chambers.

There’s more, much more. But, perhaps happily, there’s none of that really big structural stuff that takes years of effort to (often) little visible difference to those who’ve not gone through it. So, no changes to the voting system, regionalisation, a bit of a vague promise to think about parishing, and a small section on trying to encourage more areas to take up the mayoral model, but nothing as radical as the IPPR were advocating.

The one idea that I saw in my quick skip through (most of) the 157 pages was about offering incentives to vote, not because I don’t see the need to encourage voting, but because I think it may be the thin end of a wedge and potentially cheepens democratic engagement.

If any of that sounds interesting then go check it out for yourself.

Update: Dave points out Hazel Blears is doing a time limited blog on the White Paper, so if you have a few thoughts why not let her know.  Or if you feel more comfortable there you can do the same thing on the discussion forum.

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About Andrew Brown

I live in Lewisham, South East London, and spent 9 years as a Labour councillor in the borough between 1997 and 2006.
This entry was posted in Civic Society, Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Communities in control: real people, real power

  1. Pingback: Bringing on the heartache? at LondonSays

  2. Lone Ranger says:

    Well, one change I’d like is questions from the public online before or on the same day as a council meeting.

    The last council meeting was 30 June and questions have not yet appeared online. The next council meeting is July 16 and the list of questions has already been decided.

    Doesn’t seem to encourage local involvement.

  3. I remain to be convinced. I’ve read the exec summary and will go through the full White Paper this weekend (for professional purposes, but I may post something).

    The cynic in me says until we break the DoH/DCSF stranglehold then we are all relieving ourselves in a particularly strong breeze.

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