Consultations

At the council meeting on Wednesday night, I exhibited the unmitigated gall to introduce a motion for a permanent link to “consultations“ on the very front of the Council’s website.   Making it possible and easier for citizens to participate in putting their views forward to the governing process and to those who “represent” them.  In “strong leader“ forms of local government, it is very important for the bureaucracy to make sure that any consultation with the public is difficult to achieve, hard for any citizens to participate in, and easily dispatched to the scrapheap of irrelevance.

Consulting with the public, more often than every four years in the election cycle is critical to the effective running of all the tiers of the government.  So, if someone like me proposes making this easy to access and easy to achieve for the public, you put the bureaucracy and the strong leader and their zone of immunity in a very difficult position.   Traditionally they have only ever agreed to doing consultations because they are forced to by the central government, and are usually buried in impossible-to-reach places..   Can you imagine what would happen if we actually allowed the public to have a say in what their government is really doing?  Unthinkable…

Of course, if you want to make such a motion, the bureaucracy requires you to set it down and register it about 10 days before meeting where you might make such a motion.   So, of course, a “consultations“ tab suddenly appears on the front page of the website. A tab that was clearly hastily constructed and put at the bottom of the page to make sure that whilst it was present, and that it was well concealed.

Well, the matter did pass thanks to the very effective skills of the leader of the opposition Rodney Bates. So despite the pointless protestations of those torys who would seek to ensure the Public has no effective say in our democratic process, we move forward…

2 Replies to “Consultations”

  1. Excellent! But not ambitious enough! 1) Not enough emphasis on ALL relevant consultations. Visitors to the SHBC ‘Consultations’ tab wouldn’t learn about the current museum consultation – http://www.surreyheath.gov.uk/visitors/whats-on/event/museum-consultation-behind-scenes-tours-0. Of course, some have suggested that this is a post-decision consultation. 2) And, why not push further? Get the council to PUBLISH THE RESULTS of consultations.

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