Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Trust me a little ...

After a challenging weekend with my nearest and dearest, I came into work yesterday to this.
Some of the interesting arguments in it relate to what local politicians should be doing rather than slagging each other off without however addressing the sticky wicket of resourcing.

Another interesting bit includes a quote from then former Chief Executive of Solihull, current Chief Executive of Northamptonshire County Council, Katherine Kerswell. Katherine highlights the importance of citizens feeling that they have at least been listened to in decision making even if they disagree with the decision made.

The publication also dwells a little on the semantics and space between justice and fairness ... can there be a distinction to people who are outside of local governmentspeak? The document talks about citizens having trust in the organisations like Councils when they don't deliver for them as long as they can see that things are done fairly. Can't see it myself.

The legislation for decision making now demands thorough investigation on how decisions changes will affect people and whether new decisions will unfairly or less favourably treat people and has done since 2000. It's interesting that in a document based on discussing trust, there is no mention of discrimination and less favourable treatment. Equally, there's not consistent application of the legistlation as yet in local authorities. Perhaps it's just a little unfashionable at the moment. When doing the right thing and making the right decisions based on treating people equally falls out favour it's a trend that I'm willing to to fight. I don't think I'm the only one either.


Tony Clarke said...


The greatest obstacle to Local Authority Directors and CEO's understanding the concept of "Trust" isn't the electorate itself.

They are ready for the debate, the biggest obstacle is the inability for anyone in Local Government to even try and talk to them in a language that encourages trust and openess.

I don't want "Best Value" I simply want my bins collected, and I don't give two hoots as to the Council's CPA report or how its faring against its monthly performance indicators I just want someone to come and cut the grass.

And that the whole problem of council academics trying to talk to Joe Public about "consultation"

The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.

And anyone who oversees the spending of millions of pounds on consultants telling us what we already know and encouraging us to spend scarce resources on things we don't need (including more consultancy)is living in a world of their own illusions.

Anjona Roy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anjona Roy said...

The issue of trust as I see it is when people can see that they have previously had neighbourhood wardens, the question arises as to why should they be stretched to cover a much, much, larger area (Spencers warden has been stretcted over the years to cover Spencer estate, then Spencer estate and Kings Heath and now Spencer Estate, Kings Heath and Duston) when other areas have two or three wardens taking the responsibility for the area (St James has three covering it!).

If you did an equality impact assessment on it it would highlight any indirect discrimination.

I think people can work out when their bins and collected less often and genuinely ask the question, "so why didn't the council tax go down or what other service did you spend it on?".

People are well aware of the wool being pulled over their eyes and that why managers and politicians have to be a bit more honest.

We also have to figure out what to do with those politicians who repeatedly say that the town centre toilets are open when they've been closed, who say that the market square has been improved when local traders have been decimated and when there's half baked attempt after half baked attempt to save the towns events when each attempt loses more money than the previous one.

I genuine believe it is a crisis at the moment, but the only real way forward is to get local people to set the agenda as they have done in London with the "living wage campaign". In mymind the only way forward.

DavidBrede said...

Surely the notion of indicators are that they score whether or not the bins are being collected or not.

A few anecdotes about a bin not being collected does not tell you are all bins not being collected or just the one.

I think you are right Anjona if there are some agendas set by the public at large as it seems that the communication channel of the local councillor such as Tony Clarke does not work as well as it should.