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> Surrey confirms plans to raise council tax by 15%, What would you vote if West Berks did the same?
Simon Kirby
post Feb 24 2017, 07:08 PM
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QUOTE (blackdog @ Feb 24 2017, 01:37 PM) *
Mind you with all the direction coming from Whitehall, I'm not convinced LAs have much of a role in education at all

Me neither. Neither am I convinced that local authorities have a role in trading standards, environmental health, social services, housing, waste collection, roads, planning, health and safety, and libraries. There is maybe a role for parish-level local government in the preparation of local plans, but the planning decisions themselves should be made exclusively by informed professionals with reference to those local plans.

The problem with local authorities is their board of management - councillors! Despite the Tory rhetoric quangos can be quite an effective way of delivering public services with national agencies working through local offices giving you local knowledge with all the benefits of economy of scale and depth of expertise, and despite the rhetoric of localism the majority of those services really require very few policy decisions, and for those that do, direct local democracy is quite possible now - we could for example be asked to vote annually on the service level for a range of services and the national agencies would then deliver those services locally to the standard agreed locally.

There'd still be a role for local political activists seeking to influence those service level choices, but it would end the nonsense of electing deciders to decide on our behalf when we're perfectly capable of deciding for ourselves.


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user23
post Feb 25 2017, 12:13 PM
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QUOTE (Simon Kirby @ Feb 24 2017, 07:08 PM) *
Me neither. Neither am I convinced that local authorities have a role in trading standards, environmental health, social services, housing, waste collection, roads, planning, health and safety, and libraries. There is maybe a role for parish-level local government in the preparation of local plans, but the planning decisions themselves should be made exclusively by informed professionals with reference to those local plans.

The problem with local authorities is their board of management - councillors! Despite the Tory rhetoric quangos can be quite an effective way of delivering public services with national agencies working through local offices giving you local knowledge with all the benefits of economy of scale and depth of expertise, and despite the rhetoric of localism the majority of those services really require very few policy decisions, and for those that do, direct local democracy is quite possible now - we could for example be asked to vote annually on the service level for a range of services and the national agencies would then deliver those services locally to the standard agreed locally.

There'd still be a role for local political activists seeking to influence those service level choices, but it would end the nonsense of electing deciders to decide on our behalf when we're perfectly capable of deciding for ourselves.
The opposite is happening, with local regions being able to decide more for themselves thanks to the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016.
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On the edge
post Feb 25 2017, 05:31 PM
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QUOTE (user23 @ Feb 25 2017, 12:13 PM) *
The opposite is happening, with local regions being able to decide more for themselves thanks to the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016.


The secret us in the text, the words 'some' and 'combined' tend to give it away. It's really an attempt to replicate the London model in the bigger conurbations particularly in the North. WBC dead in the water, clearly even HMG see it as too small to be viable even medium term.

Anyone wanting a physical illustration of the crass silliness of the existing system simply needs to consider why in the pretend County of Berkshire, two large public parks in close proximity are managed by two separate councils operating with separate staff from separate offices. Not sure even Lewis Caroll could have dreamed that up.


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user23
post Feb 26 2017, 03:37 PM
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QUOTE (On the edge @ Feb 25 2017, 05:31 PM) *
The secret us in the text, the words 'some' and 'combined' tend to give it away. It's really an attempt to replicate the London model in the bigger conurbations particularly in the North. WBC dead in the water, clearly even HMG see it as too small to be viable even medium term.

Anyone wanting a physical illustration of the crass silliness of the existing system simply needs to consider why in the pretend County of Berkshire, two large public parks in close proximity are managed by two separate councils operating with separate staff from separate offices. Not sure even Lewis Caroll could have dreamed that up.
What I'm saying is, whilst you have a view local services should be managed nationally, actually the opposite is happening and more national services are being managed locally.
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Cognosco
post Feb 26 2017, 04:11 PM
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QUOTE (user23 @ Feb 26 2017, 03:37 PM) *
What I'm saying is, whilst you have a view local services should be managed nationally, actually the opposite is happening and more national services are being managed locally.


Mismanaged? rolleyes.gif


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On the edge
post Feb 26 2017, 05:34 PM
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QUOTE (user23 @ Feb 26 2017, 03:37 PM) *
What I'm saying is, whilst you have a view local services should be managed nationally, actually the opposite is happening and more national services are being managed locally.


Yes, that's right at the moment but for big conurbations akin to London and the Manchester area. So this doesn't solve the majority issue, the little councils like West Berkshire. Creating these regional authorities then produces a counter to the devolved regional Government in Scotland and Wales. I'm sure you'll have noticed that 'Cornwall' features in the act you copied. For this area, in good time, we might expect perhaps a Wessex region.
How would these regions deliver services; via contracted agencies.


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user23
post Feb 26 2017, 06:42 PM
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QUOTE (On the edge @ Feb 26 2017, 05:34 PM) *
Yes, that's right at the moment but for big conurbations akin to London and the Manchester area. So this doesn't solve the majority issue, the little councils like West Berkshire. Creating these regional authorities then produces a counter to the devolved regional Government in Scotland and Wales. I'm sure you'll have noticed that 'Cornwall' features in the act you copied. For this area, in good time, we might expect perhaps a Wessex region.
How would these regions deliver services; via contracted agencies.
You say regions would deliver services via contracted agencies, however what's actually happened in your example of Cornwall is they're in-sourcing services.

Do you have a link to plans for the proposed Wessex region? Bar a few crackpots on Twitter, I've not seen any serious proposals about it.
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On the edge
post Feb 26 2017, 07:20 PM
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QUOTE (user23 @ Feb 26 2017, 06:42 PM) *
You say regions would deliver services via contracted agencies, however what's actually happened in your example of Cornwall is they're in-sourcing services.

Do you have a link to plans for the proposed Wessex region? Bar a few crackpots on Twitter, I've not seen any serious proposals about it.


If you think about it; there are very good reasons why that is desperately needed in Cornwall - which has for rather long suffered in silence. Wessex is a good name for an region don't you think; but probably too small; plus as you say, the 'crackpots' have damaged the brand.


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On the edge
post Feb 26 2017, 07:58 PM
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QUOTE (user23 @ Feb 26 2017, 03:37 PM) *
What I'm saying is, whilst you have a view local services should be managed nationally, actually the opposite is happening and more national services are being managed locally.


Just to make it clear, yes, I have a view that all local services should be delivered by single role agencies managed centrally. I'd be quite happy and would like to see more than one agency offering services meaning central management would could be of regional franchise.
And no, that isn't happening at the moment but the 'serious discomfort' of government with local arrangements today means that a radical solutions are being sought.


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Simon Kirby
post Feb 26 2017, 08:41 PM
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QUOTE (On the edge @ Feb 26 2017, 07:58 PM) *
Just to make it clear, yes, I have a view that all local services should be delivered by single role agencies managed centrally. I'd be quite happy and would like to see more than one agency offering services meaning central management would could be of regional franchise.
And no, that isn't happening at the moment but the 'serious discomfort' of government with local arrangements today means that a radical solutions are being sought.

Local government is a mess. Take industrial accidents - some are investigated by the police, some by the Health and Safety Executive, and some by the Local Authority - all three agencies maintaining the necessary expertise and management infrastructure which could more sensibly be condensed into a single national agency. Similarly with health and welfare with the local authority, national health service, and police service all sharing confusingly overlapping responsibilities. There is a lot of scope for rationalising the provision of services between a small set of national agencies, but the opposite is happening with a variety of niff-naff like grit bins for example being devolved onto the parishes with the predictable result that some, like our own town council, are using the opportunity to expand their administrative empires.


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blackdog
post Feb 27 2017, 10:37 AM
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QUOTE (user23 @ Feb 26 2017, 03:37 PM) *
What I'm saying is, whilst you have a view local services should be managed nationally, actually the opposite is happening and more national services are being managed locally.


Managed locally to ever stricter guidelines set centrally. That's not what I see as localism.

It's more a ploy to shift expenditure from central to local taxation.
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