Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Increasing participation

One of Labour's priorities this year is increasing participation. I have always thought that a good idea would be to make council agendas searchable on the ward impacted. This would allow residents to easily find out what sort of things are going on in their area across the different council meetings. Maybe they could even publish a RSS feed for each ward.

I spoke to officers about this a little while ago and they seemed to think a way forward was a better document management system that would be the back end to a new section of the website.

This would then open the door to Local Area Forums -- where residents get together with councillors and other agencies to discuss and make decisions on the things impacting on the local area -- or at the very least it would make it easier for self organised residents' groups to discuss and be informed on local issues.

What other ideas do people have to increase resident participation?


The other Warren said...

'One of Labours' priorities' have you defected Rob?

Do you really believe that the New Labour administration are really committed to actually increasing participation.

They are about as committed to
participation as they are to

You appear more naive by the day Rob.

Rob White said...

No Dave I haven't defected.

Surely you agree that if there is some common ground -- increasing participation for example -- it makes sense to get some Green ideas into the mix.

Instead of being negative why don't you contribute something positive -- or have Lib Dems been in the bunker so long you have forgotten how to do this?

The other Warren said...

I always try to be positive but i have known the 'leading' lights in Reading Labour a lot longer than you have.

I have seen and heard at first hand there true attitude to any

They have taken you for a ride i am afraid because you have failed to get nothing concrete for putting them back in power and you
seem to have swallowed their empty promises.

As i said before i have always had a positive view of much of what the Green party stands for but you have scored a spectacular own goal here in Reading.

It could have been so very different.

Gareth Epps said...

Rob, apologies if this duplicates the comment made last night, which doesn't seem to have appeared.

I've long been a passionate supporter not just of dencentralised open forums or fora, but of the decentralisation of actual power to local communities. Two of the longest-lasting Liberal Democrat councils, Kingston and Eastleigh, have done this to great effect, which is probably why people keep voting them back in.

By contrast, in Reading it was Labour who went the other way by abolishing area forums and the tiny area budgets that went with them. But that's not the only reason I find it incredible anyone should believe the Reding Labour gang on this subject.

In 2008, when Labour lost control, this decentralised power was at the top of our agenda, with a fully costed proposal. It was rejected out of hand, by Labour, on principle. The principle being that they could not being themselves to hand power to local communities.

Caversham was and is a good example of the differences of approach. I believe, as Liberal Democrats do, that it is a community with its own identity and a right to have a proper say on local issues. I trust the people, even if they are so misguided as to elect Conservative Councillors. Labour do not. Maybe it's because so many of their councillors (especially then) have RG4 addresses; maybe it comes down to the view of Labour councillors then and now that the public are 'moronic'.

For those reasons, while I would welcome any Damascene conversion to this form of localism by the boys in red, it would take me several months to pull my jaw up from the floor in the unlikely event of the likes of Tony Page trusting the people, ever. They simply don't get it.

PolitePaulo said...

Both in Reading and nationally the Labour Party have shown no interest at all in public participation. Ever since the first Labour government in 1945, Labour has consistently taken a 'we know best' approach to telling people what is good for them.

I would take anything that Reading Labour Party says about increasing participation with a huge pinch of salt, but as you say Rob, this is an important area, so good luck in your efforts to hold them to account in this area.