Author Topic: Time for a radical change in local leadership  (Read 5404 times)

Number 6

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Re: Time for a radical change in local leadership
« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2016, 10:58:43 am »
Does not go far enough. The only way to clear the rot is to scrap the district council altogether and merge it's functions with a larger one. These proposals will change nothing and are just tinkering at the edges of the problems.

http://www.newburytoday.co.uk/news/home/19877/west-berkshire-council-set-for-major-shake-up.html

Number 6

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Re: Time for a radical change in local leadership
« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2016, 06:17:35 pm »
Is this what happens when you spend all of the money you get on yourself rather than the public who need help and intervention? At almost every level WBC is failing in it's delivery of services. How long have the people in charge been allowed to stay in post presiding over this disaster and how much longer do we have to suffer their incompetence ?

http://www.newburytoday.co.uk/news/home/20049/children-at-risk-of-harm-in-west-berkshire-higher-than-average.html

Number 6

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Number 6

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Re: Time for a radical change in local leadership
« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2017, 10:38:04 am »
So it has not taken long into the New Year for the council to prove yet again just how grossly incompetent and out of touch with reality it is.  You really have to start wondering what is going on in WBC for such an obviously flawed policy to be pursued ? The leadership have been in place far to long and have obviously run out of talent -or perhaps it's never been there in the first place?

http://www.newburytoday.co.uk/news/home/20237/council-could-give-away-land-to-solve-affordable-homes-issue.html

Number 6

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Re: Time for a radical change in local leadership
« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2017, 05:10:42 pm »
Do we believe this?. I seem to remember that the Education dept. had a much bigger overspend last year ? Yet here we have a department forecast  £183,000 overspend against a net revenue budget of £9.3m. What has changed - anyone know? Certainly not the leadership.

http://www.newburytoday.co.uk/news/home/20270/council-predicting-698-000-overspend.html

Number 6

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Re: Time for a radical change in local leadership
« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2017, 11:29:39 am »
More evidence of total incompetence - not that any more is needed !

http://www.newburytoday.co.uk/news/home/20304/developers-appeal-over-delay-to-theale-scheme.html

Old Goat

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Re: Time for a radical change in local leadership
« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2017, 09:49:47 pm »
I wouldn't worry too much.  Local government is dead and the easiest way to demonstrate that, so the last rites can be said is to whip up a perfect storm.  Local Government today has degenerated into a very expensive way to deliver 'services'.  Our present political consensus sees delivery is best and very much cheaper via specalist standalone agencies.  Thus then achieves to aims of HMG; central control of all services and an easy route to eliminate the Barnett formula.  This would leave 'councils' of elected representatives, who would do no more than arbitrate in individual complaints and provide collated comment on local planning proposals. In reality, no more than Joe Average Councillor does today, but without the army of clerks.  As far as we, the paying public are concerned, delivery of service wouldn't change, save being the same nationwide, but it should become cheaper.  Centralised services would provide the demonstrable justification for abolishing the troublesome local community charges and absorbing them into the easier to collect and administer general taxation. 

Newbury isn't the only modern 'rotten borough' there is hardly a good one!  Look at some of the neighbours, Surrey pushing for 15% increase.  Oxfordshire  pushing for Unitary status (!) because it's so much better and less confusing. Unitary WBC pushing to unload to Parish Councils and to consolidate with other Unitaries, because Unitary isn't working properly. 

The unexpected Brexit vote means there is something else to concentrate on just now, but 18 months or so isn't such long time.

Number 6

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Re: Time for a radical change in local leadership
« Reply #22 on: November 27, 2017, 05:40:30 pm »
Continuing failure is something that is a given when the same people stay in control year after year. A commercial organisation would have had to refresh it's leadership in such a situation.

https://www.newburytoday.co.uk/news/home/22961/west-berkshire-council-needs-to-save-10m-next-year.html

Old Goat

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Re: Time for a radical change in local leadership
« Reply #23 on: December 06, 2017, 05:39:02 pm »

This is what the people in West Berkshire voted for and it's exactly what they've got. No one is really complaining and experience says they'll vote the same way next time they get the opportunity.

A few crocodile tears here and there, but that's all.  As for the opposition, it's them behind the vanity projects. 

Why worry; nothing is going to change?

Number 6

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Re: Time for a radical change in local leadership
« Reply #24 on: December 06, 2017, 10:31:22 pm »
You sound like you have accepted that a decline in everything is inevitable Old Goat ? The fly in the ointment is of course the younger generation who are much more ambitious for themselves and the locality. It really is time for the tired old men and women to move aside as their only interest is the size of their pension pot rather than the wellbeing of the community. The social mobility report condemning West Berkshire illustrates how self serving to a very narrow slice of  the population it has become.

Old Goat

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Re: Time for a radical change in local leadership
« Reply #25 on: December 07, 2017, 08:20:34 am »
Yes, Newbury's future is out of its hands; it will become simply a commuter dormitory / retirement suburb for Thames Valley.  Nothing wrong with that and it could be quite pleasant. 

In some respects, the collapse (for such as it is) of WBC is an unintended but good consequence of its creation.  Too small a management unit to be economically effective or to attract top flight staff it was necessarily obliged to contract out all of its services. This should make absorbtion into a bigger better 'authority' like Reading so much cheaper and easier. It's almost as if that is deliberate policy!

This would leave the District with its parish level councils.  In reality, these are no more than up market residents associations.  Again, their present bizzare antics mean that leaving them with jobs too small for a properly effective authority to do; swabbing down the WCs, mowing the village green etc.  will have been done - without any imposed external change.

Will it come to that?  Well, it's implicit even in our MPs thinking.  Newbury soon won't even feature as a Magistrates Court. This, one of the bedrock foundations of local governance will be centred on Reading. It was sold as a cost and efficiency change?    In reality, the cost of a physical presence is minimal.  In spite of his huffing and puffing - it's still going!

All we need do, is simply sit back and wait.

Number 6

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Re: Time for a radical change in local leadership
« Reply #26 on: December 07, 2017, 11:36:30 am »
I rather suspect the net result of such a drift would be that the young will seek their opportunities elsewhere leaving a community of the aged with no-one to look after and sustain them. That's the thing about being young - they vote with their feet.

Old Goat

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Re: Time for a radical change in local leadership
« Reply #27 on: December 08, 2017, 05:14:13 pm »
Ironic that, because it's actually happening now.  The last demographics I saw, showed that Newbury's age profile dips for age around 20 plus, then grows again about 30 plus before the inevitable drop beyond. I suppose it's obvious, because we've no University level establishment in the vicinity, so Newbury youth inevitably moves away for their degrees.  As we now have few firms in the area offering graduate entry career opportunities, they stay away.  Even Vodafone HO us back in London. A few come back, once they are in established profession and want a family home. Invetiably commuters, or working elsewhere.  Thus fitting the implication of the Vision - commuter dormatory / retirement suburb.  So, do we really need WBC which essentially does little more than manage outsourced service contracts?  It would be much more efficient and so economic to run it all from Reading. 

Number 6

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Re: Time for a radical change in local leadership
« Reply #28 on: December 08, 2017, 09:12:12 pm »
What we have now is certainly not up to scratch. Swindon, Oxford, Reading, Basingstoke and Winchester all have thriving commercial economies yet West Berkshire seems destined to never reach any such heights. This can only be laid at the door of the council who seem to want, as you say, a territory made in their own image. Time for change for sure, but Reading ? Must be better choices available?

Old Goat

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Re: Time for a radical change in local leadership
« Reply #29 on: December 12, 2017, 08:11:00 am »
Yes, there are more choices than Reading - that any other option would be better is indictment enough on what we have locally.

I also know there are serious whinges about local government in almost all areas of the UK which suggests the whole thing is ripe for radical reform.  The system that has served us since 1880 is now totally out of line and time expired. 

With today's expectations, you can't combine the operational management of schools, refuse collection, planning, etc. under one head, simply because they service people living in the same geographic location.

Similarly, with modern communications and needs, organising the whole as a big  number of self managed authorities makes little sense.  What other industry is organised in that way?  In service delivery terms at least, the population wants equality; wherever the service is provided. Thus, it's not just 'Men of Kent' wanting Grammar Schools. 

As service delivery in a good many authorities has been devolved to contractors, would it not be far more effective and efficient to do that at a national level, by 'service' stream?  No more arguing about people from Burghfield using Reading's tip. 

Set up properly, this could leave a small local 'council' simply to act as a channel of communication for complaints and guidance and with no other powers or revenue raising authority.  All the money needed would then need to come from national taxation, eliminating at a stroke, the problems associated with 'the rates'.