Am I being naive or is the Council really able to just as it pleases?

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Am I being naive or is the Council really able to just as it pleases?

Post  southernbelle on Mon May 20, 2013 9:16 am

http://www.rochdaleonline.co.uk/news-features/2/news-headlines/80458/survey-confirms-councils-routinely-bully-local-media

I admit to a lot of ignorance over local and national politcal matters. I also admit to not fully understanding the intricacies of Council procedures and policies. So I ask on here in the hopes that some one more knowledgable than me can help.

The Council is supposed to work for the benefit of everyone in the Borough, and spend their money both rates and gov funding) accordingly. Have I got that bit right?

Many people in Rochdale are unhappy with the way things are going and mony that is wasted.

Why are the Council continuing to behave in a way that recieves so much criticism, and not taking notice of the public at large?

To whom are the councillors accountable and why are those people not taking action?

What can we do to make a difference? We vote for those we think are going to help, they dont and we are stuck for several years before we get another chance.

I dont want this thread to deteriorate into a rant about the councils shortcomings......enough of those already. Only sensible helpful answers please. ( Is that a large pink seagull with a curly tail overhead?).
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Re: Am I being naive or is the Council really able to just as it pleases?

Post  Dalelad on Mon May 20, 2013 10:37 am

I guess tha they will probably point to the results from the ballot boxes which have given them a big majority. The argument will probably go along the lines of 'if you don't like what we are doing theen vote for someone else'. Apart from the ballot box, I can't think of another way of giving all voters an equal voice. The loudest/most able/best funded will have a disproportionate say otherwise.
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Re: Am I being naive or is the Council really able to just as it pleases?

Post  cyfrifia on Mon May 20, 2013 11:13 am

southernbelle wrote:
I admit to a lot of ignorance over local and national political matters. I also admit to not fully understanding the intricacies of Council procedures and policies.

So do I, and the same applies to most of the population. Many people have mythical ideas about how these things work, or ideas from many years ago that no longer apply. Who can explain these things though? Asking the council or a local politician is like asking a manufacturer for details of how a product works, all you get is advertising. Probably the best way to find out how a council works is to take it apart, put it together again, and see if it still works.

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Re: Am I being naive or is the Council really able to just as it pleases?

Post  Chill37 on Mon May 20, 2013 1:33 pm

Dalelad wrote:I guess tha they will probably point to the results from the ballot boxes which have given them a big majority. The argument will probably go along the lines of 'if you don't like what we are doing theen vote for someone else'. Apart from the ballot box, I can't think of another way of giving all voters an equal voice. The loudest/most able/best funded will have a disproportionate say otherwise.

Well yes there is the old tried and tested repsonse of voting them out, but in the periods between elections our Council is allowed to run riot spending milions on a new office block, pushing ahead against all logic with a new shopping centre and other examples of folly. I can not believe that there is not some department of the Goverment that can look into the behaviour of a Council.

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Re: Am I being naive or is the Council really able to just as it pleases?

Post  Dalelad on Mon May 20, 2013 2:53 pm

All opinion though, Chill. Some will say run riot, waste millions, go against all logic, spend money on follies. Others will say invest in the future and attempt to turn the ship round. Many others will be somewhere in between the two depending on the specific project.That's why we all get one vote so we all have the same representation, regardless of money or influence.
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Re: Am I being naive or is the Council really able to just as it pleases?

Post  past it on Mon May 20, 2013 9:04 pm

In the first instance vote for someone else next time. If you want to know what goes on you can attend council meetings, township meetings, devolved funding meetings, planning meetings and many more, I think all meetings are open to the public apart from quasi-judicial ones. The problem is most people cannot be bothered.
A similar situation exists in courts, they are all open to the public apart from youth courts. You can hear the arguments put forward and the reasons for the sentence or dismissal. Same problem people cannot be bothered.
You may still reach the same conclusion about the efficacy of councilors but at least you will know more.

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Re: Am I being naive or is the Council really able to just as it pleases?

Post  Chill37 on Mon May 20, 2013 9:12 pm

Dalelad wrote:All opinion though, Chill. Some will say run riot, waste millions, go against all logic, spend money on follies. Others will say invest in the future and attempt to turn the ship round. Many others will be somewhere in between the two depending on the specific project.That's why we all get one vote so we all have the same representation, regardless of money or influence.

Mmm five grand here and there for so called works of art. Odd ten of millions here and there on a council building which is now too big for its original purpose. A complete blinkered, hell bent approach on building a new centre despite leading experts and evidence etc whcih say we can never ever hope to fill. IF it ever gets built.. Yes I can see this is an investment to the future. All this and the obscene rise in Council Tax (coupled with the figures being cooked so a legal due referendum could be avoided) . Yes a good direction SS Rochdale is being steered.

Just the tip of the iceberg (pardon the pun)

Just my humble view, So as Southernbelle was saying. How much more can RMBC etc be allowed to get away with?



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Re: Am I being naive or is the Council really able to just as it pleases?

Post  Chill37 on Mon May 20, 2013 9:16 pm

past it wrote: In the first instance vote for someone else next time. If you want to know what goes on you can attend council meetings, township meetings, devolved funding meetings, planning meetings and many more, I think all meetings are open to the public apart from quasi-judicial ones. The problem is most people cannot be bothered.
A similar situation exists in courts, they are all open to the public apart from youth courts. You can hear the arguments put forward and the reasons for the sentence or dismissal. Same problem people cannot be bothered.
You may still reach the same conclusion about the efficacy of councilors but at least you will know more.

Oh I am bothered Past It. How our Town is being ruined. Yes you can say vote different next time. That's almost a year from now. In the mean time even more misery is heaped upon us.

I ask again Is there some ruling body that governs local Goverment. Or are councils like ours allowed to do just what they want?

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Re: Am I being naive or is the Council really able to just as it pleases?

Post  Atlas on Tue May 21, 2013 12:52 am

Providing there is no criminality or provable incompetence/negligence involved most councils are left alone to do their daily business. Should any of the above prove (or seem) to be the case the government can suspend the council (in total) and bring in a temporary body to oversee the running and look into the complaints/charges. You will find that the Anglsey Council has been the subject of just such actions over the past few years and was returned to local control (for the most part) just recently. Google Anglesy Council Yns Morn I think is the Welsh and see what it provides you with by way of further information. To get to such a situation will require sufficient evidence of mis-management which I believe in the case of the Angelesy debacle was by way of Ombudsman etc etc. I'm not an authority on such things so you should check these out for yourself. affraid Very Happy Wink
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Re: Am I being naive or is the Council really able to just as it pleases?

Post  past it on Tue May 21, 2013 10:21 am

It is in the nature of politics that one person's mismanagement is another person's excellence. It's very much a case of "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". If a council is proven to be acting criminally it can be removed, the difficulty of wanting to remove a council because it does not do what you like is, it's impossible and undemocratic unless it is done through the ballot box.
My earlier thread shows how one can access council meeting and influence what happens. I still maintain that the majority of people simply cannot be bothered.
There is another way of course, that is to put oneself forward and run for election. It then of course means you can dictate policy.

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Re: Am I being naive or is the Council really able to just as it pleases?

Post  Hinch on Tue May 21, 2013 2:31 pm

Labour will be in power in Rochdale for at least the next three years. Just look at their majority and do the numbers. The Tories haven't a hope in hell, the Fib Dems hame imploded and are down to five councillors.

A third of councillors come up for re-election every year that is not fallow so I'm afraid you are stuck with them.

Labour's majority is unassailable for at least the next three years and they can easily outvote the rest put together.

The Fib Dems tore themselves apart and it will take them years to regain trust and of course it's no good relying on the Cyril Smith Factor anymore is it?

Politics in Rochdale is reduced to three or four blokes sat down in a room deciding policy, knowing they can carry it through council. Resistance is futile.

However, all empires crumble and every dog will have its day... eventually. Come about 2018 there could be another party in sole power but it's not looking likely at the moment.

Full credit to the Fib Dems for ensuring the massive swing to Labour both in the General and Local elections.
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Re: Am I being naive or is the Council really able to just as it pleases?

Post  Chill37 on Tue May 21, 2013 3:54 pm

Ah well best batten down the hatches for another 12 months at least of antics.

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Re: Am I being naive or is the Council really able to just as it pleases?

Post  Prudence Tempered on Tue May 21, 2013 7:46 pm

Hinch wrote:Labour will be in power in Rochdale for at least the next three years. Just look at their majority and do the numbers.

That's what you get when a minority of votes gives a party 80% of the seats.

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Re: Am I being naive or is the Council really able to just as it pleases?

Post  Chill37 on Tue May 21, 2013 9:29 pm

Prudence Tempered wrote:
Hinch wrote:Labour will be in power in Rochdale for at least the next three years. Just look at their majority and do the numbers.

That's what you get when a minority of votes gives a party 80% of the seats.

Or more over that's what you get when the other party implodes, sells out, more interested in spin nit picking etc instead of the people that voted them in to serve.

Ah well we now all have to suffer at the antics of RMBC and nothing we can do about it.

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Re: Am I being naive or is the Council really able to just as it pleases?

Post  Hinch on Tue May 21, 2013 10:03 pm

Got it in a nutshell Chill.

Labour got in with such a big majority because of the Lib Dems disembowelling themselves so publicly.

So far, the LDs, nice chaps though they are, haven't even started to rebuild their party. So many of their most able and experienced people jumped ship.

They also need to get a new parliamentary candidate. Paul Rowen has very obviously been weighed in the balance and found wanting.

Time for UKIP To move in.
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Re: Am I being naive or is the Council really able to just as it pleases?

Post  cyfrifia on Tue May 21, 2013 11:10 pm

Or, the swivel eyed loonies?

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Re: Am I being naive or is the Council really able to just as it pleases?

Post  Guest on Tue May 21, 2013 11:48 pm

To answer Southernbelle's original question, yes, by and large the council can and does do as it pleases. In theory the system is that we elect representatives (councillors to us, members in council language) who as part of their role should hold the officers to account - an essential role but one that is very susceptible to Stockholm Syndrome. In practice the system is seriously flawed because of many reasons but two major ones are the empire building tendencies of officers and the political ideology of councillors.

Councils now get involved in a huge arena, far more than was ever intended, and sadly their influence is an over bearing one that has spawned the ease of empire building, with concomitant salary inflation, and just as bad a 'dependency' culture from public and business whereby the council is expected to solve all problems, an expectation that is both unrealistic and unhealthy.

The council cabinet system allied to local politics does not in my view help. An unhealthy amount of 'power' is vested in the council leader, who may surround him/herself with a cabinet of 'groupies' rather than a cabinet of talents, that is, the posts go to those who are on good terms with the leader or to whom the leader is beholden rather than people best qualified to do the job. I am not passing judgment on the current incumbent here, though I think he is guilty, but he is merely following the practice of previous leaders of all political persuasion.

It is why in my view things will never change until party politics is removed from the local government arena and replaced with highly competent independents who are capable of holding officers to account and able to resist Stockholm Syndrome.

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Re: Am I being naive or is the Council really able to just as it pleases?

Post  southernbelle on Wed May 22, 2013 6:46 am

In the meantime we are stuck with a council who largely ignore the wishes and/or needs of its electorate?
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Re: Am I being naive or is the Council really able to just as it pleases?

Post  Chill37 on Wed May 22, 2013 7:13 am

southernbelle wrote:In the meantime we are stuck with a council who largely ignore the wishes and/or needs of its electorate?

Yep we are. Also the gravy train springs to mind with the introduction of all the new postions on the Council annouced the other week,


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Re: Am I being naive or is the Council really able to just as it pleases?

Post  past it on Wed May 22, 2013 6:58 pm

The idea of independent councillors and the removal of party politics from local government is interesting but in my opinion virtually impossible to create.
How one gets elected comes first. Where will the money come from for canvassing, leafleting etc? Presumably those elected will be because the message they give and the promises they make will be those the electorate like most.
What measures of competency will the candidates have to possess and how will the electorate decide that they have them?
There are presently sixty councillors representing twenty wards most of which have huge socio economic,racial and cultural differences.
The demand for resources from these wards varies enormously so a true independent presumably would not be swayed by the pressures from the electorate for those resources?
What would almost certainly happen is that like minded people would form groups to secure finances and create policy because that is the only way they could resist officers who would have a field day doing their own thing with no opposition.
The groups which would form would unite behind policies which they would then implement knowing their collective number would win the day.
What would you call these groups? Anyone can think of a name but what you would be getting is " Party Politics"

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