Author Topic: The handy guide for communities working with councillors  (Read 1489 times)

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Offline Muggins

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The handy guide for communities working with councillors
« on: August 07, 2010, 06:42:12 pm »
I received this handy guide in the post today.

http://www.bassac.org.uk/search-results/all/local%2Baction

Written in conjuction with the Urban Forum, I'm wondering if it's already too late.   Read the Jim Hacker quote on page 6.

I notice that Part One starts with a quote from the 'First policy document of the coalition government', but can't help thinking this guide was on the way to the printers about the time of the election, so it's feet are based in Real People, Real Power, rather than the 'Big Society'.
Lifes not always fair. Sometimes you can get a splinter even sliding down a rainbow. - Cherralea Morgen

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: The handy guide for communities working with councillors
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2010, 10:38:40 pm »
Thanks Muggins, very much looking forward to reading this when I get home tomorrow :)

Offline Bogomil

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Re: The handy guide for communities working with councillors
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2010, 04:29:29 pm »
Read the Jim Hacker quote on page 6.

I quite like the one on the same page 12, (I think you meant section 6 Muggins cos that’s where the Yes Minister quote is)

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We probably all know of self appointed ‘community leaders’ who exaggerate the extent to which they represent residents, and actually represent mainly themselves.

Quite understand how councillors can feel this way particularly when they’ve been elected by hundreds of voters and yet some of our so called community leaders (although doing a very worthwhile and important job within the community) have only been elected (if you can call it that because usually no one else even stands for these roles) by a handful of people at a meeting and then go on to claim they speak for the people of their area. Just because someone’s been elected to a very small community committee doesn’t give them the mandate to say they speak for the people (unless of course they have a very clear mandate from the people)
 
You only need to look at the quorums needed at an AGM of these meetings to see how unrepresentative they are of the wider community.
At least if we get AV for local elections as well as government elections then councillors, with at least 50% of the vote, will have a strong mandate.

Offline Muggins

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Re: The handy guide for communities working with councillors
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2010, 08:49:28 am »
In answer to Bogo - who has made it plain through various postings that he/she thinks I and people like me are a waste of space. Has been partonising and trying to fit me into a comfortable pigeon (green) hole so that he/she can metaphorically pat me on the head for the old dear they obviously think I am.

It is true that councillors are voted in by more people than is a community  representative.   Although you could say that some people will vote for a certain party if a monkey and a bag of nuts put up as candidate.  You could also say they are doing it not for the very best reasons - party or power etc.  Councillors should not fear the community groups, - they should make use of them, they can't be everywhere all te time, but most community groups can give a good spread of local knowledge and some of us have been involved for a lot longer and in more depth than the councillors. In short, with a 'duty to involve' these days  they can't do it it without us. Let's hope more local people join in now.

I'm also really aware of the few that comes to meetings to vote for community group leaders.  (Not for lack of trying)  I don't profess to represent everyone in our area, some are well able to do that through their own areas of interest.  I and others needed to know what people wanted so we went about getting surveys done, adding them to everyone else's survey for the area, getting informed etc., etc.  attending meetings, seminars and conferences at some we NEVER see a councillor and when we do they are usually posturing in a photo line up.  Would Bogo prefer to see no community groups or representation?

I would much rather find out what MOST people want, than occassionly dropping into the local drinking establishment and getting just one or two opinions, usually clouded by an ale mist and based on the usual prejudices - which I might add, are coming through loud and clear in Bogo's postings. 

It's a good idea too to learn as much as you can about the community you want to represent - and by the way - who else is putting up their hand to do this, because it's certainly not an easy thing to do.  Any time Bogo would like to take over this position I suggest they come along to the meetings and stand in our stead - there is no queue to do it.

I've always seen that anything I and the community groups do, can give councillors some idea of community wants and needs through the work we've done - of course if they choose to ignore it and not share their information with us, and not let us get a word in at our own meetings, then - well, that's another discussion! 

Just to say that when we want to do a survey, we do it as a committee, run it past several other people and workers, make sure that it's asks genuine questions that leaves room for genuine answers and not just to get the answers we want. Those survey results are widely shared, not kept to ourselves. Others usually share theirs with us, so we get an all round picture before we stand up and speak.

Also it does well to know how to put yourself up at meetings too, no swearing, no nasty personal remarks and  no prejudices hanging out. it does no good to sit there silent either.

Just a word about that number of votes for councillor - exactly what percentage of the total electorate of a ward vote for them?  And once we've got them there is no getting rid of them for 4 years- anyone can turn up at a community meeting at any time and call for an election of a community rep.
Lifes not always fair. Sometimes you can get a splinter even sliding down a rainbow. - Cherralea Morgen

Offline Bogomil

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Re: The handy guide for communities working with councillors
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2010, 09:26:17 am »
Oh dear Muggins I seem to have hit a nerve point here although I would be interested to see you the quotes where I have as you say
Quote
made it plain through various postings that he/she thinks I and people like me are a waste of space.

Throughout various posts I have supported the ethos of stronger communities and community empowerment, although you seem to think otherwise. I’ve even pointed out how the council has systematically undermined community the groups that they are now hoping will jump into the fray to save public services.

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I would much rather find out what MOST people want, than occassionly dropping into the local drinking establishment and getting just one or two opinions, usually clouded by an ale mist and based on the usual prejudices – which I might add, are coming through loud and clear in Bogo's postings.

This is rather a sweeping statement from someone who doesn’t know me and clearly you’re assuming that my ideas come from ale misted bars and are just full of booze soaked prejudices, which is quite unfair as I rarely drink. Then again maybe you’ve just had some bad experiences of local councillors where you live.

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: The handy guide for communities working with councillors
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2010, 08:56:29 pm »

Some posts re: AV voting split into new topic here: http://www.talkswindon.org/index.php?topic=6202.0

 

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