01 March 2011

Fears for local democracy if H&F, Westminster, K&C share services and top management

The radical "triborough" plan for Hammersmith & Fulham, Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea councils to share services and senior management challenges local authority boundaries and raises serious issues of democratic accountability.

A report from the New Local Government Network says that such plans bring "questions about the nature of local authority boundaries to the fore". The think tank also reveals concerns about keeping councillors answerable to local people, stating, "We are keen to preserve existing democratic structures".

This echoes the fears of the three boroughs' opposition leaders. In a joint letter, they say that while Labour is in favour of genuine efficiencies and rooting out waste, the Conservatives "have not explained how local residents will keep their ability to hold their own council to account on important matters of local concern" nor "how any newly elected administration would be able to secede from any part of this if political control changes at the local elections in 2014."

If they believe in local democracy, the triborough Tories need to address these questions without delay.

1 comment:

Outside Left said...

I coudn't agree more with the concerns about local democratic accountability and blogged about this last October when the triborough plan surfaced http://www.communitycare.co.uk/blogs/social-policy-blog/2010/10/sinister-changes-afoot-at-tory.html
One of my points was that the seemingly permanent Conservative majorities at Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea will render irrelevant any change of power at Hammersmith & Fulham, which famously swings between the Tories and Labour.
Democratic? I think not. Moreover, the Local Government Boundary Commission has been too quiet for my liking on this change.