I hope readers of the blog will not tire from the subject of stopping shared services. I feel this subject is really worth repeating because if it goes through, it will change how Cornwall Council provides services.
The ePetition has in a week, attracted 2500 signatures. This is halfway to the magic number of 5000 for a debate to happen at the full council. This does not include any paper petition signatures that have been collected ether. As for those I have sent out (on request) 15 of these paper petitions.
First the democratic majority of Cornwall Councillors showed they were against the Partnership for Shared Services, but now and more importantly, the citizens of Cornwall are showing they are against with so many signatures in such a short space of time.
I feel and so do many other people who have contacted me that democracy has been undermined with the original Motion being so quickly ignored. I have been taken aback with the emails and phone calls I have received on this subject. People feel they elect someone to do their best for their community and when they then find out their democratic representative is powerless; even though a viewpoint has been expressed and voted on.
The Government, Local Authorities and town and parish council’s all try to get people in standing for office and taking part in elections by voting in them. But why should they now, when the recent debate and vote has shown the elected majorities view is ignored; with the real power in a few hands. How is that good for democracy? Simply it is not.
I have seen and understood the frustrations town and parish council have when dealing with the bigger cousin authorities. I saw the struggle and arguments between the District Council’s and the old County Council. Now, I have seen the Cabinet system that is simply not engaging with its full council. For instance, one senior Councillor said to me telling his colleagues ‘ignore the council at your peril.’ I think that peril is now very apparent. Something has to change, and change fast.
The executive system, more commonly know as the Cabinet system was introduced to speed up decision-making, and stop the often long and bureaucratic old-style committee. In parts it has worked, but it has also undermined democracy itself with putting too much power in too few hands. The Cabinet system could be better if the scrutiny function could do more than just make recommendations. However, it cannot and adds to the flaws in the system.
I have blogged before about Cornwall Council undertaking a Governance Review. At the start of the process it was pretty balanced on the Cabinet verse the Committee system. Now that feeling has swung firmly behind the Committee system. While the Committee system is not perfect, it does give greater accountability and inclusion in any decision-making process and policy.
So sign the petition not just to stop the privatisation of council services; also if you believe in democracy, and want to place that democratic power back into the hands of all Councillors, who are directly elected by you, the people
The Petition is HERE: