Devolution – Your Views

For the past four Wednesdays the councillors (from all the political parties) involved in the Making it Real inquiry have been listening to evidence. The focus has been about what needs to change to make sure that devolution this time around is not just about changing names on the office doors, but about changing the way the Council works and makes an impact in local areas.  (I will let you know what the last two sessions covered soon.)

But now the councillors also want to hear from you. Whether or not you think devolution is great, or it’s terribly, or frankly you still don’t understand what it is please give then your views.

Your options are:

1) To comment on this blog

2) To complete an online questionnaire at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/QSHC75F

3) To complete this hard copy questionnaire and send it back by email or snail mail

Questionnaire Making it Real Inquiry

You can send this back by email to:  scrutiny@bimingham.gov.uk (you’ll probably need to download and save it)

or by snail mail to:  Scrutiny Office, Council House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B1 1BB

4) Or to email other thoughts and comments you might have to the email address above.

We’re looking for feedback by 26th October.

There is also a leaflet here explaining the role of scrutiny and the aims of the inquiry.

Making it Real Leaflet

Please do take copies of the leaflet and questionnaire along to local meetings or send round this link to your local mailing list.

The catalyst tonight for putting these links up was the launch of the Chamberlain Forum’s tool kit for neighbourhood forums.

Neighbourhood Networking – 26 September 2012

It was great to see so many people at the launch passionate about changing their neighbourhoods. As the councillors have been told at every session this month the Council can’t change things alone. The only way to make the changes necessary to improve people’s lives is by working in partnership with citizens, community and voluntary organisations, statutory bodies and the private sector.

Local organisations like neighbourhood forums can help the council identify local needs and suggest ways of meeting those needs. They may even be able to help deliver services locally. The message delivered tonight was that neighbourhood forums want to have a voice and be heard by the Council, but they don’t want to compromise their independence in doing that.

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2 Comments

Filed under Devolution - Making it Real Inquiry

2 responses to “Devolution – Your Views

  1. No matter how good or bad devolution is in principle, telling people that if they want to attend District meetings that they must go to town, where the meetings will be held in the day time is anti-democratic. I have heard all the arguments about how the Ward will be the central debating place and how then the good councillors will take the ideas from the Ward to the District. This means that we are entirely dependent upon our councillors not only to reflect our views accurately (even if they disagree with them) but to make appropriate responses to answers, and then to raise additional questions.

    Moreover, the matters discussed at District meetings are often new business not raised at Ward meetings, and it would appear, also, that the business of Ward Advisory Committees is now also to be conducted at District meetings.

    It does not now look as though live-streaming is immanent, but even if it is, firstly individuals watching via a screen cannot raise their hands and secondly this straight away discriminates against members of the community who are not confident using the internet (and this group often includes senior citizens who are active in their local communities).

    To suggest that the new meetings are is going to be as democratic as they would be if members of the local communities concerned were present is insulting to anyone’s intelligence.

  2. Ann Clarke

    Moving the Constituency (now District) Committee Meetings to the Council House and holding them during the day is far from widening democracy.
    Some issues raised at the Constituency meetings covered more than one Ward and may not be covered in the Ward Committee agenda so it was useful to discuss on a constituency basis.
    Another worry is how do residents from the Yardley Constituency especially travel to the Council House. Most buses from the Constituency now go into Moor Street so there is a long walk to Colmore Row. Car parking is at a premium and very expensive. If travelling by train into Snow Hill or New Street stations, again a long walk to Colmore Row awaits. This is not helpful for some elderly or disabled residents.

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