15 Apr 2010

Council business continues

Although Parliament seems to shut down during election time, District councillors still have meetings... this evening and afternoon I attended three - well two as the last one was a pre-scrutiny meeting followed by a Scrutiny meeting....

Photo: aerial view of Stratford Park

Of course that means I missed the big debate this evening...How was it? I hear Brown was a bit bullying, Cameron didn't live up to being a good debater and Clegg came out slightly better in polls after the event - but in reality there is very little between the parties...that's for another blog!.

Ah well in the Council chamber we were debating various finance papers, reports on Housing improvements, Stratford Park Leisure Centre and Anti-Social Behaviour....in terms of leisure there were quite a number of points I made....folk will be able to see the webcast soon of the meeting on the Council's website...points included stuff like clarifying the feedback from customers, ensuring areas like catering are still included in customer feedback, getting an update on procurement process, seeking better measures in terms of sustainability, seeking an offer they have with Boots to be extended to local shops and always improvements to cleanliness. In my view things have been better with the 'no shoe policy' in pool changing rooms.

I also raised issue that residents have brought up like the front door of the leisure centre being faulty but now sorted - Parkwood are planning to 'train' staff to be more aware of 'green' issues so that such faults are rectified sooner. There is a new manager there and I have spoken with some of the staff who say morale is better....SDC have also put money in to improve stuff like the squash courts.

Hey but I'm rambling the Anti-Social behaviour report was all a bit of a nonsense - SDC got rid of the special dedicated officer and understandably councillors wanted to assess the impact but the suggestion in this report was to record the number of incidents!! That says, as I said at the meeting, very little about how we manage it or the causes - or for that matter solutions like more youth or conciliation services...of course we should also note - as I did at the meeting - that anti-social behaviour is linked to inequality - those societies like the US, Portugal and UK that have high rates of inequality have higher anti-social behaviour, more crime, more prisoners, more mental health problems....it is all the more disturbing that under Labour inequalities have continued to rise.

Infact I should note that on the whole SDC are better at managing ASBOs than many councils - in some areas an ASBO has become a badge of honour that must be gained but here it really is a last resort - or at least that appears to be the case - we agreed at Scrutiny to review arrangements in a year when new partnerships were up and working.

Anyway I'm leaving this blog now - busy days and must get some kip - yesterday I started canvasing and leafleting the ward. I hope to be able to knock on pretty well every home in the ward although on a couple of evenings I have got a couple of colleagues coming around with me - it is some 80 hours to canvas the whole ward - depending on how long I stop and talk - usually too long!! Anyhow if I miss you do give me a call - contact details now more visible at the top of this blog home page.

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