The failure to participate in our democratic institutions is, I believe, tied up with the failure to engage with society generally and it is the biggest problem facing us.
John Merry, Author at NewStart
We have to accept the result and move on but we now need to move into a phase where we explain what local government achieves and what we would lose should power be placed in the wrong hands.
In practice our work has generated a new paradigm of integrated investment and delivery arrangements. The centrepieces of this reform work are a joint commissioning hub (being led by Salford’s director of public health) and a joint prevention and early intervention delivery model at neighbourhood level.
Mr Pickles’ manipulation of finance can only be compared to those people who used to operate at fairs and markets with cups and balls… the reality of the immediate cuts required will mean that we will be providing a worse service, whether it is in adult social care or collecting the bins.
All of this could mean that the transference of power away from institutions of local government towards organisations with a less prescribed relationship with the local community could lead to a more frustrating relationship for local people.
I have long been a believer that you first of all need to decide what you want as a local authority and then create the tools to achieve it. I also believe that too often we sit around waiting for central government to approve what we wish to achieve.
I could not look those people in the eye and say, very sorry but we will not do anything to remove those people that trashed their community.
There are many people who have a traditional view of Salford. They remember it as a slum city with Lowry’s matchstick inhabitants… They often seem a little disappointed there are no children with rickets or outside public toilets anymore.
It seems the ‘holy grail’ we are all looking for is a scalable way to deliver better outcomes with people and places that drain the public purse – the ultimate ‘win-win’.
You will have been told that a member’s job is to make decisions while officers carry out the operational detail. That may be an ideal but it is largely a myth. The next time a member of the public rings to say their bin has not been collected try telling them it’s an operational matter.