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  1. Neil Fitzmaurice permalink
    April 14, 2011 6:02 pm

    Hand-picked ‘stakeholders’ and consultees-of-choice are the norm at the moment where I am. I’ve been fighting a battle against this because it perpetuates top-down control and flawed consultation.
    If this new policy is what it seems to be then localism as I understand will not be coming here. I don’t want more managed consulations. Empowering communities means starting with a blank sheet and seeking to build consensus.

  2. April 15, 2011 4:27 pm

    I tried presenting a petition to my local council. Getting a debate needed more than 1000 signatures, so that’s what I got, though it took a lot of work.
    I tried really hard to get lots of groups involved, for example I met with a local group of people with learning disabilities to talk about what problems they were facing with the cuts, and used accessible language to explain what I was doing. The Council leader said he didn’t need to consult people because they could ‘stop me when they see me on my bicycle’.
    No policies or spending plans were changed as a result of my petition.
    A Conservative councillor (who only had 850 votes, so he couldn’t have managed a petition debate himself) tried to cut off the debate after a few minutes saying that it was an ‘utter waste of time’.
    They didn’t debate my petition, just the council response, which did not at all address my asking them to tell our local MPs that funding cuts to disabled people’s services weren’t OK.
    I was allowed to speak for two and a half minutes per meeting, then the Mayor told me to stop.
    I felt patronised, frustrated, and disempowered, and then humiliated by Councillors making disablist personal comments about me in the local newspaper, and the council Standards Committee saying that this was OK.
    Next time I will use direct action, and not bother trying the ‘proper channels’, because they will just be ignored.
    I’d rather not have a consultation process at all than the sham I had to go through.

  3. Linda permalink
    May 10, 2011 10:35 am

    I have worked in local government for many years and have been totally frustrated (and often I think suffered a lack of career progression because of it) by the way so-called consultation is undertaken. It’s managed, controlled and I’ve even known bullying tactics from management and councillors to make the results fit what they want rather than what the public are asking for. I love working in local government – I want to do what is right for the community I serve. How can officers do that when their hands are often tied by the career and political ambitions of the people they work for?

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