IT IS YOUR MONEY……..
IT IS YOUR MONEY…..
In truth, very few members of the public ever went along to meetings of the Council, unless there was a particular reason for doing so that was of direct interest to them.
I have always felt that, whether or not people attended, it was only right to provide notice of meetings and an idea of what's being discussed. Councillors are responsible for spending public money and the decisions they make have long term consequences.
If you are going to be honest with people you should admit mistakes and I have witnessed a few and even been party to a few, over the years. The important thing is to learn lessons.
When I was about fifteen, I remember the Town Council installing a very poor quality mini swimming pool at Testwood Recreation ground. I think it had cost something like £500, equivalent to a few thousand pounds at today's prices. Anyway, unsurprisingly, somebody pierced the thin plastic sides with a sharp object within 24 hours and that was the last we saw of it.
In the early days of electric vehicles, the Town Council decided to purchase one. It turned out to be a bit of a disaster. It was a bit flimsy. The member of staff who was required to use it was desperately unhappy, feeling unsafe and complaining about it all the time. I think the mistake was not involving the staff before purchasing and assuming everything would be okay.
The local Council, like any other, is always prone to making poor decisions. That is why the job of opposition Councillor is so important. They will scrutinise, challenge and question. There is a tension. A ruling group that lacks confidence becomes defensive and tries to shut out the opposition who they often describe as "negative".
The public can influence a Council, but it is harder at the moment because of the Covid-19 restrictions. There are no physical meetings happening.
I would encourage everyone to have at a look at Council websites, see what business is being discussed and speak to your local Councillor. We can participate in meetings in ways the public cannot.
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