Future Council Suffolk

Last Friday Senior Councillors and Local Government officers from across the county meet for a Future Council workshop; the event was facilitated by Cllr. Peter Fleming, Chairman of the LGA Improvement Board and Leader of Sevenoaks District Council and Simon Parker Director of the New Local Government Network.

Essentially the programme is about how do we as a group of 2 tier authorities find ways to work together better and a sort of post unitary? what next?

The unitary debate was a bruising affair in Suffolk, a centralist Labour Government coming into a Conservative county with a sort of ‘man from the ministry’ dictate forcing us all (they had the legal right to compel us all to engage) into a boxing ring we did not want to be in and then fighting for their amusement spending millions of pounds in the process for a potential outcome none of us were interested in and never actually happened.

So 3 years on, how to find better ways to delivery services across Suffolk with the financial imperative of far less money.

To me the key is to harness the corporate strengths of the County Council and the local knowledge that comes with District and Borough Councils. I have surprised myself, having had the honour of being elected to my local council Forest Heath; about the more personal way in which officers and members view the area both approaches have strengths and weaknesses but together local government can be much stronger.

The conservative government’s approach is far more democratic than the previous allowing us to consider how we might work better together.

The previous process was a true reflection of Labour’s years in power:

  1. spend a fortune
  2. dictate how everything will be done
  3. Achieve absolutely nothing

During the course of the day Simon Parker presented the results for the survey of senior local government figures conducted by the NLGN and it was interesting that across Suffolk there was a real willingness to come together protect frontline services and find ever more ways to cut costs in the back office.

There are challenging times ahead but I firmly believe that resident have the right to demand that Councils across Suffolk work together to strip out every last penny of costs to deliver quality services to our residents.

Some services are always going to be delivered by local government officers, but to my mind, I want to see far more of our staff creating their own companies, their our mutuals, their own not for profit organisations and together with the all the councils across Suffolk, private providers and the Suffolk voluntary sector deliver for Suffolk.

About askcolinnoble
I'm a Conservative politician-lite, I dabble a bit in Party Politics with my main focus of working hard and being a strong voice for my community making sure local government delivers quality services and fellow residents get value for money for their hard earned money they pay in Council tax | Where this Gravatar appears and I am expressing my views or liking something I do so in a personal capacity and does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Suffolk County Council, Forest Heath District Council, the Conservative Party or come to think of it anyone else | But having said the above at an election time and to stay legal anything I write is promoted by Kerry Buist on behalf of Colin Noble, both at West Suffolk Conservative Association, Unit 8, Swan Lane Business Park, Exning, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7FN

One Response to Future Council Suffolk

  1. Mark Ling says:

    Colin,

    firstly I admire the blog page and at least you are a local politician who is reaching out.

    However, I do NOT share your viewpoint on the happy state of affairs in Suffolk. My apologies but your outlook is like many of those fat & happy rural SCC conservative councillors who only like change providing you retain all the control. There is no incentive for you and your rural county colleagues to give up anything, but you’re quite happy for everyone else to. I am an urban Conservative, absolutely horrified at what my own party has dished up for my home town of Ipswich since 1974.

    You are more than happy for Suffolk’s rural districts to merge back room functions behind doors, because whilst it’s a winner for cost cutting it means no change to the county. It doesn’t bother you that a quarter of urban greater Ipswich has political representation in Woodbridge (and that the accountability for its management is now 40 miles away in Lowestoft).

    You are happy with the status quo because the rural Suffolk areas are usually in harmony & unison; and because the status quo means you can benefit from Ipswich’s growth and assets but not have to share or work with it.

    You are happy for a status quo where the county town is always outgunned 62-13 on the county council and never has its way; and where the 13 can’t even agree amongst themselves.

    There is something rotten in Suffolk. I am a Conservative and I’ve always believed in empowering people to better themselves; not stealing their assets while looking down your noses at them. I believe that Suffolk is strongest when Ipswich is strong, and that we currently lose every regional battle for investment because Ipswich is NOT prospering under this regime and is punching below its weight.

    The former county-borough now operates with four rudders and six skippers; and where a bewildered electorate has no clue who is in charge ! There is IBC running the borough’s assets, and rural focused and driven SCC who almost entirely and ideologically at odds with IBC and which has complete control of the County’s powerbase (ironically a third of it powered by Ipswich). We have an Ipswich MP who actually only represents 60% of the population; and a Framlingham based MP who represents the remaining 40%. We have Babergh and Suffolk Coastal District Council controlling large swaths of the town’s suburbs and able to dump their unwanted problems directly on our doorstep with the county town powerless to resist. When the delivery system is so fundamentally flawed and unaccountable there can be little surprise that Ipswich’s electorate has lost all faith in you and the town’s political process.

    So you might think all is rosy in the garden and SCC is doing a great job for all Suffolk. I beg to differ !

    Mark Ling

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