Spreadsheets and other exciting subjects

Over the past couple of weeks I have been ploughing through initial paperwork for my new role on the County Council looking at the financial projections and countless spreadsheet.

The great difficulty of such a dry subject is not that it is irrelevant to the lives of the Residents of Suffolk because column by column and row by row they are; it’s an old saying but the devil is in the detail and it is certainly possible to see every debate in the council chamber play out in the figures in each and every little box.

But how do we make it relevant to people on the doorstep and even more importantly how do residents influence the decisions being take. Yes we have just has an election and I am elected to represent my community but in the tough decisions ahead how do residents have a stronger voice beyond the ballot box?

I am working with my team on how we create real involvement for our communities in the decisions about what to spend the money on, not just an exercise in public engagement but how to embed the involvement in the budget process.

There is no doubt that over the coming months our election pledge to freeze the Council tax for 4 years will be ridiculed by the opposition yet as Conservatives administrations fell about us we retained control of Suffolk, it seems to me we did this on a number of levels, firstly the hard work we have put in since 2005, the effectiveness and efficiency that the County Council is generally regarded for. Our track record of delivering 3 years of Council tax freezes and thus, trust that we will do what we say we will do, with an effective cut in the County Council element of the council tax (say inflation at 3% x 7 years of freezes = a 20% cut in real terms), this is our mandate as we move forward to protect front line services and residents hard-earned money.

As a Councillor this is all about choices, if we spend money on this we can’t spend it on that.

On the door step people want you to fix that pothole in their road outside their house, not have a debate about the discreet Child safeguarding monitoring the child further down the road who might or might not be at risk, or Mrs. Smith at no 42 helped each day with getting out of bed, each must be given a priority and have a budget line assigned accordingly. The challenge is how to involve residents more in making these increasingly tough decisions.

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 Lance Stanbury on behalf of Colin Noble, both at West Suffolk Conservative Association, Park Farm Cottage, Fordham St. Genevieve, Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk IP28 6TS

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