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10 October 2013 BSARA tells Boundary Commission "We need fewer, but better trained, District Councillors"

posted 10 Oct 2013, 04:45 by Andre Hefer   [ updated 10 Oct 2013, 04:46 ]
The Beacon Street Area Residents' Association (BSARA) thinks the District Council is bloated and has told the Local Goverment Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) that the number of Councillors should be cut from 56 to 40.

The rest of the Council is undergoing a “Fit for the Future” review, so that that services can be delivered with less money. Slimming down the Council’s management and governance arrangements should be part of this wider review. It is astonishing that the July/2013 Council meeting decided that “56 members are required to operate Lichfield District Council”.

Why BSARA came to this conclusion?

  • Our Councillors and their committees cost £850,000 a year to run. That's almost 10% of the controllable budget! See table to the right, data supplied by LDC.
  • Lots of money is being spent on committtees who take very few decisions and who have difficulty absorbing the information put before them. Hardly a surprise when only £1,719 was spent on training but £55,967 was spend on civic services (e.g. food , drink, etc.).
  • Ward Councillors on our patch, Leomansley, Stowe & Chadsmead, are very low profile and seem reluctant to get involved in local issues, call public meetings or keep the residents informed e.g. by issuing their own newsletters or maintaining their own websites.
  • The Local Plan proposed building a lot of new houses, which was very controversial; yet, to our knowledge, no public meetings were called by our ward Councillors. Even Cabinet members appeared poorly briefed and overwhelmed by the complexity of the material before them.

BSARA's letter to the Boundary Commission can be downloaded here.


Background

  1. The Local Goverment Boundary Commission for England, (LGBCE), is reviewing the size of Lichfield District Council, i.e. how many Councillors it needs to operate. The consultation end on 14/Oct/2013.
  2. The aims is to publish draft recommendations for a new pattern of wards for Lichfield in April 2014 followed by more consultation. Final recommendations are due to be published in October 2014 and the new electoral arrangements will come into effect for the council elections in 2015.