Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Does HDC have any idea on what it should be doing?

At times the secretive HDC drops its guard and reveals what is going on inside. At the meeting of the Economic Well-being OSP, the Committee was informed that:
Why? There should be no difficulties in producing a list of what the Council has a statutory duty to provide. That is how a Council is supposed to work. The national government has the ability, with the permission of Parliament, to do what it wants. Before a Council can provide a service it must establish in law that it has the power to provide the service. Otherwise the Council is acting ultra vires - beyond the law - and Councillors can be surcharged if this is found to be the case.

The officers of HDC should know what services are being provided and what laws are being used to provide these services. They should know which services are statutory duties and which they have power. This is important. Act of Parliament give powers and statutory duties for Councils to perform. Two examples:

1) Parliament give the power to District Council to provide and run Leisure Centres. There is not statutory duty to do so. HDC can therefore run Leisure Centres but doesn't have to do so.

2) Parliament made it a statutory duty for the District Council to have a domestic waste collection service. This means the District Council HAS to provide this service.

HDC Officers may not want to give a definitive list because it shows the areas which are vulnerable to cuts and closure. This is the Officers of the Council looking after their own. Of course no organisations want to see job losses. The problem for Councils is this is the wrong view. Councils are not here to keep people employed at the Council Taxpayers expense. Councils are here to look after the residents they are supposed to serve.

A long time ago I learnt a lesson. This is:

What is good for the Council isn't necessarily good for the Community. What is good for the Community isn't necessarily good for the Council.

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