Sunday, February 13, 2011

Promoting local democracy the CPALC way

I thought I would look at this from my point of view. I don't know what the Town Council put into CPALC on this section.
I take the first line. "In order to thrive democracies need active, informed and engaged citizens". Hmmm...As a citizen I have to look at the record of St Neots Town Council and look at what it doesn't do. In order to be informed, the citizen needs information. This was demonstrated in the ISA 260 Report to the Town Council. It says:
The information is missing from the website. The approved accounts are missing. The ISA 260 Report is also missing. Other key information like payments came and went. Now I understand the Town Council isn't the District Council. But public information is key to participating in the Town Council strategies and priorities.

The reason this came as a shock was nothing was said beforehand.
There was nothing from the Town Council to say things were wrong. Meetings were cancelled and information not given. The Town Council has moved on from this. They are better with their information. Again this isn't a one way street. The Town Council itself has to proactive in publishing information even when that information shows mistakes and bad news for the Town Council.

From where I stand the Town Council can do more by publishing more. Involving the public in the affairs of the Town Council can only be a good thing. But this isn't what the Town Council wants. Rather than engaging with the public the Town Council looks to hide away on many issues. Keeping everything quiet and not saying much unless it is really good news. St Neots Town Council is one of the largest Town or Parish Councils in England. It should be doing more in engaging with residents on a number of issues that effects the Town. It simply doesn't. Now that could be down to the political leadership of the Council in not mapping out a strategy for the Town over the next 5 years. consultations costs money. But a simple form on the site or

By any measure the St Neots electorate is not active, engaged, involved or informed of what is going on in St Neots. What St Neots Town Council is the bare minimum. If CPALC feels St Neots Town Council has passed this test then we would be better off under Dibley Parish Council.

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