Connecting Crouch End and Hornsey with news, views and information
Haringey claims in its Consultation Charter that "Consultation is a fundamental part of the planning and provision of services." It is perhaps slightly odd to run a review of Governance, (which I think means the way everything actually works (Wikipedia - '"governance" is what a "government" does')), between 9 December 2010 and 8 January 2011 . My life has a slightly odd tempo at present so I do have a few moments spare to consider this. But I suspect that most of the rest of you are otherwise distracted at this time of year. There are a number of simultaneous consultations listed on the website, all less important (?) but all with much longer dates. I am not the only one to have noticed the oddity of the timing MArio Petrouand Nicola Bates have aslo commented.
The consultation charter also states that "We will provide enough information about consultation to help people make an informed contribution." The review page itself certainly does not achieve this. A brief English narrative outlining the structures and processes would be immensely helpful. This could be short and augmented appropriately by linking in to the fuller descriptions which are already present on the review page. The present offering leaves me working quite hard to follow through all the information. The Mario Petrou letter refers to a publicly funded review already carried out by well paid external consultants which is not even mentioned, let alone linked in or made available.
The consultation charter again "We will communicate clearly about the purpose of the consultation, who is being consulted, the way we are consulting and when decision will be taken on proposals." Ok, we the public, and some other unspecified external partners are being consulted, and "the New Year" "not before May" is given as a timetable. But the purpose is hidden beneath several quasi political digs at the government cuts.
This seems to be another consultation which is well down to Haringey's usual standards.
To develop my theme a little further.
"We will value the time and energy that people put into responding to consultations and will make it simple for people to tell us what they think." Another point in the charter. So the proposal is to value the "time and energy" - no hint that they propose toi take any notice of the ideas, a theme which is certainly developed on the review page:
"Now we are seeking the views of the wider public on these matters." -- so that . . ? we can ignore them. So that . . We can rewrite the proposals when a really good idea comes up? ??
"We’re now eager to hear how you think we can best meet these challenges." - is followed by an online survey - excellent an opportunity for me to put forward my ideas. Lets have a look at the questions:
Q1 To what extent do you agree that full council meetings currently provide opportunities for councillors to debate the political issues that matter most to the people of Haringey?
This question seems designed to bring the answer "strongly disagree" - my reason for strongly diagreeing being that political issues are debated on the hustings and over pints - the full council has resolved these issues - it's a Labour majority.
Q3 To what extent do you agree that the council’s decision-making processes could be streamlined to be more effective?
Show me a decision making process that can't.
One of the proposals emerging from the review is that some responsibilities currently undertaken by the Council should be devolved to local Councillors and through newly formed area committees.
Now this isn't a question - its a sort of preamble to the next question, but it does contain a clue and a contradiction - someone , somewhere has suggested newly formed area committees. Perhaps it was those highly paid external consultants? And it does rather give the answer to an earlier question from the review page "Whether Area Assemblies could provide a more effective foundation for engagement with local communities and how we can ensure decisions are made based on local needs and aspirations?" - apparently they can't. Which is a shame for Liz of HoL who has included in her Christmas List
My Christmas Wish List no 2: Can we help to get Area Assemblies to ... Not if they are going to be replaced by newly formed committees you can't. I wonder how these newly formed committees are going to help streamline the structure??
The next question follows the preamble and assumes local committees. I think we are now back on the theme of government cuts. I think that what is about to be devolved is not power, but impotence. I can feel all the blame for things not going done being removed from the Cabinet and passed on to each ward.