Council needs to listen more

editorial image
Have your say

THE abolition of the Community Assemblies could be seen as a delayering of council bureaucracy in an organisation that spends too much money on people rather than delivering services.

The £2m saving from the proposed dismantling of the assemblies is being claimed by Labour as a necessary move but one they are taking reluctantly.

As a result, local decision making will be taken one step further away from local people who know best what is needed in their communities.

The Community Assemblies were set up by the previous Labour administration and refined by the Lib Dems as area panels.

They have delegated budgetary powers to spend money on initiatives such as highways improvements, improving the environment that people live in and awarding pots of money to organisations through grants.

From a democracy point of view they helped to deliver better accountability, too, with members of the public able to attend the monthly meetings.

This delayering now leaves the public with just two formal ways of influencing politicians, either through full council meetings or through cabinet.

The £2m may well be needed to help with the budget savings, but it will now place a further onus on the council to ensure it engages with the public. We have already warned that as the council draws in its horns and delivers fewer services, it faces a question of governance as it demands council tax payments.

Now, councillors will have to work that bit harder to ensure they are listening to the voters about their issues and fighting to have them represented and heard at council meetings.

If they don’t succeed or put in that effort, then their legitimacy will be brought further into question.

On show to the whole world

THE greatest cyclists in the world taking part in one of the best known sporting spectacles on this planet will be racing through Sheffield.

It is a fantastic coup for Yorkshire and sthose who have campaigned for this region to have the Tour de France come here.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to assess the economic impact the event, which is watched by 3.5 billion around the world, will have on this region.

But without doubt we will see that benefit. It is not just about immediate benefit, though. It is about a further opportunity to showcase our great region and build our reputation. The cyclists tackling the hilliest city in the UK may have other ideas, though!