Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Thanet District Council one of the 12 hardest hit in government cuts

Anyone know why Thanet in particular, or I suppose the others
Hardest hit: Losing 8.9% for two years
Source: Dept of Communities
Ashfield
Great Yarmouth
Barrow-in-Furness
Hastings
Bolsover
Hyndburn
Burnley
Pendle
Chesterfield
Preston
Copeland
Thanet

13 comments:

  1. I have some theories but non of them are printable.

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  2. Probably because the directors salaries have escalated out of control.
    Half a million quid for a bunch of managers who can't get some seaweed off the beach.
    But can close tdc down for a week over christmas

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  3. Aside from the more facile and unhelpful comments, it's to do with with the proportion and volume of subsidies that Thanet and other intensely benefits and grants dependent areas on the list receive from central government. We have been busily arguing that in view of our deprivation index, we should be regarded as a special case and need extra financial support.

    I'm sure this will be explained in more detail once the accurate figure has been resolved and we have a council meeting on Thursday as well.

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  4. Anon 0.40 is entitled to state their opinion without being called facile and unhelpful. Only last week we had the leader of the council getting in to deep water because of his comments insulting Thanet's residents. I believe he has now apologised in print.

    TDC is perceived to overpay top staff for what they do. Maybe current plans to cut the number reinforce this. Even with the generous additional grants that the previous government gave Thanet there is no evidence that this has been used wisely and has done any good in the regeneration and creation of jobs and improving the health of the community.
    Its not just TDC cuts that will afffect Thanet, KCC are claiming that their budget has to be cut by nearly 10% even tough Mr Pickles and co state that the KCC grants cut this year is 1.8%. Not good for support of the elderly, state of the roads and nice to have services like the Turner.

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  5. Thank you Mr Pickles - Council funding cut, Police Cut, EMA cut, University Funding Cut, Benefits Cut. Looking forward to the rise in crime in a years time.

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  6. Simon thanks for that is goes some way to explaining the situation, although where it is going to leave us seems to be a tricky one.

    Much of the problem here though comes I think from the council’s failure to communicate with local people, the council has both a press and a communications department and yet collectively seem to little to tell us what is going on.

    What has developed is an increasing them and us situation, between the council and the Thanet people, with there appearing to be no one amongst the ruling group of councillors or the senior council officers seeming to take the part of local people, particularly when the council does something that just doesn’t make sense.

    The recent botched leadership consultation is a case in point, forget the rights and just consider where one would be in commerce if one had run a consultation targeting 100,000 people over a period of 10 weeks and managed to elicit a response from 6 of them.

    But basically when a local person sees an instance where the council is failing and in some cases just losing public money, there is just no common sense way forward. There are numerous examples of this, take the historic vessel pontoons in Ramsgate, for various reasons these are not suitable for ordinary commercial moorings, so for a number of years the café culture area in Ramsgate has benefited from being amongst historic vessels. The council also benefited as they received reduced mooring fees for pontoons they couldn’t have otherwise let, but they decided to do away with the mooring fees concession so now all of the historic vessels have left.

    Any of many examples would have done in this instance and there is no senior councillor in the ruling group who one can go to, no accountable leader who responds an acts when a situation is just plain potty.

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  7. Alternatively Michael, I frequently see you spinning one side of a story in which you have a particular interest but which omits the argument and decision-making process on the other side, frequently because you aren't privy to the details which lead to such decisions.

    It's human nature I suppose but anyone simply flinging in one FOI request after another because that person believes there is fault with the council's decisions, doesn't make it undemocratic and wrong-thinking.

    People make mistakes as do councils but in most cases I'm pretty satisfied with the processes and safeguards that lie behind a very complex and frequently challenging public service environment.

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  8. I am concerned with another aspect of the Localism Bill and that is the abolition of the Standards Board. Nothing, other than perhaps a voluntary code of conduct, which Thanet may or may not have, will replace it. The only recourse will be the law courts.

    I wonder what Dr M's views are on this.

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  9. Simon I think you have hit the nail on the head there, if people aren’t privy to how the council are making decisions, for the most part that is because the council aren’t engaged in open government. The council’s press and publicity departments aren’t doing their job, communicating what the council are doing.

    It would be very helpful if you let me know about any of the stories that I have spun one side of, this really isn’t my intention, are you for instance saying that the council had some proper motive over the pontoons issue?

    Tomorrow is the final day in the consultation about who will lead the council over the next four years, what are we supposed to make of this looking at the council’s website homepage today.

    It begs some interesting questions.

    Don’t the council think that this is something important?

    Are they trying to hide the consultation, so that people don’t take part?

    Look on the council’s consultation webpage and you will find no mention of this important consultation, well I have mentioned the rest of it.

    On Thursday, it is your duty as a councillor to determine what system of government Thanet gets for the next four years, based on this consultation, my concern is that the decision will be privy.

    With your reference to flinging out foi requests, does this reefer to me? I think I have made about 5 of these ever, pretty much all relating to Pleasurama, my usual method is to ask for the information quietly and off the record first, this usually works and saves the council money.

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  10. The Council doesn't engage with local people because the Councillors don't want to do this. They are all party political toadies whose sole aim in life is to do down the other party. On any issue their primary objective is to win the vote, irrespective of what it is and how it affects local people. If this were not true, Councillors would refuse to allow themselves to be whipped to vote a particular way.

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  11. Simon

    As I pointed out yesterday

    The views of one Councillor on TDC media and communications.

    "However, we also seem to have a media & communication department at Thanet District Council that continues to fail in its delivery to the public domain"

    What more needs to be said?

    People will only believe that the Council is working in their best interests when they can see that this is so. Most of us are both literate and capable of weighing up facts to come to a decision and at the moment the overwhelming view being presented by the most highly educated member of the Council is that "we know best" and that hoi poloi should just get on with being led. No wonder we're all suspicious! We may not all be airplane pilots or PhDs (although you have no idea who I am or what qualifications I hold - for all you know I may be an ex-Councillor!)but there is no need to talk down to us.
    You accuse Michael of spin and tell him that he presents only one side of an argument - what do you expect when the other side is hidden from view?
    An nescis, mi fili, quantilla sapientia mundus regatur?

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  12. “…reefer to me? I think I have made about 5 of these ever...” Say that again!

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  13. Michael
    The issue of the historic pontoons was quite simple, the decision was taken to cut most of the grants given by TDC,prior to 2006 all the historic vessels were grant aided, when the system changed those who wanted grants had to apply for them, the owner of a historic vessel did not really meet the criteria, most didn't apply due to the fact the form made it fairly clear that they didn't meet the criteria. All those who did apply were rejected. On the plus side for historic ships TDC did spend the best part of a quarter of a million on the Viking ship, unfortunately it is deteriorating already.

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