It’s a funny old world, reading the blogs and talking to local people over the years I formed the impression that quite a few people were interested in the way the council is run.
I think the population of Thanet is about 150,000 from memory and I believe the number of those eligible to vote is just under 100,000, so when the council are obliged by the local government act to hold a twelve week consultation about the way the council will be run over the next four years, you would expect quite a few replies.
Well there is only a week of the consultation to go and according to the council only about six people have responded, it isn’t as though it is a complicated consultation, the council are only asking two questions and you only have to make one answer.
1 Do you want to vote for the leader of the council?
2 Do you want the councillors to chose the leader of the council?
You only have to email one of the following two answers to Glenn.Back@thanet.gov.uk with your name and address so he can check that you are on the electoral roll and are eligible to take part.
1 I want a leader of the council elected by the people of Thanet.
2 I want a leader of the council chosen by the councilors.
I asked the council about this consultation ten days ago and have been promised a response, but haven’t received it yet.
I asked my MP to ask the council about this consultation, because time is running out and she got a response from the council, as obviously not many people are interested in this subject, I will put some of the relevant bits below, here is the link to the whole response http://www.thanetonline.com/1110/id8.htm
This all relates to an act of parliament, here is the link to the relevant bit http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2007/28/section/64
Next some parts of the councils response in red.
We have not received many responses to the consultation so far. Of the half-dozen or so we have received, all of those expressing an opinion have stated a preference for the Mayoral model, and that will be reported to the extraordinary meeting of Council on 16 December. It is worth noting, however, that the current statutory threshold for triggering a Mayoral referendum is very nearly 5,000 people on the electoral register. It will be for Council to decide how much weight to give to the relatively small number of responses we have received.
Before I go on I will endeavour to explain this bit.
The Mayoral model, is not as some of you could expect a charming young lady accompanying the mayor but means an elected leader, it has nothing to do with dressing up of either models or ceremonial mayors, think of it as a Boris Johnson type of mayor if you like.
The “statutory threshold for triggering a Mayoral referendum,” is a bit misleading in this context as this is the figure for a mayoral petition organised and presented to the council by a member of the public. It has nothing to do with the figure required for a consultation organised by the council, which is what he is talking about.
I will add to this post if I get time this evening.
Next the really bizarre correspondence between the council and one of the readers of this blog.
Here is the pertinent bit of what he asked the council:
The Act requires that the local authority must publish in one or more newspapers circulating in its area a notice which—(i) states that the authority has drawn up the proposals,(ii) describes the main features of the proposals,(iii) states that copies of a document setting out the proposals are available at their principal office for inspection by members of the public at such times as may be specified in the notice, and(iv) specifies the address of their principal office.I read the local papers fairly closely and I don't remember seeing such a notice published. Please advise in which paper and on what date such a notice was posted.
And this the council’s reply:
Section 64 of the Local Government & Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 requires Councils to consult the public before drawing up their proposals (i.e. before they are put to Council). It goes on to say that after drawing up their proposals (i.e. after Council has taken the decision) those proposals must be published in a local newspaper. So there is no legal requirement for a notice to have been placed in a newspaper at this stage.
In other words the council are interpreting the act as meaning the consultation should be publicised after it has happened.