Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Petty Party Bureaucracy of Local Government

At the beginning of August the council received a letter from our local regiment explaining the losses that they were suffering in Afghanistan. They wanted to set up a fund to help victims and families. I spoke to the council's cabinet and we agreed on a £5,000 donation. A small amount of money but a start - it would have been nice to get the money committed before the rest of the battalion returned home... and the head of the army has asked local councils to help welcome troops home.

I discussed it with my Lib Dem opposition who thought there was nothing wrong.

Skip forward to end September, after weeks of bureaucratic dithering, I'm told the donation is outside "policy" but that I, as portfolio holder, have the right to go outside the policy. So I approve the donation.

8th Oct (yesterday) - I am told that my decision is being "called in for scrutiny" by various Lib Dems and Independents - This will delay the decision until earliest November 16th.

Today, after begging for the decision to be scrutinised earlier, it is clear that the only way to make a quick decision is if I renege on my original decision and bring the whole issue to a full debate of all 59 councillors on Oct 18th. The Chief Exec is going to need to write a full paper for the full council.

All we wanted to do was send a message of support to our troops on the ground.... but even this is tied up in red tape, petty squabbling, time wasting and over-complicated protocols.


Simple Tory said...


Never, EVER trust the Lib Dems.

Refer to them as Liberals from now on - they'll hate it!!

Super idea though - anything to highlight and celebrate the homecoming of our forces.


Anonymous said...

Im sorrry to see you using both South Cambs( of which you are a member and therefore should respect the rights of your fellow councillors to challenge your decisions ) and the Army in this manner.
SCDC is supposedly strapped for cash and cutting everywhere and everything .
But you think it OK to start giving money to the armed forces .
That is the duty of the State and the Gov not local councils .Are you going to give money to the Royal British Legion or other charities regarding our armed forces ?
What the Head of the Armed Forces has asked for is that the homecoming soldiers are welcomed , quite right they are a credit to the nation .
You putting snide coments in the Cambridge Evening news and on this blog are not.
PS Im not a Lib Dem and your Tory colleague who wants to blame them should try checking his facts.
This is Vicky trying to score points and add to her CV.

Vicky Ford said...

Anonymous - Thanks for the comment, I have the utmost respect for members but when a decision had cross party support back in August then gets delayed for 3 months possibly longer the process must be questioned. IT is symptomatic of the un-necessary bureaucracy that grips decision making.
We do make donations to charities and consider all requests. The need for support in this case is huge and it affects local people. We're not asked to host a homecoming parade but want to show our support.
The delay is crazy.

Vicky Ford said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Vicky, completely understand your frustration and I think this type of information should be on your blog. It is amazing that people will question spending a small amount on our armed forces, who protect us, who are prepared to lose their lives for us - young men and women that dedicate their lives to serving rather than getting involved in ASB etc.

Pretty poor show.....and as someone who does struggle to pay my SCDC council tax I would prefer money is spent on things like this than art work, and other things that only benefit certain members of the community, the forces protect us all!