At the Derwent Valley Partnership (AAP) last night Mother made this pretty clear!
It was the final meeting of the four year cycle, the councillor members were off to face the May elections, and the public reps “served out” after four years and facing the question of whether they wanted to be re-selected or not.
These same public representatives had made the rather adventurous suggestion that rather than a committee selecting the public reps in future, the 400 plus members of the AAP forum could choose the reps themselves by vote. One member of the forum commented that as a member of the public, they wanted a say in who “represented” them as a public rep.
This independent thinking was clearly a step too far for Mother (aka Durham County Council) whose representative put things rather plainly.
The decision is to be made by the county council and the decision has been made. We will run the recruitment process.
It’s rather depressing that government of every kind, national and local, always preaches “localism” but practices central control. It doesn’t matter whether it’s Eric Pickles or Simon Henig. The message seems to be, we want local people to take control – except on those occasions when we want to control things ourselves. It’s a message that does little to kindle the fires of community involvement.
I have to say the public reps on the AAP have been models of commitment, with the highest attendance rates at meetings and great involvement over the four years. I hope that whatever system is used we get the same quality of commitment again.