Sunday, 23 July 2017

Rearguard action by Cornwall Council to keep up councillor numbers

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England asked Cornwall Council to propose a reduction in councillor numbers.  The first proposal of the Indy/Lib Dem administration that the number should be reduced to between 105 and 115 was rejected out of hand by the Commission.

The Commission has also not supported the administration's revised proposal for 99. Instead it has made its own proposal for 87, which it is now consulting on.

This is virtually the same number as the alternative proposal made by the leadership of the Conservative Group for a reduction to 85 councillors.

Usually, the Commission adopts the number proposed by the Council itself.  So, it is an indictment of Cornwall Council that the Commission has not followed its usual practice. This is particularly so as the administration held more than 50 meetings/events/workshops and wrote about 300 pages to support its submission.

Since the election the new Lib Dem led administration has held another three meetings on this and on Tuesday they want Full Council to support yet another submission to the Commission supporting 99. They have also criticised the independent  Governance Review External Group  appointed by the last administration for reaching its conclusions without evidence, although that body conducted about 100 interviews with interested parties before writing its report.

The most troubling point is that the administration is intermeddling in the Commission's attempt to further consult on its provisional recommendation for 87 by asking different questions to those asked by the Commission.  It appears that the administration is trying to elicit responses from the consultation to support its case for 99.

One question it asks is whether you think the new Cornwall Council division boundaries should match parish and community network boundaries without telling you that those boundaries are next for a review.

Fundamentally, this Council is self interested and lacks ambition to work more efficiently.

50 plus meetings on this makes my case.