Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Have They Gone Yet?

Another full Council meeting last night. The questions threw up some interesting exchanges but I'll concentrate on the main business for this post.

We discussed two corporate documents, the Sutton Strategy and the Sutton Plan. The former is agreed by the Council and partner organisations such as the NHS Primary Care Trust and the Police. The latter is supposed to translate the LibDem manifesto into actions.

This is all well and good in theory and much of this was required to tick another box for national government in order to get funding but they both highlighted one fact. The documents explained what the Borough was like now and targets listing what they would like to do but there was precious little about how to do any of it. The section detailing implementation ran to a single page with even an Ethnic & Diversity Statement running to five. It clearly demonstrated the fact that the Liberal Democrats have become an unneccesary adjunct to the council; the Borough's appendix if you will, with officers pushing on with running the show despite the LibDems rather than because of them.

The officers should be there running the day to day administration but the lead councillors are there to give political leadership, setting out their vision and keeping officers on the path to delivering this vision. The case in Sutton is that the majority party have run out of steam, hanging onto the coat-tails of the officers and the council's partners.


Anonymous said...

One thing I found most interesting about last night's meeting was Cllr Brennans wailing on that the Tories "never produce a budget".

Funny that, because in the Lib-Dem electoral handbook it quite clearly states "When in opposition never produce a budget".

Cllr Brennan must be feeling the effects of leading the Lib-Dems for all these years as his memory is quite clearly failing him.

Anonymous said...

David,I think everything is failing them.
Cllr Brett Young was in my opinion a disgrace last night.
Firstly on the issue of school places he quite clearly said:
"Well the numbers dont add up sometimes" to the issue of 90 children in the borough not having been offered secondary school places.Then to Cllr Theobalds question he in my opinion basically called him a liar without actually using that word as well as trying to belittle him.
What an obnoxious way to treat people.

Anonymous said...

Did my question and the pathetic response count as an interesting exchange?

Anonymous said...

Strategies, plans, partnership, targets et cetera just one gets a plethora of documents and yet more of the kind of waffle that puts residents off of engaging with governmental organisations.

An obsession with diversity is telling because that is the comfort zone of 'liberals'. Could we perhaps have a little more emphasis on value for money and the delivery of our paid for services rather than high fallutin jargon?

Like most residents I would appreciate some action and delivery rather than more shredder fodder. Moreover, are there highly paid council managers producing these meaningless documents?

I am distinctly unimpressed.

Anonymous said...

I must admit, I couldn't believe what happened to me! I'm not partial to the intimation that I am a liar or a bad parent. I guess it just illustrates the total bankruptcy of decency, morals and compassion that is now blatantly prevalent.

Anonymous said...


sadly this is not new. Sutton has had a reputation throughout London for a number of years. When I was working at the GLA, I attended a meeting where a number of senior Council Officers were present. I got chatting to one of them, who asked where I lived. When I replied 'Sutton' he said, totally off the cuff: "Sutton - that's where the Officers run the Council, isn't it!"

Says it all really.

Political direction is vital for any administration, otherwise things get bogged down and stale.

Oh, and by the way, reminds me of a Yes Minister sketch where, and I paraphrase, Hacker remarked there was a constant battle between the political will vs the administrative won't! Most apt.

Anonymous said...

Tim - yes I quite agree. I have been trying to assist a constituent with the same problem, but to no avail. Around 4 years ago I sat on two education committees (primary and secondary). There was a crazy scheme then to cut the number of places because the Lib-Dems insisted that the "school rolls were falling and projections were that the population of Sutton would fall"!

What bunkum. There figures (for that read targets) have been blown out of the water completely which is proof positive we are in the mess we are in now. Also, I must admit to being disappointed with Tony Brett-Young's response. He's normally a very nice and interesting chap to talk too. Perhaps the sun has got to his head.

Anonymous said...

I did pen my own humble blog on the events of last night, not as eloquent as yours Paul but c'est la vie!


Anonymous said...

Is that a picture of our GLA lib dem candidate? lol


Anonymous said...

Yes Scott, the sand must really chafe her ears, especially when they're so red following the resounding thrashing she endured at the election!

I think that the Liberal Democrat Party leadership on the council may be suffering from a crisis of identity whereby they actually see themselves as the managers, meaning there simply is no political leadership and lunatic decisions get made form a disconnected managerial point of view.

Which bright spark came up with the totem poles? Which genius calculated a £35 per bag?

Anonymous said...

As someone who treats education as the top priority in this borough, I've very saddened to see this point highlighted above by Cllr Crowley:

"Well the numbers dont add up sometimes" to the issue of 90 children in the borough not having been offered secondary school places

In my opinion this is totally unacceptable. I'm pleased to find that the Conservatives local education policy group was formed to tackle issues such as this. Personally I think we could benefit from an academy here. I understand that only about 30% of local children have places in the grammar schools (which is also concerning), so maybe an academy in the Carshalton area might be a solution.