Councillors should do more to gauge public reaction

FOR a long time, I have advocated that the ‘Your Opinions’ column in the Dispatch should be a focus for local debate. I thus welcome the Letter in last week’s Dispatch from Coun Ian Morrison (Lab), of Hucknall, in response to my question: Why bother with referendums and local consultation?

I agree wholeheartedly that those in office should be open in their dealings and accountable to their electorate. I also would agree that our representatives should be well aware of the electorate’s views. However Coun Morrison’s Letter contained nothing to change my view that expensive consultations should only be undertaken in unusual circumstances.

To return briefly to the Hucknall North ward consultation questionnaire, this contained only two generalised questions and did not attempt to determine what people wanted in any depth and, more importantly, why. Instead, the questionnaire appeared to be simply asking for public support of current policies from which I deduce that the Labour Party must be very unsure of these policies.

Worryingly, the reaction of our Conservative MP, Mark Spencer, to the inner bypass funding, reported in last week’s Dispatch, was also equally insecure.

If councillors really want to spread information and avoid accusations that “consultation to date has been sketchy”, I suggest that they generate a council news item each month that is published in all the local papers. This should be along the lines of matters arising, with in-depth discussions and reasoning. Associated with such an article should be a reader’s letters facility.



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