A city council recovery and improvement action plan 64 pages long was agreed. The Conservatives moved an amendment which was broadly acceptable contained one clause that suggested delay for public simulation when the principles. of our existing plan were established at the 2019 elections. They hadn’t made the points at a committee meeting in the previous week and wouldn’t compromise on their amendment, so we had to re-submit most of the changes in our own amendment, which then they voted for. But then they abstained on the amended report – without saying why – and having made such a point on saying people should be consulted. Except on what they were doing. Hopeless, really.
A difficult time for my colleagues who are having to read a fine balance in accepting a burden from national government on so many fronts, and yet being dictated to on one aspect of the council’s affairs. The total picture is so huge. Hence my speech.
Notes for my speech, although some of it was used in a reply to a Conservative amendment; can check against actual delivery on YouTube
Oh the irony!
Being lectured to by this government –
– on value for the public’s money!
– on standards!
Especially by the Local Gov’t Minister with all his recents problems rehearsed in the media again this weekend.
Then proper use of public money?
– billions wasted on track and trace!
– the school meals fiasco!
– sub-standard food packages sent to children!
But we reflect on that!
As we reflect too that despite the constraint of the city council geographically, with its small tax base, we tried to sustain a national energy trading company.
And we submit 64 page action document in short time to demonstrate resolve and a refreshed outlook.
It will be overseen by people who are not elected by the people of Nottingham, arguably never heard of, and nor are they accountable to them.
To which a “strong leader’ will be allowed to attend.
As if secrecy and the “strong leader” model was not part of the problems we have encountered.
That we have not suffered more is down to us having changed our “strong Leader”.
And I am grateful for the character and resolve of David Mellen.
Remember his previous experience – accountable to the public in a serious way when he carried the heavy responsibility of a head teacher at a city primary school.
But in future, we would benefit more from a council where all councillors are more fully up to speed and part of the decision making process, as was enabled by the committee systems.
A major risk is fast decisions with relatively poor analysis and some counter-productive constraints.
Some reflection, surely, on whether a sped up sale of assets is really in the interest of the people of Nottingham? Let’s get the timing of the sales right.
A relief then – and when I say this, people should know I am a council nominated board member of Enviroenergy, and Chair – that the inspector has analysed our district heating scheme, that enables waste to be incinerated, and says don’t constrain investment on the forthcoming need to expand the system. A good point.
Proper analysis. And big decisions ahead – requiring more public engagement and proper understanding.
Proper analysis needed too on the future of Broad Marsh. Remember the calls from columnists for our city centre to be radically upgraded to match other cities. Just who else was the council to work with, but the company that owned two-thirds of the shopping centre? And now new demands made without reference to agglomeration and understanding the need for housing for young people and bedrooms for students at our growing universities.
And then there’s Robin Hood Energy.
Difficult to talk about the right thing to do when we can’t yet talk about what went wrong?
What if the solutions demanded are proxies for what actually happened, and what if the solutions ventured are not the real thing? How is that helping the people of Nottingham?
As “A friend” cautioned in the movie “Disclosure”, whatever else we think we know, we should “solve the problem”.
Our other problems include –
– more inequality rather than levelling up,
– the growing need to help those in need,
– the need for housing for our young people and
– the council housing needed for our families
– climate change.
And the pandemic.
And yes, to work in the ways regularly expected, and inspected for, before 2010 – with proper corporate governance.
Proper corporate governance.
Yes, we will support David Mellen in what he is asking us to do today.