Saturday, 20 November 2010

Lack of Engagement Woes...Again

Unfortunately I have to report that my initial optimism at One Nottingham's response to my request for a copy of the decision to award Nottingham Equal funding appears to be misplaced.

As I said before, ON's PR chap Kevin Bartlett provided me with copies of board minutes but said that the decision to pick NE was made by a tender panel, a detail not mentioned in the NCC decision to provide match funding. That just mentioned a lack of other potential organisations.

I have written back to Mr Bartlett, twice, asking him for a copy of the tender decision and meeting minutes as their guidance says that this should normally be provided under the Freedom of Information Act and Kevin did say he would deal with my request under FoIA principles. Not a peep back from him sadly and he sounded so friendly at the outset.

What have they got to hide?

The next tactic I think is to test just how independent ON is from NCC by putting in a FoIA request to NCC itself. NCC's financial regulations state that contracts over £50k must have three bidders. The financial regs can be dispensed with if a justification can be provided but according to Kevin that didn't happen. We'll see what they say.

In other clamming up news, after encouraging all and sundry to write to their councillors about discretionary housing payments I made a point of doing so myself. Ten days ago I wrote to my own local councillors, Cat Arnold, Rob Lee and Mick Newton, the three party leaders and relevant portfolio holders Graham Chapman (resources), Eunice Campbell (adult services) and David Liversidge (housing).

Wanna know how many replies I've had? One, from Lib Dem leader Gary Long who said he would support DHPs being sent for scrutiny. Hats off to him at least. Nothing from anybody else, not even my own councillors which is an absolute disgrace. I've never had a reply from any of my local councillors apart from one from Mick Newton and that was when he was off sick.

These wasters are a disgrace to democracy. How can they complain about people not voting or otherwise engaging in political life when they steadfastly ignore people who do? How often do politicians howl in condemnation when people dare to take matters into their own hands and riot or stage other forms of direct action? We hear them mewling and puking that we should effect change by democratic means but ignore us when we do. It's not a party political thing, they're all part of the same disease, although we do have a particular problem with councillors being little more than vote fodder at the beck and call of the leadership in Nottingham. The last thing that elected representatives of that calibre want is for people to take an interest in what they're doing.

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