Saturday, 27 February 2010

How would Ofsted rate the Town Council?

Now the dust has settled on the recent Ofsted report in the infants school, and having suffered another dreadful meeting on Tuesday,I thought what if the Town Council faced a Ofsted style inspection how would it rate?

Well, at the risk of being reported to the standards board, I will attempt to give a flavour of the performance of the Town Council.

Shepton Town Council have 16 elected members 7 conservatives 4 independents 3 lib dems and 2 labour councillors.

In the next financial year the Town Council will spend £158,000 at a cost of £41.69 to a band d tax payer. The Cost of admin of the council is £54,339 or £16.38 . The cost of council property will cost £11256 or £3.39. Collett Park will cost the tax payer £41696 or £12.57. The Council also has partnership funds from CCTV, THi, CAB, TIC etc this costs £27919 or £8.41 . leaving £7800 in community grants plus miscellaneous items.

Community Leadership

You would assume that the Town Council would be the force for improvements in the Town, being it's civic leadership.

So whilst setting the Town Council's tax rate, you would of thought the Council might of been interested in what Sheptonians thought when raising the cash to fund various schemes.

The Town Council failed to do this, they never even contemplated doing so.

Again, when setting the council tax rate, you would of thought the Town Council would of been interested in what the key stakeholders in the town thought were key spending priorities, despite the regeneration holder (me) talking to those stakeholders and despite the community group accepting those proposals, the Conservative group and two uber conservative independents voted to sink these spending priorities.

The Town Council failed on working with key stakeholders.

So I can only report that the majority of councillors are not much interested in Sheptonians views or key stakeholders, in doing so they fail on community leadership.

Use of Public Money

When setting the Town Council budget and after consultation with the community, the Council should have key objectives, that the Council wants to achieve for the Town.

I believe they also have to evaluate of needs within Shepton, this evaluation will lead to spending commitments.

Clearly stating what the money is taken for and what it wants to deliver for the Town, so the community can judge if it is getting value for money. They should also test against other authorities and the market to evaluate the price of the services provided.

The Majority of the Council decides not to do this, hence they have no measure for value for money, on this bases they have failed in the use of public money.

Communicating with Shepton

The first sign of the lack of communicating with the community of this Conservative/Independent administration was to stopping the production of the council's newsletter.

The Council has a Website.

The Council is heavily dependent on the local news media for reporting local council business.

The Town Council could do much better with Communicating with the community.

Unlike Ofsted, only the community can demand a better, and the community can elect better local councillors, but if the community is happy with the Council then nothing will change.

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