On Wednesday, at the request of the Town Council, a man came from Durham County Council to keep us up to date about the local economy. One of the things he told us was that the County Council was working with the Area Action Partnership (AAP) to develop the local economy. Unfortunately, when asked, he was unsure how DCC might work with the Town Council to develop the local economy.
On Saturday, I went to the AGM of the County Durham Association of Local Councils (CDALC). Proceedings were opened by Cllr Linda Marshall, Vice-Chair of DCC, who, in a brief speech, praised the ‘spectacular success’ of DCC’s cooperation … with the AAPs.
I wonder whether either of these two people realised just how tactless it was to stress to Town and Parish Councils (TPCs) their good relations with the AAPs!
I can appreciate why the County Council might prefer to work through the AAPs; the AAPs are unelected local quangos, run by County Council officers. Great Aycliffe Town Council has 30 elected members and a budget approaching £3million a year – it is outspoken, assertive and knows its own mind.
But IS DCC sidelining the local TPCs in favour of the AAPs? I have always dismissed such conspiracy theories as ridiculous.
However, on Saturday there was a stall advertising a DCC consultation on Community Buildings.
I was slightly surprised, since I have always been kept in touch with the DCC consultation portal, which emailed me to inform me of any new consultation documents.
On investigation, however, it seems for all the world as though DCC have closed down their consultation portal without telling me, stopped sending me emails, and opened instead a new ‘Consultation page’ on their website here.
Did YOU know about this?
If you visit this Consultations webpage, you will see that at the time of writing there are three important consultations in progress (Community Buildings, Household Waste and CCTV – the CCTV consultation, particularly, is vital for TPCs since it is a double-taxation issue).
Did YOU know about them?
Have I been watching too much Smiley’s People, or do DCC need to democratise their consultations procedures?