What is the challenge?
Local councils have saved money at a time of cuts by reducing their numbers. In Wiltshire, district councils were scrapped in 2009 in favour of one big ‘unitary’ Wiltshire council. The problem is that this makes decision-making more remote. Decisions are taken further away from the people they affect. And it’s worse when the ruling group decide to create a ‘cabinet’ or inner circle that excludes most councillors from big decisions.
What will we do?
Lib Dems believe in giving power to communities and making decisions close to those affected.
We think well-balanced and effective policies are reached by open debate and input from interested parties. So we will give more power to the area boards that represent individual neighbourhoods and link them together into forums to make decisions that affect larger communities and pool resources where it makes sense.
In Wiltshire, a Liberal Democrat Council will:
- Give communities and their representatives more say in decisions;
- Create four assemblies of area boards to bring decision-making closer to communities;
- Seek ways for towns and parishes to make decisions within area boards.
Working with Wiltshire residents
A Liberal Democrat Council will seek new and innovative ways of engaging residents in issues of major public interest.
We will consider the use of citizens’ assemblies, panels and juries to consider issues such as future budgets, major strategic planning issues and the climate emergency.
Since its creation in 2009 Wiltshire Council has become increasingly distant from the lives of Wiltshire residents. Decision-making has become too centralised in the hands of too few people. The cabinet system of decision-making excludes the vast majority of councillors and communities from
issues that affect their lives.
A Liberal Democrat Council will return decision-making to local communities. We will abandon the failed system of cabinet governance, where decisions have been taken by a few people with insufficient debate, and will seek to create a forum structure to make decisions involving all councillors representing their communities.
We will create four assemblies of area boards, each reflecting the history and geography of our county, and devolve considerable funding and decision-making to them and the local councillors who will sit on them.
We will strengthen area boards and seek ways of town and parish councils voting at these meetings, creating real partnerships between each level of government in our county.
A Liberal Democrat Council will seek new and innovative ways of engaging residents of issues of major public interest. We will consider the use of citizen’s assemblies, panels and juries to consider issues such as future budgets, major strategic planning issues and the climate emergency.
Where appropriate we would encourage and support citizens’ assemblies of local residents to discuss major issues and present their views prior to decisions being made.
We believe this structure will ensure decisions are made that truly reflect local priorities and that our limited resources are well spent.