Yelps Bronagh Miskelly:
Under the plans local authorities will have a duty to take petitions into account in service planning and other activities - even petitions with a couple of hundred signatures, according to reports. These could hold local officers to account forcing councils to hold public meetings to explain service provision.Oh noes! Inspections in children’s services! Yes, they’ve seen the future, and it scares them…
They could also be used to trigger inspections in children's services. The Chief Inspector of Education, Children's Services and Skills has announced that petitions will form part of a risk assessment that will determine the future the timing of inspections.
I’m tempted to say ‘If you’ve got nothing to hide….’, but it seems Ms Miskelly feels the main problem is that the proles just aren’t, well, educated enough to have this scary new power to hold people to account:
One of the problems is that people are rarely excited by local democracy - last time I voted in a council election I almost had to wake the two dusty-looking polling station officials….will it prove a tool for interest groups or even individuals with determination and an axe to grind….Well, yes indeed, it might, as I thought to myself when I read the article the other day. But on the other hand, they’re taxpayers too, aren’t they?
…..A lot of thought must be given to what weight is given to the views expressed so that resources are not wasted on unnecessary reviews - when they could be used for improving services.Ah, yes, we wouldn’t want ‘unnecessary reviews’, would we? Best if we just leave them to get on with the job and not ask too many questions. They’re experts, you see….
Suddenly, I think I like this white paper. It seems to be putting the wind up the right people.