A party we did not get invited to

untitled (281)As I have written previously, the desire by Central Government to devolve decision making and funding to local groups of Councils is essentially a good one and something that all residents should be involved in. It has the potential to help to address the rather tired rhetoric of English Votes for English Laws (EVEL) which most MPs want to reserve for themselves. On Thursday 14th January Communities Minister Baroness Williams held a discussion on how best to devolve Government decision making and funding to Surrey and Sussex with the leaders of 3 County Councils, 3 District Councils and the Chairman of the Capital to Coast local enterprise partnership. The meeting focused on how these Councils will work together to help tackle the congested road and rail network, pioneer new digital technology, close the skills gap that is holding businesses back and build new affordable homes. The group were speaking on behalf of 44 organisations including all of the other District and Borough Councils in Sussex and Surrey, the Fire and Rescue Services and Police Services for Surrey and Sussex. The wider group is known as 3SC Devolution which focuses on vital issues for all residents of Sussex including the 270,000 people in Brighton and Hove, however our democratic voice is missing from this important group. This is clearly an odd state of affairs, any work to improve transport and technology gaps in Sussex does not make sense without Brighton and Hove being actively engaged. To be fair this is not the only discussion taking place on matters of devolution in Sussex, a group called the Greater Brighton Economic Area which involves some other Councils is also active. However, Brighton and Hove is the only Council that has chosen not to be part of the larger group, and the other Councils involved in the Greater Brighton group are members of both groups as we should be. This is a mistake, just as it is a tragedy that the themes adopted by 3SC do not extend to matters of social inclusion, particularly in the context of an area that has a large rural population and overlook the need for an environmental focus. In order to achieve this broader set of priorities, the voice of the voluntary and community sector needs to be included. Sadly the 44 organisations are all statutory or business led agencies, not a single voluntary sector agency is part of the mix.


About ianchisnall

I have a passion to see public policy made accessible everyone who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as in policies on health services and strategic planning.
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2 Responses to A party we did not get invited to

  1. Acmeatrics says:

    Ian is right, both in that B&H is not properly in 3SC (why is this?) and that there is no strategic Voluntary sector or democratic involvement in 3SC development, which is a major weakness if the 3SC Devolution stated priority of public service transformation is to be achieved. If the most likely providers and recipients of transformed public services are not involved in developing the strategy, history conclusively shows that the strategy will be weak…

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