Let’s make local democracy work

17 January 2015

The Birmingham Green Party has noticed a number of residents’ concerns being dismissed at recent ward committee meetings. Could poor attendance and a lack of accountability be partly to blame? 

We recently discovered that residents’ requests for repairs to be carried out under a lucrative 25 year highway maintenance contract with private firm, Amey, have not been taken seriously. We also understand that a Bournville Conservative councillor - and chair of the local committee responsible for scrutinising Amey - is employed as a consultant by the firm. Can we really expect him to hold them to account?

Amey is approaching the end of an initial five year Core Investment Period, which had required all roads, footways and lighting in Bournville to be brought up to an acceptable standard. The next 20 or so years of the contract will focus on maintenance until the contract ends.

However, the Green Party has discovered that a number of reports of defective lighting and road improvement requests by residents have not been dealt with. Meanwhile communication between local Amey representatives and residents appears to have broken down: residents claim they are no longer being kept informed as work in their neighbourhood progresses.

Bournville campaigner, Ian Jamieson, wants resident support in holding councillors to account at ward committee meetings. Says Ian: “It would send a clear message to the councillor concerned if more people went to ward meetings and demanded answers. The Greens believe in people power and locally accountable decision making: that’s why we stand with local residents on important issues like this one.”

The next Bournville ward committee meeting is at 6.30pm on 27 January. Contact the committee manager beverly.edmead@birmingham.gov.uk for more information.

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