A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Four year mandates

Someone in the DCLG press office has either a sense of irony or hasn't watched the news for 2 months.

Their press release today announcing the White Paper on Local Government outlines one of its centrepieces - the requirement for all councils to now elect a Mayor or Leader for a fixed four year term, rather than them face re-election every year at the ruling group's AGM. Good news for stability and leadership I might add. As a councillor from an authority that went through 5 Labour Group leaders in 4 years between 1996 and 2000 and had no council leader at all between 1996 and 2001, but has now had the same Leader/Elected Mayor for 5 years and counting, and went from basketcase to most improved authority in the country, I know there is a direct correlation between political stability and council performance.

However, the phrasing is a classic: "This four year mandate –similar to central Government – will not only mean stronger local Government, but greater stability as well, removing an existing barrier to both good government and the effective delivery of the services people actually want."

Er... I hate to point this out to the DCLG but hasn't the Prime Minister, despite having one of those "central government four year mandates" you are now imposing on councils just been more or less forced to announce he will step down after only 2 and a bit years?

If only the government practiced what it preached about stability of leadership it would be better placed to ensure "good government and the effective delivery of the services people actually want".


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