2 September 2011
Redbridge Labour Group Leader Bob Littlewood was in Rochdale recently to hear Labour Leader Ed Milliband give his backing to Labour Councils that are handing power to local people in a radical bid to improve services. Labourâ€™s cooperative councils believe almost all services can be improved by shifting more power to local people. This new approach is not about turning all services into co-ops nor is it intended to replace skilled professionals. It is about giving local people choice and control over the services they use.
Cllr Steve Reed, Leader of Lambeth Council, the first cooperative council, said,
We are changing the way we run council services so that local people have a much bigger say over what happens to them and the places they live. It means more community-owned cooperative housing, more older people choosing which care services they want to use, more local control over parks and green spaces. We call it the cooperative council and the community work together to make life better.
Michael Stephenson, General Secretary of the Co-operative Party said,
These Labour Councils have come to the home of the co-operative movement in Rochdale to reclaim founding traditions of the Labour and Co-operative movements- of collective action and co-operation, or empowerment and enterprise. These co-operative councils will help transform local services and local communities.
How Does This Translate Here In Redbrige?
In Redbridge of course we are not in control of the Council, it is run by the Conservatives in partnership with their Lib Dem allies. We have developed a strategy for rethinking service provision. Since May 2010 the Con/Dem leadership of Redbridge has embarked on a savings programme involving very serious reductions in public services. They have concentrated on finding across the board savings and lopping off bits here and there.
- They have failed to work out a vision of what their priorities are for the future, or to examine all of the possible means of providing local services.
- Their savings programme, which is not coupled with any vision or direction means it is impossible to justify any individual service cut or redundancy.
- The Council carries out lots of consultation, but this is not the same as working with residents.
- We thus vigorously oppose the planned cuts and will not accept privatisation.
WE SAY IT IS TIME TO RETHINK SERVICE PROVISION
- It is time to look at new ideas.
- We would examine other councils who have created partnerships with residents to provide services or community facilities.
- We would work out where we can establish partnerships with residents to provide services or community facilities.
- Rather than cut grants to the voluntary sector, we would examine expanding their role.
- We would examine where mutuals or not for profit organisations can take on service provision.
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