Or to put it another way – what do you think of local democracy?
Birmingham City Council wants to know what people think of local democracy, how it is, and how it should be.Â It wants to know what people think about services in their neighbourhoods too.Â Today it started a conversation with the people of Birmingham about these issues, as part of its Community Governance Review agreed by the City Council in September.Â Everyone â€“ communities, individuals, organisations and councillors – is invited to comment on how Birmingham is governed over the next ten years.
Leader of Birmingham City Council, Sir Albert Bore, said: â€œThis is not a paper exercise.Â We are committed to creating a fair, prosperous and democratic city and as part of that we believe that every citizen of Birmingham should have a voice.Â Our public services exist to create opportunities and independence for all and how they are governed matters.Â I would urge everyone to get involved in this consultation – Â let us know your ideas, thoughts and concerns about the future governance of this city.â€
The Community Governance Review will cover a wide range of issues to do with local democracy and service delivery.Â Three consultation papers are published today (25 February):
- Introduction and Background explains how the current arrangements were established over ten years ago and why itâ€™s time to review them.Â It explains and reaffirms the councilâ€™s commitment to localisation and devolution, taking decision making out to the communities and neighbourhoods.
- The Future of Community Governance looks at the councilâ€™s decision making structures and how residents can get involved, including neighbourhood councils and forums.Â It also picks up some of the recommendations of the Kerslake Review, published in December.
- Sutton Coldfield Town Council â€“ initial analysis sets out factual information about the proposals for a Town Council put forward by residents of Sutton Coldfield.Â Following this consultation with people across the city, the council will publish a final response to that proposal in the summer and give the people of Sutton Coldfield the final say.
During the summer there will be two more consultation papers on local services and on how the council can work more closely with civil society â€“ in addition to the final Sutton Coldfield report.Â Further detailed consultation will take place on many of the long term changes set out over the year ahead.Â This is a long term conversation not a short term consultation.
For a copy of the consultation visit your local library or birmingham.gov.uk/community-governance-review
All residents, businesses and other partners and stakeholders can complete the Be Heard Questionnaire atÂ birminghambeheard.org.uk/place/community-governance-review or submit a written contribution to CommunityGovernanceViews@birmingham.gov.uk The deadline for both of these at this stage of the process is 30 March 2015. Â The council is also inviting organisations such as universities, business groups, the media and community groups to hold their own public debates about these issues and to feed back on the issues raised.
Consultation questions include:
Do you think a new structure will lead to improved services?
Do you think the idea of a Community Board would strengthen city wide partnership arrangements?
How many councillors do you think the city council should have?
Do you think ward committees improve local democracy and services?
Are Neighbourhood Forums useful?
Would you like a parish or neighbourhood council?
For further media information contact Debbie Harrison on 303 4476