all that previous work looks like being academic..

As previously noted back on 29th May, the First and Deputy First Ministers revealed – via a letter to the Speaker dated 24th May[pdf file] – that the NI Executive had “agreed there would be a review of Local Government aspects of the Review of Public Administration led by the Minister of the Environment.” I’m not sure whether the BBC read that letter or not, but they’re reporting that tomorrow, “the executive will discuss setting up a committee to be chaired by Environment Minister Arlene Foster” – to review the Local Government aspects of the Review of Public Administration.. and that “The committee will include ministers from all four executive parties.” [And those not in the Executive? – Ed] ANYhoo.. the report also points to an expected 2 year delay if when the plans are changed. And a reminder of what the Environment Minister Arlene Foster also said

The Minister said: ‘‘You will all be familiar with what has been happening on local government modernisation and reform and the increasingly positive partnership that has been developed between local government as a sector and my Department over the past year.

“The Local Government Taskforce has produced some very good work, particularly in relation to the modernisation of local government. But 4 of the 5 political parties represented on the Taskforce participated on the basis that they remained fundamentally opposed to the seven council model which had been agreed by the previous administration, and made it clear to the previous administration that their participation was without prejudice to that firmly held position.’’

The Minister said it would be preferable if the parties reached consensus on whatever number of councils was needed to achieve strong, effective and efficient local government and that she would be working with the Executive to consider how to proceed in relation to the decisions of the previous administration.

She concluded: “ I want to affirm my commitment today to work in partnership with the sector in preparing for and delivering change. I will work closely with colleagues on the Executive Committee as local government matters cut right across government and it is important that they are considered collectively.”

And, as I pointed out, all that previous work looks like being academic..

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  • Glen Taisie

    Moyle into 7 doesn’t go!!!!

    Re instate Francie Molloy !!!!!

    .

  • Chris Donnelly

    GT

    Regardless of the model likely to be agreed between DUP and Sinn Fein (because, to put it frankly, the other two ‘Executive parties’ have no veto over the matter and therefore won’t count in the final analysis)Moyle will likely have to be absorbed into a larger, majority unionist council.

    But getting back to the issue, the DUP are likely to find Sinn Fein can play hardball over this one in the same manner that the DUP can/ will over academic selection and other issues within Education.

    Those writing off 7 councils need to be wary as, from a nationalist perspective, the 11 and/ or 15 council models were as unattractive as the 7 council model was to unionists.

    Looks like a 2 year delay at minimum to me….

  • slug

    So if that means we just retain the 26 relatively powerless councils and keep the big powers at Stormont then that might at least mean we avoid expensive reorganization. Although 26 councils is a bit much the present councils at least are identified with. Stormont is a kind of super council itself.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Slug
    You may actually be onto something there- that’s the way it might end up.

  • Dalek

    Chris

    Might end up?

    No shit sherlock !!!

    Methinks a crystal ball aint necessary !!!!!

  • Those writing off 7 councils need to be wary as, from a nationalist perspective, the 11 and/ or 15 council models were as unattractive as the 7 council model was to unionists.

    I think you mean to Sinn Féin here, Chris. The SDLP are as opposed to the 7 council model as all the other parties, SF excepted.

    In fact, why are your lot so wedded to the 7 council model? The sole purpose of that was to give three nationalist controlled councils, plus a no overall control Belfast, in the event that the Assembly wasn’t restarted. But the Assembly is now functioning, and Sinn Féin are, or are preparing to, take full part of all the other GFA institutions such as the policing board. So why would SF waste political capital on a 7 council model which is unwieldy, looks gerrymandered, and has no relationship to real communities.

    After all, local government is supposed to be about delivering services to real communities.

    Looks like a 2 year delay at minimum to me….

    Two years would mean local elections taking place at the same time as Assembly elections; that means that, looking at the Scottish experience, local campaigns will be subsumed within a ‘national’ campaign. That doesn’t look like a recipe for good local government to me, although it would doubtless benefit the established parties, including the one I’m a member of.

  • BOM

    If there is a two year delay and the lg elections tie in with the next Assembly elections then this may well work out well for those who are not sure whether to run for the Super Council or the Assembly since by that time you will not be able to do both.

    I cannot understand the reasoning behind SF’s support for the 7 Council model and have yet to see any of their reps or supporters give a good enough reason for it.

    Can anyone here enlighten me?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Chris,

    [retaining 26 councils]

    You may actually be onto something there- that’s the way it might end up.

    I’m looking forward how you intend to explain to the electorate that, when water charges eventually return next year alongside increases in the rates, Sinn Fein will be spending it on important things like maintaining the existence of inefficient and unnecessary local councils.

    Those writing off 7 councils need to be wary as, from a nationalist perspective, the 11 and/ or 15 council models were as unattractive as the 7 council model was to unionists.

    Only Sinn Fein are in favour of the 7 county model. They have 26.2% of the vote. Why should they have a veto over the other 73.8% of us ? Surely powersharing is about seeking compromises, and that’s precisely not what you’re doing.

    BOM:

    I cannot understand the reasoning behind SF’s support for the 7 Council model and have yet to see any of their reps or supporters give a good enough reason for it.

    It’s because they have more or less guaranteed control over three large councils to the West, which they intend to use as part of some wanky chuckie idea to effect a kind of faux repartition by upping the level of cross-border co-operation in those areas.

  • kensei

    “So why would SF waste political capital on a 7 council model which is unwieldy, looks gerrymandered, and has no relationship to real communities.”

    Honestly? Because we are over governed as it is, the Assembly is practically a glorified council anyway, we could save some money and no one cares about local government. They just care their rates come down.

    I honesty don’t care if SF is only doing this because it’ll give them control in places. There are sound reasons for doing this and I hope they stick to their guns. Fuck it, just have one big one.

  • Chris Donnelly

    CS and Sammy

    Sinn Fein represent by far the greater number of nationalists. The SDLP hostility to the 7 council model is but another indicator of the party’s desparate attempts to hold onto diminishing power bases in Down and Derry, which would otherwise be subsumed into larger councils.

    The 7 council model represents the most efficient model of local governance, as the review indicated. Those advocating 11 or 15 councils are doing so on the premise that turkeys don’t vote for Christmas- I’ve yet to hear anyone beyond the active membership of political parties give a damn about the reduction in local councillors and councils.

    The 7 council model will also provide both communitities with effective representation on all councils across the six counties, with built in mechanisms to ensure the abuses occuring on Councils like Lisburn become a thing of the past- neither the 11 or 15 council model achieve this, a critical factor for Sinn Fein.

    As for the argument that it removes local identities, that’s simply a nonsense. 7 Councils would still represent a significant number for the small population of the six counties, particularly if they do end up with 60-odd members on each council.

    Whether our Stalinist friend likes it or not, Sinn Fein hold a veto over this one. And, perhaps more interestingly, they have a number of ace cards to play.

    If the Minister is advocating scrapping all the work done to date, then surely republicans will find a friend in the financially prudent Mr. Robinson, particularly as the business community and other sectors have made clear their support for the 7 model.

    One thing is for sure. Republicans are unlikely to touch the 11 model with a barge pole, so I’ll be interested to see what the Minister will be bringing to the table.

  • Yokel

    I suspect in the big scheme of things there is one overriding DUP issue. Belfast.

    Its logical that Castlereagh gets brought into it because it is bloody Belfast. For anyone who wants to contest that it isnt Belfast really, forget it I’m not listening. Its as bad as saying Poleglass is Lisburn.

    Everyone knows the 7 councils was a stitch up idea designed to create 3 unionist. 3 nationalist and a balanced Belfast which SF hoped would turn their way in time. Then they could clain that nationalists majorities in most council areas etc etc. All academic in reality but good for the PR especially to the thick yanks.

    Thats why we got the hilarious donut council idea.

    That plot will soon enough bite the dust. 7 is fine but make it logical and not political.

  • kensei

    “One thing is for sure. Republicans are unlikely to touch the 11 model with a barge pole, so I’ll be interested to see what the Minister will be bringing to the table.”

    Do you not think they’ll deal Chris, but extract a price for it? Seems the most likely option to me.

    And if this is the case, could they just state they will veto it publicly and save the expense charade that is going to follow.

    Yokel

    “Thats why we got the hilarious donut council idea.”

    Makes sense to me. It’s all Belfast commuter belt. Moreover, no one cares as long as the rates bill drops.