The East Anglian Daily Times carried a two page news feature on the New Strategic Direction today. Under the banner Council criticised for not consulting enough it published the results of a survey where it asked 21 town and parish councils and 3 voluntary organizations whether they supported the councils proposals, whether they felt that they had been properly consulted before the decison was made and if they felt that their respective communtities would be able to take on more responsibility. The survey found that whilst the majoirty of town and parish council's said that they would welcome greater responsibilities many also expressed anger at having not been consulted prior to the decision being made. Concerns raised in the report include the issue of finance- for example who will pay for library services if this is devolved to the parish and town councils. The role of volunteers also raised a number of issues including the danger that wealthier areas will be more able to attract volunteers than poorer areas leading to a two tier system. In response to this Jane Storey, deputy leader of the county council (Conservative) is quoted as saying that it had been included in parish reports and newsletters but that formal consultation could not take place before a formal agreement had been reached. The formal consultation process will begin now (Robinson, C., Thewlis, J. & Hoodless, N. (Monday 4th October) East Anglian Daily Times. pages 4-5. http://www.eadt24.co.uk/)
I am still trying to find out what the consultation process for the general public will entail. It will be interesting to learn more about the consultation process going on between Ipswich Burough Council and Suffolk County Council. So, I will follow this up tomorrow.
I have emailed Suffolk Council to ascertain what their policy is on replying to emails. I want to know how long it is considered acceptable to wait for a reply.