People-powered public services – What even in a socialist rebublic like Sefton!

Miliband plans to reverse century of centralisation

Ed Miliband has said a Labour government would begin to reverse a “century of centralisation”, with legislation to return powers and billions of pounds of funding to councils in England. He said he would chart a course away from the “old top-down command model” towards what he called an era of “people-powered public services”. In an article in the Guardian, Mr Miliband says he also wants to introduce a proper examination of council spending. He explains he wants each local authority to “have its own Margaret Hodge”, a reference to the chair of House of Commons public accounts committee. “The next government will introduce a statutory requirement for local authorities to set up a public accounts committee with powers to scrutinise value for money for all services in their area,” he states.

The Guardian, Page: 6, 25 The Herald, Page: 11

This is a further development on Ed Miliband’s recent vision for local government and frankly it should not be sniffed at on one level. However, let’s look at the reality of how power is actually exercised in a local authority like Sefton which Ed’s Party controls. It’s a very different world to one that Ed lives in or espouses.

Sefton has become a top down command model at a local level under Labour and as for people-powered public services I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Ed says he wants to introduce a proper examination of council spending, yet in Sefton Labour jealously guards the position of chair of the Council’s Audit and Governance Committee for a Labour councillor instead of following best practice and handing this local ‘Margaret Hodge’ position to an opposition member.

My point here is that Labour in Westminster is a very different beast to Labour as it actually runs local authorities. Could Ed realise this and is he really attacking his own troops who are running Councils across the Country in a way he disapproves of?