Wednesday, 10 February 2010

It's an ill wind... it certainly is!

A very interesting (not necessarily good) article in the Guardian about a conference to discuss the challenge to local government finances, and the opportunity it provides to innovate, transform service delivery, personalise services, yadda yadda yadda. I can only concur with the first comment on the website:
Cynical old me sees a brand of disaster capitalism there. Excited by the recession? Maybe with an eye to your business, but's having an appalling effect on the lives of the public and service users of all hues.
Your favourite and mine, ex-Barnet council leader Mike Freer tries his tired joke about the joys of personalisation on an audience of "senior council officials, civil servants, policemen [sic], charity leaders, new media experts, directors of private sector outsourcing companies and consultants, and other delegates from a variety of fields":
Building on the experience of personal budgets, which had led older residents to choose to pay for trips to the seaside and dance classes, rather than day centre services, he suggested that residents should decide – sometimes street by street – on the level of provision they required.
I can tell you now, Mike, that we all require a good level of service provision, but only some of us are going to be able to afford to pay for it (and those that can might well resent having to do so, when they are already paying council tax).

With the local papers full of stories about what a mess Burnt Oak is, for example, we have to wonder how it is going to get cleaner - we'll have a whipround shall we? If we can't afford to, it isn't, necessarily, because we don't require or value a pleasant environment.

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