West Midlands NO!

Regional government: unelected, undemocratic, unaccountable and unwanted

Archive for November, 2006

Blair supporting regional government

Posted by wonkotsane on November 29, 2006

Tony Blair has told the Yorkshire Post that if the people of England were asked if they wanted an English Parliament then they would vote for one.  He denied that they would vote for the breakup of the union despite a Sunday Telegraph poll showing that 48% of English people support independence.

This is the first time that he has publically admitted that English people want their own government so he’s going to let us have one right?  Wrong.  He’s putting all his support into the regionalisation project – in particular, city regions – which will break England up into artificial regions.

How can he get away with it?  He was (dubiously) elected to represent the interest and wishes of the electorate, not his own English-hating eurofederalist personal agenda.

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Posted in Politicians | Leave a Comment »

In place of Democracy

Posted by Ken on November 29, 2006

Shropshire County council officers have set up an online blog which allows Shropshire people to give their views on moves to create a new all-purpose council to run the county.The online diary has been launched on the county council’s website and so far has been visited more than 1,600 times, with 35 comments submitted.

The county council, together with the Oswestry Borough Council and South Shropshire District Council, have put forward a “One Council for Shropshire” proposal.

They claim services will be streamlined and money saved by having just one authority instead of the current two-tier set-up of the county and five district and borough councils.

Each week on the blog a new aspect of the proposal will be presented, and comments will be invited.

Councillor Mike Owen, county council cabinet member for well-being, said: “Over the last few months we have consulted with local people, service users, businesses and partners, and our case for One Council for Shropshire reflects their views and needs.

“But we want to continue to communicate openly and honestly with residents and listen to their comments.

“This blog is a new and exciting way of doing that, and we are pleased to see that people are already getting involved in the debate.”

The blog can be found at www.shropshire.gov.uk/blog/onecouncil.nsf

http://www.shropshirestar.co.uk/2006/11/bloggers-asked-for-opinions/

 
So far it seems most of the commenters are employed by the various councils, perhaps this will change as the general public become aware of the blog. It would seem that all of the councils have accepted the business plan for a unitary council except Bridgnorth District Council which has rejected the plan.

Hats off to Shrewsbury and Atcham council leader Peter Nutting who has said the decision to scrap Shropshire’s district councils should be made by the people following a public poll – not simply by council officials He said “all the councils should work together and ask the people of Shropshire the same question on the same day in a county-wide poll: should the authorities be united as one “super council” Also that the question should be put to the people by an independent body and not by council officials.

According to Carolyn Downs, Chief Executive, Shropshire County Council  the Secretary of State has made it very clear that one of her tests for any unitary case is to ask “does it have a broad, cross-section of support. Unfortunately this broad cross-section of support does not seem to include the council taxpayer this also from the Blog “When Ministers visited Shropshire in February this year to discuss local government structures, they met with service users and residents, business representatives, Councillors (County, District and Borough, Town and Parish levels), Chief Executives and our major partners (police, health, Learning and Skills Council, voluntary sector etc). They heard a strong response that unitary local government was change worth consideration.” “As a result, David Miliband, MP, wrote to all participants saying that we should not wait for the publication of the White Paper to take our work forward.

We therefore immediately considered how to ascertain and involve the views of local people in taking this work forward. Our legal advice is that neither we, nor any other local government partner in Shropshire, have the powers to undertake a referendum.”

The main argument against a referendum seems to fall into the same category as all other objections referenda, which boils down to the people are to stupid to understand the arguments.

“Consulting residents on such issues is immensely challenging. Residents generally know very little about the complexities of local government structure, nor do they normally see it as important as the quality of services.”

One thing which stands out is that the government have made it clear that the status quo is not an option. Which means that despite the rejection of the Regional assembly in the North East, despite the fact that the Government is to scared to ask the rest of us, despite all the polls which tell them we don’t want to divide England into EU recognised regions,  they are continuing with the process of Regionalisation.  

 

Posted in Quango’s, Shropshire | Leave a Comment »

Anti-Regions Petition

Posted by wonkotsane on November 25, 2006

There is a petition on the Prime Minister’s website asking the Prime Minister to abolish the unelected regional assemblies in the UK:

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to abolish the Regional Assemblies in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

We disagree with the imposition of an un-elected level on the citizens of the UK. The Regional Assemblies were brought about by the 1957 Treaty of Rome and do not have the support of the majority of British citizens. We disagree that council tax money is used to finance these un-elected bodies – there must be no taxation if there is no representation. These bodies are an attempt to destroy the UK and for the UK to be subsumed into a socialist federal state of Europe.

Posted in Quango’s | 2 Comments »

Shropshire Star: Dragged into the pointless city region

Posted by wonkotsane on November 23, 2006

Dragged into the pointless city region

Telford & Wrekin Council are forging ahead with plans to be part of a city region despite public opposition.

How much support is there for the city region? There has only ever been one referendum on regional government in England and that resulted in the people of the North East – apparently the most pro-regional part of England – rejecting it with a 78 per cent no vote.

Telford & Wrekin Council refuses to hold any public consultation until Telford is well and truly tied into the city region.

David Wright knows how much support there is – over a year ago he wrote to me admitting that there is very little support for regional government in Telford. This didn’t stop him working with David Milliband on the city region project, though.

When West Midllands NO! was launched last month we wrote to all MPs in the West Midlands. To his credit, the Labour MPs, only David Wright chose to reply.

A number of Conservative MPs responded saying that they too opposed regional government but they all said that they would have to wait until the Conservatives were in power to do something about it. Whatever happened to HM Opposition?

When we launched our campaign we challenged Telford & Wrekin Council to justify its actions. It is yet to do so and we ask members again to stop taking decisions behind closed doors, stop ignoring what the people of Telford are telling you and tell us why you are taking us into a city region that won’t benefit us and that we don’t want.

Stuart Parr
West Midlands No!

Posted in Press | Leave a Comment »

Has Brown ordered a stop to the City Region?

Posted by wonkotsane on November 23, 2006

Prominent political blogger, Nigel Hastilow, appears to have information that Gordon Brown has ordered that efforts to establish the City Region be stopped.

The Chancellor is apparently keen to make sure there are no “unsellable” policies when he is installed as Tony Blair’s replacement.

Hastilow echoes the comments and opinions of most prominent business leaders in the euroregion over the naming of the Birmingham, Black Country and Coventry City Region.  The choice of name was immediately condemned by business leaders – and the West Midlands NO! Campaign – as wholly inappropriate.

Posted in Politicians | Leave a Comment »

Regional Assembly Influence?

Posted by Ken on November 19, 2006

Some figures on those savings we council tax payers are not going to get from the Shropshire Unitary Council emerged after the vote at a special meeting of the Shropshire county council at the Shirehall, unanimously backed the business case for the setting up of a unitary authority. Nice that they asked us first isn’t it.

From the Shropshire Star Councillor Pate claimed a single authority would deliver a low, sustainable council tax level of between 0 per cent and a maximum of 3.5 per cent over the whole of the county – excluding Telford & Wrekin – for the first three years.

“And even in the fourth year, our planning assumption is for no more than four per cent,” he said. “This is the equivalent of giving back to the council taxpayers of Shropshire some £4.6 million each year. The total saving over the first four years will be £34 million at least.”

Councillor Pate said unitary status would allow the county to sit alongside the metropolitan authorities and “not under the table fighting for the crumbs”.

But whilst Councillor Pate is spinning the good news which oddly is not going to be that good, because all these do called savings will not in fact be passed on to the Tax payer,  Labour’s Alan Mosley goes onto the attack against what he described as the “scaremongering and negativity” of some people regarding a new authority.

Where have we seen and heard all this sort of thing before, yes in national politics in relation to our membership of the EU, and would you belive it both Malcolm Pate, and Alan Mosley are Members of  the West Midlands Regional Assembly, Funny that!  

Posted in EU/Europe, Shropshire | Leave a Comment »

All about Saving Money

Posted by Ken on November 19, 2006

One of the major reasons stated for the creation of a Unitary Council is that by combining the services they will become more efficient and cost effective, so we can all look forward to reduction in our council taxes can’t we, well no! For some reason these saving are not actually going to mean lower taxes, strange that!

The Shropshire Star reports that the Chief Executive of Bridnorth District Council John Harmetson, is warning Bridnorth residents that they will face yearly increases to catch up with the rest of the country. Apparently Bridnorth at present has the lowest council tax rate in the county but if a unitary authority is formed council tax rates would be made equal across the county within three years. According the Mr Harmeston council tax payers in Oswestry and South Shropshire will have their taxes frozen whilst Bridgnorth residents pay extra. So where are all these savings?

As the reason for the government attempting to create these unitary councils is more to with fitting in with the EU Regionalisation Process it is not surprising that the outcome will not in fact save money or be more efficient, certainly not in the case in Bridgnorth.

As usual we get to same old government /EU spin: Harmetson said: “The White Paper heralds a new era for local government. As always, the devil will be in the detail as it emerges in legislation.

“Much debate will be had about the various proposals but the recurring theme of public services working together to improve services is one issue that should be supported.”

Something “New” got to be exiting! “working together” anyone who objects is obviously going to be a little Ludlovian or Oswestphobe!

Posted in EU/Europe, Quango’s, Shropshire | Leave a Comment »

AWM appoint new deputy chairman

Posted by wonkotsane on November 18, 2006

The unelected chairman of Advantage West Midlands (AWM), Nick Paul, has appointed Richard Hyde as the unelected deputy chairman of AWM.

AWM is the unelected, taxpayer-funded regional development agency for the West Midlands euroregion.

Richard Hyde is also the unelected chairman of the taxpayer-funded West Midlands Regional Observatory and unelected deputy leader of the Conservative group in the Local Government Association.

The Conservatives are opposed to regional government, I wonder what the party thinks of his appointment?

Posted in Quango’s | Leave a Comment »

Posted by wonkotsane on November 17, 2006

The Campaign for an English Parliament brings us this story:

Kevan Jones MP (North Durham):

I supported regional government and a yes vote in the referendum, but the people of the north-east had their say and there is no role, either now or in future, for the unelected regional assembly. It should be done away with, and if the local government Bill can be used to do that, we should do it and replace the assembly with bodies that are accountable, such as the Association of North East Councils and the chamber of commerce. That would be more cost-effective and more representative than what we have now. We are spending almost £2 million a year on a talking shop that has little support outside those people who have the vested interest of sitting on the assembly.

Posted in Other Regions | Leave a Comment »

FOI: City Region

Posted by wonkotsane on November 16, 2006

Telford & Wrekin Council have responded to the following Freedom of Information Act request:

I would like to know the following in relation to the city region:

  1. How long has the borough been participating in the executive board of the city region?
  2. How much money has been spent on the city region?
  3. How many objections have been received to the city region and what were their nature?
  4. What promises or commitments have been made to the city region?
  5. What powers are expected to be delegated to the city region?
  6. What power will the council have to veto decisions made by the city region?

The response from Telford & Wrekin Council is below.  My comments are in red. 

I would respond to your six questions (received by the Council on 14th October), as follows:

  1. The City Region Board exists in shadow form only. It comprises the local authorities of Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Telford, Walsall, Wolverhampton, the WM Regional Assembly, Advantage WM, the regional Learning & Skills Council and the business community. This will also be the composition of the Board when it moves out of its shadow form in April of next year.The role of the shadow Board is to create a draft Vision and an associated framework within which the Board proper will operate. Both the Vision and the associated framework will be subject to consultation before they are formally adopted.The Borough of Telford & Wrekin has participated in the Shadow Board since it was agreed that it should become a member of the partnership, in March 2006.
  2. To date, the Borough has made no monetary contribution to the City Region.  (The question was how much has been spent on the city region, not how much has been contributed –  what are the indirect costs?)
  3. I have written to BTW’s interim Chief Executive, the Leader of the Council, all Directors, Cabinet Members, Heads of Service and Business managers to ask them how many objections they have received to the city region.The answer is that (in addition to those received from you and recorded on the Telford Council Watch website which you are involved with), we have received three written objections and around three verbal ones (the latter is an estimate because one Cabinet Member told me that they had received one verbal enquiry. The other two ‘verbal objections’ arose from a debate between Shropshire Town and Parish Councillors attended by two Telford officers. I could record this ‘verbal objection’ as one or as four or so).The majority of comments received were based upon a simple misunderstanding of what the City Region is all about.

    Four of the six objectors expressed a concern that the City Region might dilute the Borough’s historic relationship with its Shropshire hinterland; one that it would lead to us creating a “Black Country within Shropshire”. None of these worries have any basis in reality. This was explained to the citizens we heard from, either in person or in writing.

    One person who wrote to us expressed the opinion that you have expressed, that the Council somehow requires a fresh democratic mandate before agreeing to become a member of the City Region. I have written to this citizen, explaining that this is not our view. However, the people of the Borough will have a chance to vote in the normal way in May, 2007.

    (Could this be as a result of the deliberate lack of publicity about the city region, what it will do and how much it will cost?)

  4. The draft City Region strategic framework has not yet been agreed. Nor has the precise nature of how we hope to work together. Any proposed specific commitments by the constituent Authorities to working through a City Region partnership will be clarified when these decisions have been taken.When a draft framework has been agreed, we will request comments from residents and businesses. The Shadow Board will consider these views before arriving at a final decision about the ‘rules’ that will govern the partnership.
  5. The City Region is envisaged to be a voluntary partnership. As such, it is not currently envisaged that powers will be delegated to it.(Powers are already delegated to the regional assembly and other regional quango’s and some of these powers are proposed to be transferred to the city region)
  6. The detailed ‘rules’ for decision-taking within the City Region Board have not yet been established. However, like all voluntary partnerships, it is anticipated that the vast majority of decisions will be arrived at through consensus. It is likely that a final agreement will include reference to the distribution of votes between partners on the Board. However, no draft decision has yet been taken about this, or about the power of veto.

I hope this is helpful.

Gerry Dawson
Head of Regeneration & Economic Development
Environment & Regeneration
Borough of Telford & Wrekin

Posted in FOI, Telford | Leave a Comment »

Regional Government not working

Posted by wonkotsane on November 16, 2006

A report called the Competitive Index has the West Midlands euroregion dropping to seventh out of the 12 euroregions in the UK.

Clearly the vast, unelected, taxpayer-funded regional bureaucracy isn’t working.  The economy of the West Midlands euroregion is obviously not in good hands.

Bizarrely, the author of the report believes the answer to this ineffective regional government is … more regional government!

You couldn’t make it up.

Posted in General | Leave a Comment »

EU Constitutional Convention

Posted by wonkotsane on November 11, 2006

RegionalAssemblies.co.uk shows us the price we pay for having unelected, ineffective regional government.

The EU is hosting a constitutional convention to decide the future of a European state.  Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have been invited but there will be no English representation because England’s euroregions don’t have law-making powers.

The answer is simple.  Abolish regional government in England and tell the EU that if they must divide the UK into regions then there are 4 of them – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  If they don’t like it then it’s tough, they need us more than we need them.

Via Toque

Posted in EU/Europe | Leave a Comment »

Have your say on how cash is spent

Posted by wonkotsane on November 9, 2006

Advantage West Midlands (AWM), the unelected regional development agency, wants to know how the public want to spend £10 billion they have to boost the regional economy.

How in gods name does an unelected  quango get to spend £10 billion of taxpayers money? 

Here’s a suggestion on how the money should be spent – by elected councillors sitting on local councils, not by unelected, unaccountable “business leaders” and their hand picked cronies whose only qualifications for the job are the same regional “vision” that will see local authorities turned into ceremonial talking shops with all the major decisions made by unelected bureaucrats and our elected representives left with no more decision making powers than to choose which variety of biscuits to have at the next council meeting.

Posted in Quango’s | 1 Comment »

Councillor says people can’t be trusted to vote for mayor

Posted by wonkotsane on November 9, 2006

Sandwell Labour councillor, Bob Piper, explains why cities and regions shouldn’t have elected mayors:

My concern is much more that in some areas we will end up with media favourites or ‘celebrity’ candidates being elected, and we end up transferring all executive functions to a bloke in a monkey suit or a radio dj.

But that’s democracy Bob.  The people elect who they want to represent them, whether it’s a bloke in a money suit or another bloke in a monkey suit John Prescott.  Whether you or anyone else in local, regional or national government thinks the candidate is acceptable is irrelevant.

Posted in Sandwell | 4 Comments »

Fire Brigade say no to regional control centre

Posted by wonkotsane on November 8, 2006

Shropshire’s fire brigade has said no to the regional control centre the British government is trying to impose in the West Midlands.

The fire brigade refutes the British government’s claim that smaller control centres can’t cope with a major incident pointing out that they have dealt with a number of major incidents, sometimes more than one at a time, and have coped perfectly well.

They point out – quite rightly – that local knowledge is very important.  There are a number of towns and villages in Shropshire that share names – there are 7 villages in the county called Brockton for instance.  When you call 999 and ask for the fire service you are put through to a local control centre who are familiar with the area and can identify these places from experience.  Looking at the bigger picture, there are 7 fire brigades in the West Midlands and place names are duplicated across all 7 areas making it virtually impossible for someone in a regional control centre in Birmingham to gain that “local” knowledge for the whole region.

The motivation for this is nothing more than regionalisation for regionalistation’s sake and it should be strenuously resisted.

Posted in Shropshire | 1 Comment »

Blists Hill gets £10m regional grant: correction

Posted by wonkotsane on November 8, 2006

Yesterday we reported that the EU Regional Development Fund had contributed £6.5m toward the £10m grant given to Blists Hill.

It appears that the figures were incorrect in the press and it was, in fact, £3.5m which represents roughly half a percent of the cost to the West Midlands of being in the EU.

Posted in EU/Europe | Leave a Comment »

Blists Hill gets £10m regional grant

Posted by wonkotsane on November 6, 2006

Blists Hill museum, part of the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site, has been given a £10m grant by Advantage West Midlands and the European Regional Development Fund to secure its future as a viable attraction.

This is good news for Blists Hill and I am personally very glad that the museum will continue to do the excellent work that it does and provide fantastic days out for families, my own included.

However, it is important to put this grant into perspective and to remember that the organisations controlling such vast sums of money are unelected and unaccountable to the public.  There are upwards of 5.3m people living in the West Midlands euroregion and the cost of EU membership is estimated at £873 for every man woman and child in the UK every year.  This means that the West Midlands alone has contributed in the region of £4.6bn to the EU which makes the £6.5m that the EU contributed via the West Midlands Government Office look positively puny in comparison (0.1% of our contribution to be exact).  The other £3.5m was donated by Advantage West Midlands.

So yes, it is fantastic that Blists Hill has been recognised as such a valuable site and been given a large grant but it isn’t new money, it is our taxes being handed over to unelected, unaccountable quango’s for distribution to whoever they decide is worthy.  The public aren’t involved in the decision making process, they are simply required to fund it.

Posted in EU/Europe, Press, Propaganda, Shropshire, Telford | Leave a Comment »

David Wright MP wants us to have say on local government

Posted by wonkotsane on November 6, 2006

Telford MP, David Wright, is urging his constituents to have their say on local government.

He can be contacted at info@davidwrightmp.org.uk

Might I suggest something like:

Dear David,

I saw your piece in the Shropshire Star inviting people to get in touch and have their say on local government. About time someone asked!

Giving more power to local authorities is a good idea. Great idea in fact. But it mustn’t be touted as the answer to the Scottish Parliament and Welsh and Northern Irish Assemblies. Devolving power to local authorities isn’t the same as having a national government and there is no way a local authority could ever hope to compete with the power and influence the devolved governments in the rest of the UK have.

Also, regional government has to be swept away. Completely. Devolving power to local authorities and then leaving a vast, unelected, unaccountable regional bureaucracy poking its nose into local affairs completely defeats the object. There’s no point devolving transport, environment, etc. to local authorities and then having a city region, regional assembly, regional government office, etc. having their own policies on the same subject which may or may not be of benefit or fit in with the local policies.

Regards,

Stuart

Posted in Press, Telford | 1 Comment »

Reid still believes in city regions

Posted by bigfred on November 5, 2006

The Birmingham Post says:

“Midlands businessman Ben Reid yesterday insisted he still believed in the city region – and he denied his departure as business community member of the Birmingham, Black Country and Coventry City Region executive board was connected to the Government’s apparent loss of enthusiasm.

The Local Government White Paper last week favoured elected mayors but appeared to have abandoned radical plans for city regions. Mr Reid, chief executive of Midcounties Co-operative, the society formed a year ago when Oxford, Swindon & Gloucester Co-operative merged with West Midlands Co-operative, said the White Paper had been “disappointing” and “an opportunity missed”.”

I find it rather discomforting to see people of high position in companies turning over hundreds of millions of pounds have sufficient time to take further demanding duties in public life. Either they are extremely energetic and make us mere mortals appear like sloths on sleeping tablets and whisky, they are a simple expedient non-contributory figure head in their Companies and get easily bored or there is something it for them.

When these giants of trade take to vigourously promoting bigger and more controllable public bodies with bigger budgets and less accountability my inkling can be pursuades to veer toward the latter.

Now that Mr. Reid has left the Quango and it has been said that his ambition followed the rumoured demise of City Regionalisation. “If there ain’t going to be that big megalith then I don’t want to know.” “Disappointing & an opportunity missed,” He said. For who say I?

It could not have been the welfare and benefit of the people of the Midlands that he was interested in or he would have stayed on and ensured that they got the best he could help arrange.

Could it be a case of “If I don’t get what I want I am buggering off?”

It appears that every one with any enthusiasm for this whole regionalisation scheme has something to gain.

The politician sees it as an opportunity to tune boundaries in line with voting trends and a structure that he can use to fine tune infinate control over every aspect of of every individual’s life.

The public official sees the opportunity of bigger departments, bigger staff, bigger salaries and bigger pensions.

The business community see it as a less accountable, bigger organisation with bigger budgets and bigger requirements all organised into nice recognisable departments under the control of a few ambitious jobsworths. Conveniently negotiable.

The Party hacks and vested interests at Westminster, who certainly do not have the interests of England at heart, and their mates the europhiles see it as an opportunity to complete a process that they have jointly been working toward for decades. That ambition is to complete the fragmentation of England and finish her once and for all.

Left wing pressure groups see it as a big organisation that can more easily be infiltrated and educated to pursue the dreams of those who would apply the destructive dreams of the Liberal left.

The common man sees it a little differently:

He sees ever increasing rates and tax bills.

He sees a commitment not of his making to pay the inflated pensions of bureauracrats for decades to come.

He sees more bureaucracy, more regulation, lowering public service standards, the break up and obliteration of his country, culture, history and way of life.

He sees a heart and soulless organisation that will abandon local needs in favour of the current policy of harmonisation, integration and a conveyer belt to channel benefits to all and sundry regardless of need or common justice.

He sees channel of control for an ever more controlling political elite at Westminster.

And possibly considers it a vehicle of such awesome destruction that he will join the ever-increasing columns of native English that are seeking refuge in better parts of the World because they have lost all say in their own Country.

Mr. Reid’s departure may be one small ray of light that will yet illuminate the road back to common sense.

Posted in Birmingham, Press | Leave a Comment »

BBC regional government spin

Posted by wonkotsane on November 4, 2006

The BBC have carried out a poll in the North East euroregion on devolution and concluded that there is support for regional government because 69% want local control on issues such as transport.  The people questioned said they didn’t like unelected regional assemblies and only 20% of people think they do a worthwhile job.

The results of the survey do not indicate support for regional government.  The results say that the people of the North East want more control of local affairs.  The BBC doesn’t suggest that perhaps the desire to have more local control over transport is down to the fact that an MP elected in Scotland has control of England’s transport, something the people in the North East are particularly aware of and increasingly vocal about.

The answer to unaccountable central government is not regionalisation.  Regional government is not accountable, nor is it popular.  The British government is highly centralised as far as England is concerned but what people do not want is centralised regional government.  The euroregions, city regions and the new transnational regions aren’t local, they’re regional.  The West Midlands euroregion is a perfect example of how a single regional policy can’t be suitable for the whole region – it contains one of the largest urban sprawls in England at one extreme and the most rural county in England at the other.

It is clear that there is no real support for regional government in the North East or elsewhere in England which only leaves the question of why the BBC would choose to spin this story so outrageously to suggest that there is.  Could it be anything to do with the funding that the European Federation – the architects and chief supporters of the regions – give to the BBC to fund varied programming including news an education?

Posted in EU/Europe, Other Regions, Propaganda | 2 Comments »

Who, what and how much … part 2

Posted by wonkotsane on November 3, 2006

On Tuesday we asked “who, what and how much?” in relation to West Midlands Centre of Excellence (WMCOE).

We emailed WMCOE to ask that question (and some others) and got a reply pointing us to their website …

Hi,

I’ve just read this: http://www.egovmonitor.com/node/8248

All I can gather from the press release is that £800k of taxpayers money has been handed over to some people I’ve never heard of for something I’ve never heard of by some people (your organisation) I’ve never heard of.

Who are you, what do you do, what is this money for and where did it come from? How much does your organisation cost the taxpayer and how much money do you channel through your organisation?


Thank you so much for showing interest in our organisation. I have forwarded to you the link from our website where I believe answers to all of your questions can be found. If I may draw your attention to the menu heading, ‘About Us’, I think you will find the answers to most of your questions here.If you find that there are still questions you would like us to answer then please don’t hesitate to contact us.

regards
Jane Daly

http://www.wmcoe.gov.uk

Jane Daly
West Midlands Centre of Excellence
Regional Partnership Centre
Albert House
Quay Place
Edward Street
Birmingham
B1 2RA
Tel: 0121 245 0225
http://www.wmcoe.gov.uk

I’ve looked at the website and it’s all very interesting.  They are apparently hosted by Worcester Council although their address, as you can see, is in Birmingham.  As best I can determine, they have a budget of £5.2m over 5 years provided by the taxpayer.  Their purpose is to save money for local authorities by improving efficiency.

WMCOE claim to be accountable because they are made up of representatives of local authorities.  Nobody is elected to WMCOE, they are appointed.  The boards of the rest of the unelected, unaccountable regional quango’s are made up exactly the same and they don’t even bother claiming to be accountable.

So, are my questions answered?  Kind of.  Budgets alone don’t tell you how much these quango’s cost.  It costs money for local authorities to send people to work on them.  It costs money to consult with them and to implement their policies.

Posted in Quango’s | 1 Comment »

Telford First opposing regions

Posted by wonkotsane on November 2, 2006

Supporters of the West Midlands NO! Campaign, Telford First Limited, have appeared in the Shropshire Star again criticising the city region.

When only 29% of businesses think the city region will benefit their business, it’s good to see them actually speak out against it.

You can view a scan of the newspaper article here.

Posted in Press | Leave a Comment »

Electoral Commission goes regional

Posted by wonkotsane on November 1, 2006

The Electoral Commission, the supposedly independent organisation charged with protecting democracy and fair and unbiased elections, has gone regional.

They are advertising various taxpayer-funded posts under the banner “Reaching out the English Regions“.

Bit by bit, the governance of England is being regionalised.  It is being done stealthily and with no reference to the public.  This is not democracy.

Posted in General | Leave a Comment »