Last Friday, I went to a meeting of the Oxfordshire Partnership. The leader of the County Council, Keith Mitchell (Conservative), who is the chair of the Partnership, welcomed the first member of the public ever to observe a meeting of the Partnership -- yours truly. During the discussion of the sustainable community strategy Oxfordshire 2030, hardly anyone present around the table seemed to have a solution about how to fulfil their new statutory ‘duty to involve’. The Partnership and council members do not know well about the ‘themed’ (e.g. waste) and local strategic (e.g. Vale, Oxford) partnerships. The take-away feeling I got was:
Where is the politics?
It is all very well to talk about ‘partnership working’ -- but what we really need is participatory democracy and real politics! What happened to political campaigning: canvassing on the doorsteps? What is wrong with debates in the council chambers, that we need to introduce this extra layer of ‘partnerships’?
If you live in Oxfordshire, contact the Oxfordshire Partnership and go to the next meeting. http://www.oxfordshirepartnership.org.uk/