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The leader of Camden LBC's opposition Conservative group has criticised the government's plans for modernsing local...
The leader of Camden LBC's opposition Conservative group has criticised the government's plans for modernsing local government, as set out in its white paper.

Writing in the Camden New Journal (p14), Pam Chesters says the paper is inadequate both in its analysis of the problems of councils and the solutions it offers.

'Sadly, it is a classic example of the government's centralist approach. On the one hand it claims to seek a modernised and empowered local democracy but on the other, it is unwilling to trust those very same communities to develop their own solutions to meet their needs.' she says.

'Throughout the paper there are numerous references to reserved powers and centralising measures. It appears that through a system of rewards and penalties, accompanied by direct intervention, the government will seek to impose its national goals without regard to local aims and aspirations.'

She says it is worth remembering that across the country, where standards of local government have failed most dramatically, it is generally where there is no effective opposition. She defends the current committee-based decision-making process, which, she says, is infinitely more transparent than an individual councillor taking decisions in a manner which is unlikely to be so rigorously recorded.

'Community participation will only thrive when individuals perceive that those in authority genuinely listen and respond to concerns which they raise,' she says.

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