Green perspectives on Stockwood and Bristol. Mostly.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

A sudden outbreak of democracy. Seize it!

The slow and avoidable death of the 'HandS ON' local e-forum (until recently linked from this blog) reflected much that was bad about NP14 – the Neighbourhood Partnership for Hengrove and Stockwood. What should have been a lively forum of ideas and news – and of the work of the Partnership – was shunned from the start by ward councillors and by officers - the very people who had agreed to fund it and were key to making it work. Unsurprisingly, given that lack of support, it never took off. For the vast majority of local people, the Neighbourhood Partnership remains even more obscure and irrelevant than the council election ballot box.

That seemed to suit the councillors. There's enough to do already – why add to it with an interactive forum giving instant access to everyone with a web connection ? No, best stick with the tried and tested 'democratic' fig-leaf of quarterly meetings of the self-appointed Neighbourhood Partnership. And the occasional promotional pre-election ward newsletter. Democracy in inaction.

BUT – there have been stirrings..... Of course, it would never be fully attributed to MrGrouchy, but there is the prospect of change in NP14.

At its next meeting – (24th June, 7pm, Christ Church, Petherton Road) – the resident partners for the coming year will be elected. Yes, ELECTED. Really.  By all present.

The details are on the official (and very one way) NP website at Best introduction for would-be partners is in the invitation letter:

The Hengrove & Stockwood Neighbourhood Partnership (NP) is a body that aims to improve the quality of life for residents living in the area. Comprising local councillors, resident reps and officers from Bristol City Council, and other agencies, it aims to find local solutions to local problems. This is an exciting time for NPs. The whole process is currently undergoing a review, which may result in substantially increased responsibilities and decision-making powers for NPs. The mayor has expressed his support for increasing the role of NPs in communities.

If you wish to stand for election to be a resident rep on the NP, please read the attached documentation.

If you are interested in either standing yourself or nominating another resident (who you should check is willing to stand), you are invited to complete the attached forms.

Enclosed you will find:

  • Details of the election process we will be following
  • A nomination form, which needs to be completed and returned by 12.00pm Monday 17th June 2013
  • A copy of the Neighbourhood Partnership Terms of Reference
  • Information on Neighbourhood Partnerships

All elected reps are expected to accept the following responsibilities:

  • You will need to attend Neighbourhood Partnership meetings on a quarterly basis.
  • You will need to take part in feeding back outcomes to the Neighbourhood Partnership meetings and other meetings/groups with which you may be involved within your community.
  • You will need to make a declaration of interest when joining the Neighbourhood Partnership and at any time during the term of service should your situation change.
  • You will be expected to take an active role in other working groups, take part in an induction and other training and development as and when required.

The rest of the papers – including the nomination form – can be downloaded from the same site. There's not long to do it, though. Note the June 17 deadline.

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