Land Of Confusion

Have you tried to contact BCBC about an issue recently or simply wondered who is responsible for what?

You may be aware that the council has a Leader but do you know what their name is? The Leader is supported by a cabinet but do you know how many of them there are and what they are accountable for?

The BCBC website might be a good place to start and after a little digging you will find that the Leader is someone called Huw David and he leads a cabinet of 6 people. This group collectively takes £197,500 a year of your money in salaries so what do they do for that?

You’d think that’s straightforward from their titles.

But it’s not.

Each cabinet member is assigned a portfolio with impressive titles such as

  • Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration
  • Cabinet Member for Social Services and Early Help
  • Cabinet Member for Wellbeing & Future Generations
  • Cabinet Member for Communities

Aside from Education and Social Services it’s not at all clear what else is included in each. For example, who is accountable for the “two bag rule” and the “bin police”? Who is accountable for highways? What about streetlights? Who do the people of Maesteg hold to account for closing their market? Who looks after tourism?

What is the Deputy Leader accountable for?

Why on earth are Education and “Regeneration” lumped together and what exactly is included within the regeneration brief?

None of this is easily available from the website, similarly it is unclear which service sits in which directorate. In fact you have to search through council minutes to find out the detail.

In his statement to November’s council meeting the Leader said that when he took up the role:

“he intended to look at the structure of the Cabinet portfolios, and that he would come
back to them with an update”…….

So it’s clear that he alone is responsible for these confusing and jumbled portfolios none of which do what they say on the tin. Rather than have a direct line of accountability from the front line to the cabinet the Leader further stated that he wanted a cabinet:

……”with Cabinet members having a broader range of cross-cutting responsibilities so that they can each work across directorates wherever possible”….

 

Worthy words but a recipe for confusion. We challenge you to pick a service, area of interest or concern and search the BCBC website to quickly discover which cabinet member is accountable for it.

With such a muddled view of the world is it any wonder that the residents of our county borough are confused about who is accountable for what? It’s hardly surprising that the website is a barely navigable mess. Because there is a lack of clear accountability it is patently obvious why BCBC is in the state it’s in. Lurching from one crisis to the next with knee jerk reactive policies and a corporate nervous breakdown as they struggle to come to terms with how to deliver the £37m savings that face them.

This must stop and it can stop in May.
No organisation can begin to deliver sustainable efficiencies unless it is firstly properly structured and that means CLEAR and UNAMBIGUOUS lines of accountability. Cabinet portfolios that align with directorates that are focused on service delivery.

Independent councillors supported by Change for Bridgend will end the confusion and remove the fog that hampers effectiveness and allows the feckless to hide.

Cabinet portfolios will be aligned with directorates and will be named in plain, simple language so that it will be clear who is accountable for what. There will be a simple and unambiguous structure on the website.

Also, for too long some of our communities have felt neglected and remote from the power brokers in Angel Street. Therefore, in addition to their functional portfolios Cabinet members and their executive counterparts will also hold accountability for a specific, geographical, areas; acting a single point of contact for Ward Councillors and Town & Community councils within our borough. They will have a DUTY to ensure that the voices of ALL our communities are heard at the cabinet table cutting across directorates where necessary to solve the issues that are all too often deemed “too difficult”. They’ll also be held to account for their performance.

An organisation must be effective before it can become efficient, that will be our first priority.

We will organise this authority to DELIVER with the principles of CLARITY, ACCOUNTABILITY and HONESTY at the heart of everything we do.
Change is coming on 4th May 2017.

Join us.

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