Baildon councillor calls for re-think over Bradford Council forums

Coun Debbie Davies

Coun Debbie Davies

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , Aire/Worth Valley Reporter

Neighbourhood Forum meetings where community leaders and police gather to inform residents on topical issues are a waste of time and money, claims a district councillor.

Councillor Debbie Davies (Con, Baildon)n has called for a radical re-think after a recent meeting which she said was attended by “three people and a dog.”

She said: “The theory of engaging with local people is good but it’s just such an old fashioned way of doing it.Realistically, Neighbour-hood Forums cost the taxpayer a lot of money, not just in terms of hiring venues or the cost of leaflets, but in the time of those professionals involved. For example there will usually be a senior police officer and another officer, plus council officers and councillors at these meetings.

“The police will give a little report on what’s going on, but the evening takes up two hours of their time, which could surely be better spent elsewhere.”

Coun Davies said it was logical to embrace the social media as a more cost-effective way of dispensing information to the voters.

A spokesman for Bradford Council said: “The total cost to Bradford Council of hiring venues in which to hold the 113 Neighbourhood Forum meetings between April 1, 2012 and March, 31 2013, was £4,855.27.

“Neighbourhood forum meetings are held in community venues rather than at City Hall to make them more accessible to local people.”

Comments (12)

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9:10am Mon 24 Mar 14

OLDLAD says...

The reason no one turns up is not down to dis-interest it is down to the fact thope are fed up with politicians of all ilks. They promise the world as long as it is their world. No longer trusted by the public. That is the problem.
The reason no one turns up is not down to dis-interest it is down to the fact thope are fed up with politicians of all ilks. They promise the world as long as it is their world. No longer trusted by the public. That is the problem. OLDLAD
  • Score: 3

9:11am Mon 24 Mar 14

OLDLAD says...

The reason no one turns up is not down to dis-interest it is down to the fact that peope are fed up with politicians of all ilks. They promise the world as long as it is their world. No longer trusted by the public. That is the problem. amended
The reason no one turns up is not down to dis-interest it is down to the fact that peope are fed up with politicians of all ilks. They promise the world as long as it is their world. No longer trusted by the public. That is the problem. amended OLDLAD
  • Score: 2

9:13am Mon 24 Mar 14

BaildonGuy says...

I completely agree. A total waste of money.

The real problem is that the Council keeps anything that might involve criticism of its services or decisions off the agenda. As a result the real issues never get discussed. People know this so don't bother to turn up. The Forums are just another box-ticking exercise so City Hall can claim that they are engaging with their citizens.
I completely agree. A total waste of money. The real problem is that the Council keeps anything that might involve criticism of its services or decisions off the agenda. As a result the real issues never get discussed. People know this so don't bother to turn up. The Forums are just another box-ticking exercise so City Hall can claim that they are engaging with their citizens. BaildonGuy
  • Score: 5

9:26am Mon 24 Mar 14

bd7 helper says...

Stop lying and you will see more people willing to give there time.up.
Stop lying and you will see more people willing to give there time.up. bd7 helper
  • Score: 5

9:40am Mon 24 Mar 14

Grumpygirl says...

The Forums are poorly attended because the neither the Council nor the audience wants to discuss the real issues. It's the bland leading the bland. However Cllr Davies could change this and put some meat on the agenda, such as the impact the Tory cuts are having on the care of the vulnerable.
The Forums are poorly attended because the neither the Council nor the audience wants to discuss the real issues. It's the bland leading the bland. However Cllr Davies could change this and put some meat on the agenda, such as the impact the Tory cuts are having on the care of the vulnerable. Grumpygirl
  • Score: -4

12:29pm Mon 24 Mar 14

allinittogether says...

Interesting that Couns Davies says; "it was logical to embrace the social media as a more cost-effective way of dispensing information to the voters."
So she feels the meetings are to "dispense information" not to discuss things that are on concern to ALL constituents.
Pesky democracy getting in the way of serious business like slashing budgets again eh councillor?
Interesting that Couns Davies says; "it was logical to embrace the social media as a more cost-effective way of dispensing information to the voters." So she feels the meetings are to "dispense information" not to discuss things that are on concern to ALL constituents. Pesky democracy getting in the way of serious business like slashing budgets again eh councillor? allinittogether
  • Score: -5

5:09pm Mon 24 Mar 14

RollandSmoke says...

I would advise Debbie to have a glance at the T&A's forum. 5 minutes on there should change her mind as to whether an online forum is the way to go. It may be that I'm giving a worst case example of a badly run forum and that it is possible to create a forum where there is freedom of speech and where every conversation isn't hijacked by the same people pushing the same agendas. Without that freedom of speech, that the government is doing all it can to curtail, then whatever form of taking shop you wish to set up is a waste of time.
I would advise Debbie to have a glance at the T&A's forum. 5 minutes on there should change her mind as to whether an online forum is the way to go. It may be that I'm giving a worst case example of a badly run forum and that it is possible to create a forum where there is freedom of speech and where every conversation isn't hijacked by the same people pushing the same agendas. Without that freedom of speech, that the government is doing all it can to curtail, then whatever form of taking shop you wish to set up is a waste of time. RollandSmoke
  • Score: -4

5:50pm Mon 24 Mar 14

awasteoftime says...

The main problem is that in most cases these forums are very badly promoted so if people don't know it is on they cannot go. They are a good idea and enable those in the community who do not have access to IT to have their say and find out what is going on locally. The cost is minute when compared to the cost of the Council and the cost of our local Councillors. If the Police are not able to spend a few minutes talking to their local community then it is a poor show. WE need to keep these forums going but must make sure they are well promoted with interesting agendas.
The main problem is that in most cases these forums are very badly promoted so if people don't know it is on they cannot go. They are a good idea and enable those in the community who do not have access to IT to have their say and find out what is going on locally. The cost is minute when compared to the cost of the Council and the cost of our local Councillors. If the Police are not able to spend a few minutes talking to their local community then it is a poor show. WE need to keep these forums going but must make sure they are well promoted with interesting agendas. awasteoftime
  • Score: 1

6:22pm Mon 24 Mar 14

cockadoodledo says...

I disagree with Councillor Davies,Surely the poor turn out was because the meeting wasnt promoted correctly or at a time when most people are working.I attended our local Eldwick forum a month ago, the hall was full , people were interested in whats going on and were asking lots of questions.
This is probably the only time residents have contact with the local police, the local Neighbourhood Police are doing a great job, very approachable, and we are able to speak to them face to face with them about problems, rather than down a phone.Councillor is rather exaggerating that they are tied up for two hours, this is not correct.
If the Councillor is worried about costs, lets see a reduction in the number of Councillos for each ward being reduced from 3 to 2..”
'Coun Davies said it was logical to embrace the social media as a more cost-effective way of dispensing information to the voters'- I tottally disagree!
Keep the Forums, attend and meet your neighbours!!
I disagree with Councillor Davies,Surely the poor turn out was because the meeting wasnt promoted correctly or at a time when most people are working.I attended our local Eldwick forum a month ago, the hall was full , people were interested in whats going on and were asking lots of questions. This is probably the only time residents have contact with the local police, the local Neighbourhood Police are doing a great job, very approachable, and we are able to speak to them face to face with them about problems, rather than down a phone.Councillor is rather exaggerating that they are tied up for two hours, this is not correct. If the Councillor is worried about costs, lets see a reduction in the number of Councillos for each ward being reduced from 3 to 2..” 'Coun Davies said it was logical to embrace the social media as a more cost-effective way of dispensing information to the voters'- I tottally disagree! Keep the Forums, attend and meet your neighbours!! cockadoodledo
  • Score: 1

9:19pm Mon 24 Mar 14

Bantamzen says...

Hmm, these comments come from a councillor who last year said that despite her objections to it, the development of the Buck Lane field site would be worth it. Yet the only thing developed there so far is a new traffic junction leading to..., well an undeveloped field. Now Councillor Davies, how much did that new junction on Otley Road cost us?
Hmm, these comments come from a councillor who last year said that despite her objections to it, the development of the Buck Lane field site would be worth it. Yet the only thing developed there so far is a new traffic junction leading to..., well an undeveloped field. Now Councillor Davies, how much did that new junction on Otley Road cost us? Bantamzen
  • Score: 2

2:14am Tue 25 Mar 14

G_Firth says...

ever though of advertising them better maybe more people would attend then
ever though of advertising them better maybe more people would attend then G_Firth
  • Score: 1

2:02pm Tue 25 Mar 14

awasteoftime says...

Maybe Cllr Davies takes a similar view to the MP Philip Davies, after he is the father of her kids. Wonder if her expenses are as bad as his ?.
Why do Baildon residents need to pay for a Town Council anyway cannot the Ward Councillors look after the village. Seems like they are paying twice for the same thing !..
Maybe Cllr Davies takes a similar view to the MP Philip Davies, after he is the father of her kids. Wonder if her expenses are as bad as his ?. Why do Baildon residents need to pay for a Town Council anyway cannot the Ward Councillors look after the village. Seems like they are paying twice for the same thing !.. awasteoftime
  • Score: 0

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