Bite the Bullet Jon!

October 27, 2011

I’m sorry it is so long since I have posted. This is because I haven’t had the time to do any research for posts and anything I have learned during my paid work would only out me if I posted it here.

However, there is one interesting titbit I can post. As I am sure many of you know, Nottingham City Council have to make big reductions in their budgets. The figure of a £72 million pounds reduction is the figure I have heard talked about – I have only heard verbally though.

Nottingham City Council Officers are trying to get the agreement from Senior Councillors about where the reductions should be. They are tearing their hair out over the Leader Councillor Jon Collins, who is refusing to consider reductions to any services.

Sorry Jon, but one of the parts of being the Leader is that you have to make difficult decisions. You can’t refuse to make difficult decision and at the same time roar out at Officers when you are frustrated “I am the Leader!” – which I have on good authority he has done on a number of occasions.


Possible cut ignored

July 22, 2011

With major cuts to public services it is natural to think that politicians would be keen to make cuts in areas that have little impact on the public. Naturally one of those areas being considered was Area Committees.

Currently the City Council has divided the city up into 8 areas plus the city centre. In each of these 8 areas there is an Area Committee made up of Local Councillors and elected community representatives. They meet every 2 months to hear reports from Council Officers about services in their area, to agree how to spend their allocation of money of approximately £30,000 and to be consulted on how services are provided locally. For example the Parks Section last year outlined 3 possible colour schemes that could be used in each area for flower planters e.g. on lamp posts. In otherwords less than crucial matters.

They are supposed to provide a way for the city council to talk to and get the views of local residents. Unsurprisingly only a small handful of residents actually attend these.

So naturally council officers suggested making savings by cutting Area Committees. Councillor Jon Collins has said clearly that Area Committees will not be cut.

It would be nice to think this was because he really cared about resident involvement. But all the rumours are that Area Committees were really set up as a sop to councillors who have no real power city wide. And Collins does not want to risk alienating these councillors by cutting the Area Committees and exposing the lack of power so many Councillors actually have.

A Strong Leader

June 15, 2011

Nottingham City Council is currently run by a councillor from the ruling party called the Leader (currently Jon Collins), who makes decisions with a Cabinet of councillors, also from the ruling group (currently the Labour Party). Each of these councillors has responsibility for particular services, known as their ‘portfolio’. Nottingham has a Mayor, but this is a ceremonial role without any decision-making powers.

However, under the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 the council must change its constitution by December 2010 to one of two options for leadership: either a Leader with stronger powers (a Strong Leader) or a directly elected Mayor.

Many Local Authorities consulted with their local citizens about which model they preferred.

I don’t know if Nottingham City Council has changed their constitution by the required date. And I certainly haven’t seen any sign of consultation. However, the council seems to be moving towards the strong leadership model.

This would mean that instead of Cabinet members being appointed by a meeting of the council, as they are now, between two and nine councillors would be chosen by the Leader, to help him or her take decisions. The other main change would be that the Leader would be appointed for a four year period (or the remainder of their term as a councillor), rather than a year.

I have heard many disparaging comments from City Council officers basically saying that the last thing Nottingham needs is for Councillor Jon Collins to be a stronger leader with more power. I certainly share their views.

Who’s who?

December 3, 2010

Sorry for the lack of postings this week, I have just been really busy.

I thought I would do a quick update on who’s who in terms of City leaders.

Councillor Jon Collins is Leader of the City Council. He is best friends with Nigel Cooke who is Chief Executive of One Nottingham. One Nottingham is a Government quango.  They are such good friends they have been on holiday together – although I personally rate Nigel.

Councillor David Mellen is the new Chairperson of One Nottingham. David Mellen and Jon Collins do not get on with one another. I have also heard that David Mellen has political ambitions and would love to be Leader of the City Council – well he couldn’t make a worst job of it.

Councillor Jon Collins is also the Chairman of Nottinghamshire Police Authority.

Alan Given, who is friends with Jon Collins, has recently started a new job as Change Manager for the police authority.

These are all names that pop up again and again in any discussions about how Nottingham is run.

Jon Collins resigns

September 28, 2010

No sadly not as Leader of Nottingham City Council. But he has resigned as Chairperson of One Nottingham, a local quango. Councillor David Mellen takes his place. You can read more about him by clicking on the link.

However, with the bonfire of the quangos currently taking place, no one knows if One Nottingham will even exist in the future never mind have any power. So its not really surprising that Jon Collins has decided to jump ship.

Labour accused of imposing candidate

June 29, 2010

Below is an interesting article about how Labour allegedly overlooked local candidates and instead imposed one they had already selected. Everything I have heard about this, suggests that this was done, deliberately to stop Jon Collins becoming a Labour MP.
Chris Leslie “Gordon Brown’s former leadership campaign manager Chris Leslie has been selected as the party’s candidate for Nottingham East to replace John Heppell who is stepping down at the general election.

There has been some controversy about the selection process overall, not least the suggestion that Labour was deliberately not announcing potential candidates to replace retiring MPs until the election was announced, limiting the time Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) had to debate the matter.

In this case Labour has been accused of imposing their man and overlooking three local candidates, including Nottingham City Council leader Jon Collins, former leader Brian Parbutt and executive board member Jane Urquhart.”

To read more follow the link below.

Jon Collins Update

June 28, 2010

Jon has apparently emailed every Nottingham City Council employee criticising the Government’s budget and the impact budget cuts will have on services provided by local authorities.

You may not agree, but this seemed a pretty party political move and not appropriate for someone who is the Lead member of Nottingham City Council.

Jane Todd on the otherhand, the Chief Executive of Nottingham City Council, sent a general email to employees talking about the need to work together during difficult times.

Now that is appropriate.

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