LETTERS: An Overhaul of Local Democracy Needed
Dear Orkney News
It was a pleasure to attend the committee meeting at The Orkney Theatre last night to see how our elected representatives carry out their duties and discussing the proposed Islands Bill. I am whole heartedly in favour of our communities taking more control and responsibility for our own affairs. The 2 world wars of the 20th century had an understandably centralizing effect which is only now being slowly reversed.
The picture painted by councillors of being close to, and in synch with the communities and constituents that they and the Council serve and represent was more than a little rose tinted. Councillors are not always very good at responding to correspondence from constituents, and Council departments can be difficult to elicit information from or make suggestions to.
Alongside the Islands Bill there needs to be an overhaul of local democracy to make it truly representative of the populace. As well as County Councillors being more responsive to questions and suggestions from their electorate, I feel we need to build up the Community Councils as the first point of contact for citizens with the public sector, and give Community Councils a tool kit which allows them to access information and advice in order for them to get the best outcomes for their constituents.
The Islands Bill certainly seems like a step forward and I look forward to our Island communities benefitting from the work that has gone into it.
Jonathan Southerington, Orkney