Sunday, September 02, 2007

Little Boxes.....

Life over the last few days has been full of boxes - little ones to tick so that the council retains its Excellent rating and big ones to fill with books etc so that we can empty our large bookcase and move it to allow a nice new wooden floor to be installed in our living room.
The boxes to tick are by far the most difficult and time consuming. Officers have to work out how the Government's targets fit with the things which residents of the borough say they want and then work out how to satisfy both - not always possible and rarely easy. Councillors then have to try to get the things we know our residents want within all these targets and within the available budget which gets tighter every year. Creative lateral thinking is a councillor's greatest asset! Currently the council is preparing for a series of inspections which will leave everyone worn out by Christmas - the full council gets assessed for its overall performance against government targets, children's services are assessed over an above that - both the ones the council is responsible for and the ones which are the responsibility of the NHS, the Youth Service has its own inspection and so does the Youth Offending Service. As you can imagine, anyone with any connection to youth work is going to be assessed to death.
Meanwhile we need to get on with the work of doing what we were elected to do - make sure that services are delivered to residents in the way they want at the time they want. Miracles take time - please be patient!
This morning, though, a reminder of the wider world. The first Sunday of the month means the Traidcraft stall and Fairtrade coffee morning at church, always hard work but enjoyable and a reminder that whatever the problems and irritations of life here, others have much bigger problems and rely on us to help overcome them.

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