Sunday, 12 August 2012

Improving Local Democracy

The peerless EUReferendum has an excellent campaign for putting political power where it should be, with you and me. The Six Points of its Harrogate Agenda are being honed into razor-sharp perfection. I suggest that you click on the link above and search in via the Archive  to read up while I finish writing this blogpost.

I'm writing about local democracy today. Did you know that the Local Government and Rating Act 1997 enables you and like-minded citizens to organise a petition (50% of local electors in the area for civil parishes smaller than 500 voters or 10% of voters for larger parishes) to request that the local authority organises a referendum for the creation of the civil parish (which can be as small or big as you think suits your democratic needs). Click on this link for more information about creating a council.

What sort of council is best? Well you could have a parish council or a parish meeting. The latter gives all electors the right to speak at meetings (with Parish Councils the Chair has discretion to allow non parish councillors to speak), and section 109 of the Local Government Act 1972 enables district councils to give parish meetings some or all of the powers of a parish council.

The next step is to press for more of the powers of district and unitary councils to be given to civil parishes because the closer power is to the individual elector the better.

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