Monday, 22 March 2010

Do Conservatives Really Want to Listen?

Surrey County Council, Woking Borough Council, local police and other agencies involved in providing services to people in Woking held a 'Community Question Time' last Wednesday. It was one event, for the whole borough, held in the HG Wells in the town centre. Many attendees will have had to park in the centre and incur a parking charge.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to attend the event - conflicting pressure of husband, older daughter and me all wanting to be in different places at the same time and a younger daughter to get to bed. From reports I have heard it sounds like I didn't miss much. It was not so much a question time as a talk at you time. I recognise that there is a need for a certain amount of introduction and scene setting required at this type of event but when an event is billed as a community question time you would expect the floor to open up to public questions with the minimum of preamble. Not so at this event apparently.

The funny thing is a local Conservative is now suggesting that a quarterly or twice yearly event that moves around the borough would be a good idea. It's a great idea and one that was put in place under the theme 'Tune In' through a local Liberal Democrat initiative.

I did see the term 'Tune In' on some advertising for last week's event, but it was a misnomer. The purpose of 'Tune In' was to hold a regular dialogue in the community. As with last week's event the various local service providers got together. The difference was that there were several events around the borough, based on policing areas. One 'Tune In' event was held in each area before the Conservatives quietly forgot all about it. 'Tune In' set a framework and really engaged local people. I attended two events, in Horsell and in Goldsworth Park, both were packed and there were many people keen to play ar part in their local community. As far as I can see all that is left of the initiative is 'clean-up days' in some areas. These are great events and a good chance for the community to work together but Tune In was meant to be so much more.

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