The Bickerstaffe Record

Being Labour, Cotterill on the Council

What’s £35,000 between Tory friends, eh?

01.19.10 | Comment?

When I reported on the shockingly bad response to the winter conditions by Tory-mismanaged West Lancashire Borough and Lancashire County Councils, I mentioned that public car parks in West Lancs were not gritted for about a week, even though the County Council holds a specific contract with the borough to do just that. 

I was asked by a commenter (Steve) what the value of the contract was, so I checked it out.  

The value is around £35,000 per year. 

Apparently the contract is worded to make clear that car parks will be gritted after priority routes are cleared.  That makes sense, but the fact that car parks went to long without gritting of any kind does raise the question of whether the contract was fulfilled, and whether or not some or all of this year’s £35k should be retained by the borough council.  

Of course, in the end it’s all public money we’re talking about, and no-one wants to start spending money on legal advice about the contract which should be being spent on services, but this latest failure by the borough council to ensure that things get done with its money is a reflection on its poor overall capacity to work ‘in partnership’ with other bodies. 

Had the borough council been up to the job of actually taking responsibility for its residents, it could have kept some of its own salt/grit supplies and got on with the job itself once it realized that the county council were failing to do their job properly. 

Instead, it simply waited on the county council, and then waited some more while people fell over, or didn’t go out.

Such ‘proper’ partnership working might, of course, have been aided by some a bit of joint planning.  But then again, there’s the news I’m now picking up ‘on the wires’ is that when the borough council held an emergency planning session just before Christmas, it may have ‘forgotten’ to invite the county council to it! 

Yup, that’s Tory administration for you.

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