Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Consultation Paper a Review of Elections to Council

I'm not sure that this new world of openness and transparency at CaRT has arrived yet. 

Community participation in decision making can and should take place in any social activity. Especially activities that are maintained by charitable donations.  For instance the CaRT  consultation with interested parties on representation issues. Consultation is a process by which the interested parties input on matters affecting them is sought. Its main goals are in improving the openness, transparency and encouraging best practice by involvement in setting procedures and policies. However, choosing an option from a list of those on offer is not meaningful consultation. 

ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) has a very good definition of consultation. "Consultation involves taking account of as well as listening to views and must therefore take place before any decisions are made. Making a pretence of consulting on issues that have already been decided is unproductive and engenders suspicion and mistrust about the process."

A public consultation usually involves some form of formal notification to publicise the matter to be consulted upon. The consultation is a two-way flow of information, ideas as well as an exchange of opinion. Not forgetting some participation in the drafting of policy.

On the 19th of  November 2013 CaRT issued a Consultation Paper titled 'Review of Elections to Council.' However, this is CaRT's idea of what consultation actually is. I'm not sure that it is an open and transparent consultation in the traditional sense.

The consultation can be downloaded Click Here

On the previous election of individuals to Council. There was a furore across the boating world when it was discovered that the Inland Waterways Association were fielding their own team of candidates. It came as no surprise that the anointed team were elected. 

You might be wondering why this important issue has been ignored and has not been addressed as an item in the Consultation. I believe it is oversight and purely coincidental that one of the four named people who are steering the consultation is Clive Henderson, a CaRT Council Member who was elected to council as one of the team of IWA candidates I also believe in the tooth fairy and father Christmas.

Online election: "We intend that future elections will be on-line and all communications by email or electronic media. This was not possible in the first election as we did not have comprehensive contact information nor sufficient time to develop the communications and systems needed to support an on-line election."

Those who do not have a personal email address or access to the internet will be encouraged to work with a friend or buddy who has internet access so we can communicate by email and electors can vote. "We will also ask boating and other waterway associations to provide this facility for their members."

That's a handy option for us to choose for large associations like the IWA to ensure another one horse race. So by the time I reached page four of the 'consultation' it was obvious that everything was already following the style of the deeply resented 'South East Visitor Mooring Consultation' and was already a rubber stamped, pre-ordained outcome. I wonder if the IWA will also field a team for the 'volunteers' representative or maybe even the 'friends' representative.  I am minded of the quote of Ian Hislop made on the steps of the high court. "If this is justice I am a banana." In other words the process was in his opinion the same shape as a banana.
Has anyone else noticed the lack of any meaningful communication with the non IWA aligned part of the electorate from 'our' elected representatives. Their deafening silence says so much about their worth. I would bet that the only communication that you have received was the 150 word election manifesto from the 33 candidates. Have any of them been in touch with you to elicit your thoughts on any subject. Do you believe that the IWA hijacked the election. Has any of them actually used the boating media. Do you believe that they are truly independent. Do you believe they represent you. Do you believe they only represent the IWA.  Are they invisible. Are they doing a good job. Do you have any faith in them?

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