To to the topic of ward forums, not necessarily top of the news agenda at the moment, but as these have now started across the borough it is not unreasonable to make some early observations.

To recap: the Conservatives abolished the area committees and introduced the new ward forums with almost indecent haste in the spring. One of the key selling points of these was the opportunity for local people to spend up to £40,000 in their own ward.

Having now attended two ward forums it is apparent that what may have seemed a comparatively simple task - of agreeing to spend money on local facilities - is far from straight forward.

One would expect, even hope, that there would be differing views as to how the money should be spent.

The more challenging task is confirming with the various council departments what is already budgeted for and what specifically should be funded from the ward account.

It is apparent that there is some pressure for the wards to make their decisions before the end of the calendar year, otherwise the money will be 'lost'.

This means that in some of the wards which have begun the process late and which will probably have only the one meeting before the end of December, all discussion and agreement would have to take place in the one meeting.

I would suggest that across the borough the decision to spend a significant amount of money across a number of wards will be made in haste and with little consultation.

Not quite what we were promised, Mr Stacey?


Ealing Liberal Democrats