Wednesday, 4 November 2009

New Chief Executive criticises City Council

Last weekend Brighton and Hove City Council's new Chief Executive John Barradell stirred up something of a hornet's nest when he condemned the Conservative-led council's failures on basic service delivery in The Argus.

For some reason the piece doesn't seem to be online (funny that), but it described some of his experiences after moving to the city and trying to set up basic services for himself and his family with the council.

The description, taken from a speech given by Mr Barradell to Hove business leaders, said at one point an automated phone message told him no service was available outside Scotland.

I guess Council Leader Mary Mears will be fuming - but more enthusiastic, it seems, are senior council officers.

I've had two private conversations this week with senior officers who are delighted Mr Barradell seems committed to improving service delivery for everyone, even if it means facing some home truths about his political masters.

I'm inclined to agree: almost all the casework I get relates to getting the council just to do something they should have done already - and it's not always easy, as Mr Barradell found out for himself - even if you're the boss, let alone if you're not.

Satisfaction in our council will only improve when its staff, and political masters, get better at listening to residents and supporting communities according to what they hear.

Too many people, certainly in Kemptown, are fed up with a council that just isn't very good at getting even the basics right.

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