Changing Council Culture
Our West Lancashire is a group of independent and civic minded people from across the Borough. It is easy to see that two party politics in West Lancashire is broken. OWL was founded as an antidote to the two local parties; their squabbling; and tribal attitudes. At OWL we believe in sensible, pragmatic policies that benefit as many people as possible, and a major part of this is reforming how local politics works.
Here, you’ll find a list of some of the problems in council culture and you’ll find our solutions. If you agree with us please get in touch to get involved and be part of the solution.
Councillors are ignoring the needs of their voters. There is a long list of scandal, dereliction of duties, favouritism, and misinformation. The first problem as we see it is that there are councillors who don’t seem to take their duties seriously. Here are some examples:
30 July 2014, a Halsall residents’ association complained to the Champion about a councillor not responding to a petition. The Labour transport portfolio holder “did not even have the manners to reply” when sent the petition about local bus services. An Ormskirk resident made a similar complaint about the same councillor to the same paper in the summer of 2015.
Conservative Councillor Paul Moon was unveiled as having withheld information about his seat on Wyre Council when standing for West Lancashire Borough Council. He stood for, and was elected to the ward of Hesketh Bank in May 2016, as a Conservative Party candidate. During his campaign he never mentioned the two ‘hats’ he would have to wear if elected. Of course, the main concern was whether it is possible to effectively represent your ward when you have two of them? Cllr Moon finally resigned in May 2018, after a lot of pressure from Cllr Adrian Owens. Only 9 out of 54 elected councillors attended a WLBC council meeting that they had asked for! It was a meeting about the council’s responsibilities relating to Health and Safety for residents, we’d hope Councillors regard as important.
Conservative Councillor Sam Currie seemingly thought being in the audience of BBC Question Time was more important than a council meeting. In February 2018, instead of doing his duty and attending a council committee meeting, he could be seen in the TV audience.
On another day, there was a presentation regarding the West Lancashire economy, and attendance was little better. Three quarters of the Conservative councillors failed to attend and the Labour turnout was only a slight improvement. We believe that such important matters should be top of a councillor’s list of priorities.