Local government forms an essential part of our democracy, but all too often it is opaque and at a far remove from the people it is supposed to serve. We will make councils transparent — and our councillors will really work for the people in their communities.
We will give councils more flexibility on the requirements they can set for tender agreements, so that they can consider the social good instead of just value-for-money. This will allow them to prioritise our communities, the people who work for them, and the environment over short-term cost-saving and contractors' profits.
Council Meeting Recordings
We will make full video recordings of council proceedings available promptly so as to improve accountability among councillors and to ensure that voters gain a better understanding of the people who represent them. To ensure these records are accessible to everyone, we will provide versions including BSL interpretation and closed captions.
We will continue to make council meetings accessible online, maintaining the improved engagement and accessibility that has resulted from meetings moving online during the pandemic.
However, we recognise that not everyone is able to use, or feels comfortable using, digital technologies, and so we will ensure that in-person attendance at appropriate events and consultations is possible so that everyone’s views can be heard.
Having Our Say
We will actively consult communities throughout our planning processes and work directly with them to co-produce services. To build long-term conversations about what we want our local areas and communities to be, everyone must be able to have their say.
Ethical Investments and Pensions
We will ensure that council pensions and investments are ethically invested, and we will divest from harmful industries such as fossil fuels, the arms trade, and countries with ongoing human rights crises.
Modern Committee System
Most councils currently run on a ‘strong leader and cabinet’ system, where the largest party runs the council and the other parties act as opposition. This leads to the same problems as Westminster, where those who voted for a minority party are left without a voice.
To address this, we will change councils to run on a ‘modern committee’ system, where all councillors are actively involved in decision making. This will ensure that all wards have an equal voice in decisions made by their council.
Freedom of Information
We will adopt Freedom of Information policies that are more open and informative than statute requires. We will preemptively publish information that is in the public interest as standard practice, adopting the attitude that the public should not have to ask what they have the right to know.