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Community Wars Continue

Regular readers of this blog will be aware of the disputes between b:cen and BANF.

The b:cen management don't seem to have learnt anything. Their most recent newsletter funded by part of their £2million a year grant from central government continues to launch into a diatribe against me.

In particular they have a go against local government as a mechanism for making decisions.

On the other hand we have the Home Offices State of the Sector Panel

The most recent newsletter (December 04) indicates that CVS (Community and Voluntary Sector) organisations are gnerally happiest with their relationship with local government (and least happy with the European Union).

The debate remains, however, as to what is the best mechanism for determining public policy. Should it be directly elected representatives or people appointed by primarily statutory agencies onto local Qualgos. (Quasi-Autonomous Local Government Organisation). I cannot really fathom out the logic, but it appears that the "Community Empowerment Network" solution being promoted is to exclude accountable representatives and instead have appointees. This is the traditional form of corporatism as developed in Italy from about 1890 onwards.

There is one key debate. If people are to be "accountable" there has to be a mechanism by which they can be "held to account". With directly elected representatives it is the next election. I still cannot fathom who holds the Community Empowerment Networks to account. We wrote to the Government Office as while ago to find out the GOWM viewpoint on their breaking of a number of rules that apply to such organisations and there has been no response.

Still in the mean time it is a source of funding for local voluntary organisations. I just wish they didn't waste as much as they did on things such as party politically biased DVDs etc.

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