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Case of the Missing Notice -Solved

Posted on 14th April, 2013

The official publication of Notice of Election by North Somerset Electoral Services was on April 3rd, with only 1 week allowed to receive nominations. Unfortunately the Parish Council was unable to get the notices posted on any of the Parish Notice Boards until the last day and a half, or the Parish Council website or Facebook page until only hours were left until the final deadline for nominations for mid-day on April 11th!

 

When villagers enquired as to what had happened to the notices, initially the clerk said the notices had been posted on April 3rd but after further investigation he had to admit that it had not happened at all due to a mis-communication with the ranger and lack of a website editor. This no doubt prompted many quick phone calls and activity to correct the situation, albeit a little late and also resulting in incomplete and/or inaccurate posts by the PC (more on that later).

 

Although concerned about the lack of key communication not reaching those without internet access, North Somerset were content that the publication of the election on their website and notice boards in WSM, as well as on BOB, had already yielded some response so were happy to let things continue but promised a review of procedures to help ensure this could not occur again. 

 

This oversite by the PC is hard to understand as:

  • Our clerk is very well qualified in parish procedures, as seen by his frequent references to polices, procedures and government acts in correspondence to parishioners. Yet, the clerk also stated in the Mercury "The difficulty is that a small group of people has called for an election whereas it could have been filled quite easily by the parish council".
  • The Parish Council Village News had been already been published with the PC asking us to watch the notice boards. Yet, its article on 'What Price Democracy?' states "It will be great if we have a load of community-minded people come forward wanting to be parish councillors. But I won't hold my breath".
  • Our Parish Council was awarded Quality Status and all that entailed in 2004 and again in 2009.

This is the first call for an election since 1999, which ended in a co-option as there was only one candidate, so the Parish Council & clerk can perhaps be forgiven for being a little out of democratic practice.

 

So, what now..... Despite the lack of official communication within the parish there are 4 nominations for only 3 vacancies, perhaps there could have been more with better communications and time. So, we are going to have an election poll (subject to no-one withdrawing) on May 9th. Our democratic choice of 3 will be the first election poll since 1998 and surely has to be much much better than a co-option interview process.

 

The very best of luck and success to candidates and BOB sincerely hopes that this process will result in more democratic and transparent PC activities, and a more informed Bleadon electorate through improved and detailed communication from the PC.

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