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Ealing and Northfield

New portfolio

Ealing TownhallThe Ealing Times is reporting on the new cabinet, see here. This information was published on the Ealing Council website. Like most things on the website it is a bit obscure but it is there! Follow this link to see one of the papers for the Annual Council meeting next Tuesday.

The Annual Council is a short formal meeting which marks the start of the municipal year, sees the election of a new mayor and deputy and ratifies the council leader’s choice of cabinet. He has asked me to take on a new portfolio called Customer and Community Services. This incorporates most areas of the council where we deal with the general public, everything from the help desk to libraries.

The full list is:

· Customer Services
· Benefits Service
· Parking Services
· Adult education
· Advice Services
· Heritage (including Heritage Quarter)
· Halls and community centres (except Hanwell Community Centre)
· Sport and leisure centres/strategy
· Sports development
· Events
· Libraries
· Pitzhanger Manor
· Arts and museums
· Registrars
· Voluntary and Community Sector
· Grants
· Allotments
· Animal protection
· Cemeteries
· Countryside Service
· Golf courses
· Parks
· Public toilets (parks and open spaces)
· Tourism
· Town twinning

Now that the London mayoral elections are over and I have been promoted I have been thinking about where to go with the blog. I will be keeping it up and I will continue to scrutinise the mayor. Although we have a Conservative mayor, and he is a man I admire and like, I fully expect there to be lots of issues to tackle. The Johnson administration is not going to get everything right all the time and even if it did the officers implementing the policies will need watching.

As a portfolio holder I will not want to conduct business by blog so I will not cover anything from my portfolio except maybe to highlight official announcements.

As a local councillor I will continue to bring ward issues up here and you would expect me to take my fellow cabinet members to task if they let Northfield down and don’t respond to quiet persuasion.

2 replies on “New portfolio”

Phil,

As a reactionary unionist conservative (with both a small “c” and a big “C”) I am a firm believer in the laws (custom, statute, and precedent) that this country has evolved through the philosophy of Utlitarianism that hold everything together.

We have many fine laws and a legal and political system that weathers fad and fashion, and one area that is worthy of investigation is that of local council by-laws (A bylaw (sometimes also spelled by-law or byelaw) most commonly refers to a city or municipal law or ordinance).

These are based on central government legislation and Ealing has evolved a good set of these (I have seen around twenty categories applied to Ealing) over th past century covering a number of different areas.

These make it possible for Council Officers (and by implication Councillors) to implement things like stopping people dumping rubbish, urinating on the pavement, and the like, in a way that is specific to Ealing.

I believe that you would find these interesting and useful in your new role IMPLEMENTING a better Ealing…

These by-laws are not easy to find. Not too long ago Ealing Council’s Democracy Departments had no idea what I was talking about when I rang them up to see where I could get copies of them (after being passed around a bit I was told that I would have to wait until the Head of Democracy was in)… they passed me onto the Legal Department who said that there were many areas of the by-laws and if I wanted copies of the information that they researched for me I would have to pay £150 per hour for research time… The Ealing Reference Library service did its best, but no-one seemed to know what I was talking about (this was hampered by the fact that most of Reference was in storage over the Ealing Library fiasco–though they did ring Southall and Acton to see if anyone knew anything about the by-laws). When Ealing Central Library Reference Section was in place in the Ealng Broadway Shopping Centre a fairly complete (?) set of by-laws and guidelines were kept in a box file behind the main Reference Reception Desk, however, no-one seems to know where this has gone.

The by-laws are definitely not availble on the Ealing Council website (who knows why?).

If you can find these without incurring a £1,500 Legal Department services bill they make interesting reading and cover many areas of public order that would make Ealing a better place.

For example, in the of Allotment Management Ealing has uefull and comprehensive LAWS in place for the management and operation of allotments that have stood the test of time — these are based on Central Government Legislation developed in conjunction with the pre-decessors of DEFRA (DEFRA also has much information on the management and operation of alotments; and of course there are the model allotments that the Kew Diploma Students have to run during the first year of their three year Diploma Course in Kew Gardens that are open for all to view).

Rather than relying on these tried, tested, reasoned and scientific principles for the operation of its allotments, Ealing Council has instead assembled some “Best Practice Guidelines” that have no legal or scientific standing.

Simply by bringing the awareness of the bylaws to the notice of the Parks and Countryside Officers perhaps order might be restored to Ealing’s semi-derelict and mismanage allotment sites and improve life for Ealing residents.

We have huge areas of misused and derelict allotments in Ealing that are being used for a) insect farms, b)”Scrapheap Challenge” style structure construction, and c)are simply not being used for what they were intended.

I know that I keep on carping on about this, but living on Ranelagh Road I continue to marvel how a first-world country like the UK can allow such mis-use and mismanagement of public land as the Ascott Allotments behind my house.

Overseas visitors to my house (particularly from Germany and Holland) are suprised by why there is a rubbish dump behind my house and I know that the few serious food cultivators and vegetable growers find the environment strange: for example there are no toilets on a site that allegedly has 150 allotment plots.

Enough on that theme… I believe that you might find the Ealing By-laws a useful toolkit in your new multi-disciplinary “vertical role in Ealing Council; and I would be interested in seeing the by-laws accessible on-line.

As ever,

Maggie.

P.S. Keep hunting those fly-tippers!

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