📄 Council merger and democratic accountability

From  Phil Munday
(Chair of St Faiths & Emsworth Labour Party)
To  Michael Wilson
(Leader of Havant Borough Council)
20 November 2020

Dear Councillor Wilson,

I am writing as Chair of St Faiths and Emsworth Labour Party and also on behalf of all our approximately 400 party members.

I wrote to you a few weeks back when you were making decisions about merging the workforce of Havant Borough Council with East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) to express my concern at the lack of open discussion on this matter.

We understand that there is now a discussion about developing a shared constitution with EHDC, which of concern to us.

These decisions have far reaching consequences, which are not being openly discussed amongst residents, or even amongst councillors of different parties.

The consequenceof these decisions means that we are ceding control of our services which
are currently tailored to the specific needs of Havant residents because our needs are in many ways very different from those of East Hampshire, which is predominantly a rural community.

We do have several questions about the implications of these changes.

  1. Presumably the plan is being introduced to save money.  Is there a business plan open for scrutiny, which can show how savings will be made? 
  2. Are we expecting this to lead to redundancies amongst our staff? 
  3. It is expected that there will be implementation costs.  Projecting
    forward, how soon will we be making savings and of what order of magnitude? 
  4. How easy will it be to unravel some of these changes if local government reorganisation leads to a new and different
    structure of local government?
  5. Lastly, telephone and email communication with the Council is currently very poor with little or no follow up to queries or complaints.  I have several examples I have shared with Jackie Branson, who is one of our ward Councillors.  Is this really likely to improve with more services shared with another council?

We are very aware that currently our Council has a large majority of Conservative councillors and therefore does not truly reflect the views of the all residents.

Even at our low point at the last General Election we represent approximately 19% of the Havant electorate.

We therefore request a meeting with you as a delegation to discuss these matters, which are important to the democratic accountability of Havant Residents.

I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,

Phil Munday

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