It is time that Thanet District Council's elected members faced up to the fact that the council has not lived up to expectation.
The Council's own Standard Committee recognise this failure but the councillors have chosen to reject this out of hand. The report said that
the Council is held in low regard by the public [Joanne Pearman, Standards Committee report dated 21 November 2013: 2.8]. They went on to say
The independent members of the Standards Committee are of the mind that this situation cannot be allowed to continue if Thanet District Council and its Councillors are to be viewed as true leaders within the District. The dominant view of the Council and its elected members must be rehabilitated as a matter of urgency. [Ibid., 4.1]
Over the past three years I have been doing a lot of research and talking to a lot of different people about bringing in change to our council. While a lot of people agree that our council is not what it should be it has not always been clear what we can do about it. A few very real and possible options are open to us.
Of these few options the most actionable is that we the people of Thanet take what amounts to a vote of no confidence in the leadership of the council and force a significant change in the way it is organised, lead and the way it is run.
There is legal precedent for doing this and a requirement can be made to force the council to hold a formal referendum on the matter in which we, the people of Thanet, will vote and by which the council will be bound to the outcome.
Obviously there are certain requirements that must be met to achieve this and it must be carried out in a specific manner but we do have the right to hold the council to account and to force change upon them if they will not voluntarily change.
The chances are that we will only get the one shot at making this change so it is important that it is done right.
I feel that this is something that must be done sooner rather than later. The secrecy and corruption seen within Thanet's wayward council must come to an end.
I will be writing more about how we can make this happen.