GDC Social Policy 2 – Community House / Community Participation in Policy Making

I would like to commend Cnr Bauld on his (recent) position that says Council need to take some local leadership in coordinating social development efforts in the region. I would also like to acknowledge that other Councillors and many people in the community have been saying the same thing for many years.  

A Community House is one, but not necessarily the most important or effective, way of taking some leadership on the complex issues involved in this area.  The ‘redundancies and inefficiencies’ in the sector that Cnr Bauld talks about are not ‘obvious to all of us’ and need to be articulated clearly and agreed upon by key stakeholders (funders, providers, Council and users of services) before effective action can be undertaken to address the causes of the inefficiencies and ineffectiveness of the current systems and structures that exist.   

The GDC Social Policy statement should be the document guiding this kind of conversation – but unfortunately the one that was adopted does not help at all. It had inadequate (read: almost no) input from stakeholders in its design (purpose, content and structure) and its contents are not particularly useful in determining how Council should take local leadership in this area – in fact by imposing the agenda of a few individuals, Council may have pre-determined the parameters of the policy. I hope this is not the case.

 I recommend that the Community Development Committee lead a much wider discussion within the community about what role Council should have in social development and a review of the new Social Policy be undertaken with wide community input before the end of the year.   

Manu Caddie

1 August 2007

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