How did it go?
It showed that the new Council is full of ideas and determined to make a difference to the town but needs the help of others to achieve their ambitions. The new Councillors are learning the processes of the Council chamber and it is a steep learning curve.
Public questions need to be restricted to two minutes per question, approval of the minutes of meetings will become more streamlined, constructing proposals and voting on them will become smoother and the techniques for making clear decisions will improve with time but overall the outlook for this Council is very positive. The trick will be maintaining this enthusiasm after a setback or two. We wish them every success with their ambitions.
What are their priorities?
- Firstly they will review the standing orders and financial regulations to help them achieve their objective of a more participative Council working more closely with the community.
- Revisiting the Neighbourhood plan is high on their list but this will be led from outside the Council, possibly by the D&K Society.
- Health and Wellbeing is a big priority and Cllr Vardy made a proposal to form a new joint group bringing together the many stakeholders in this area, to discuss and negotiate a positive way forward for healthcare in Dartmouth.
- Improved two way communications is central to the ambitions of this Council and Cllr Campos proposed the formulation of a communications strategy maybe involving a new subcommittee. We believe this idea is central to changing the way the Council interacts with the community and we encourage the Councillors to embrace Cllr. Campos’s ideas.
We intend to help the Council in their ambitions by reporting on Council meetings as often as we can, but the attendance last night suggest the town is much more engaged in local Council politics than they were. This interest is also reflected in our experience with our last post reaching 210 people with social media adding over 2000 more in Dartmouth.