One of the things we love about this blog is the guest posts we receive from our readers. Some of them are from people keen to make a point, some from those wanting to discuss their work or workplace and some just want to start a debate. Today’s is firmly in that last category and we love it, even if we don’t necessarily agree with all of it. If you have a post you’d like to submit please send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org but not before you’ve enjoyed (and possibly responded to) this:
One of the aspects of WLLG that I enjoy as an avid reader is the ability it has to represent different views, reinforcing the notion that Local Government is not a homogenous entity but has different views. My last guest post was in defence of Eric Pickles, and the title of this one might be a surprise as well.
The Taxpayers’ Alliance is set up to represent the views of taxpayers in the UK and is a very successful campaigning organisation, which is well connected and well funded and has some very talented people working for it and in its alumnus. Its role is to hold public services to account for the public money that we spend and to point out waste and inefficiency: this makes it perfectly understandable as to why certain people don’t like it; much like many have disliked Private Eye’s Rotten Borough column.
There is a real and legitimate role for organisations like the Alliance to hold public services to account for what they do and how they spend their money. I personally don’t believe that public organisations are any different to private organisations when it comes to waste and inefficiency, but I understand that as we are spending public money we need to be held to a different standard and a higher level of scrutiny. The Alliance does a good job of this but perhaps is insufficiently nuanced in how information is reported. There is a clear need to publish information that we as public services should, but often when that information is published the context is missing.