An Example of Bad Governance

Boldmere Futures Partnership were desperate to save the Christmas Lights Festival and made a last-ditch appeal to Sutton Coldfield Town Council for help! They hoped the ‘Amenities Committee’ would be sympathetic – faint hope I am afraid – the response was more akin to that of Mr. Bumble in Oliver Twist.

We now know from the statement by Simon Ward in the Observer that ‘Boldmere Futures Partnership’ did not follow due process – always the last refuge of a bureaucrat who has made a poor decision.

Statements like “I am deeply uncomfortable with the overall cost of the Boldmere Christmas Event” suggests he had sight of the application prior to the Amenities Committee Meeting and the decision was already made before it took place. Sorry to say that this is another example of poor governance where decisions are made in private and then announced in public.

He also asserts that BCC should provide the extra funding – why? Vesey residents fund roughly a quarter of the Council’s income yet decisions are made to the detriment of the ward and the larger town by non-Vesey Councillors. The Vesey Councillors are marginalised and the ‘two’ conservative Vesey Councillors either have no say or have forgotten their duty to the residents and are too busy trying to climb the ‘Greasy Pole.’

Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council was prepared to subsidise the ‘Concert in the Park’ to the tune of £25 per head (£6.25 of which came from Vesey residents) but refuses £1 per head for the Boldmere Christmas Festival to keep people safe!

There is a growing demand for an urgent review of the council’s structures and procedures many of which are not fit for purpose. Several Councillors should be considering their positions over this fiasco.


Printed by the Royal Sutton Observer on their letters page 10/11/2017

Boldmere Christmas Lights – 2017

We now have the official statement on behalf of ‘Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council’ and their reasons for declining the emergency funding request. A request that resulted from the need to fund a substantial increase in security which could not be foreseen during the planning of the event.

I have a few observations which I have annotated below in red: –

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Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council town clerk, Olive O’Sullivan, said: “The town council is sorry to hear that the Boldmere Christmas Lights event has been cancelled.

The view expressed by committee was that the community grant in the Four Oaks, New Hall and Trinity wards should not be spent on an event in the Vesey ward, particularly when the other local centres would not have a festive light switch on event in their local areas. (What about the Gracechurch Centre? The other areas do not have an established event and the council just needed to increase the budget to overcome this issue. With over £1m in reserves of which £250k has come from Vesey Residents one would have thought this would not be a problem.)

If a local centre wanted to do something over and above what the town council is providing in terms of festive lights then that activity should be funded locally. (This suggests that the residents have no say in the matter. It also adds weight to the argument that the budget should be under the control of Ward Councillors and not an ‘Appointed Committee’ which is not representative of the wards. The Amenities Committee has 4 Trinity, 2 Four Oaks, 1 New Hall and 1 Vesey Councillor.)

The council appreciates that rising costs of road closures and stewarding for events means that the Boldmere Futures Partnership had to make some difficult decisions about the event.” (The decision by council left us no option but to cancel as the Councillors who are also members of the Boldmere Futures Partnership one of whom sits on the Amenities Committee were aware. The lack of empathy with the impact on Boldmere and the wider community who have supported the event for 5 years is disappointing)

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