Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Download the future

I'm conscious that my posting has been, well, absent for the last month. Let me be honest and say that after putting in the time at the council, looking after Orkneycommunities, and working till late in the evening/night to keep my business alive so that my life doesn't depend on being a OIC councillor I feel more like opening a bottle of home brew and/or heading out for a game of snooker than sailing into the blogosphere. But I'm not looking for sympathy- I'm unrepentant!

But like any good agnostic I suffer from both Catholic guilt and a Protestant work ethic, so here goes...

I'd like to pass on all the juicy stuff that will come out in due course, but can't, because until it gets the nod at a General Meeting nothing is confirmed. And don't assume that everything will get the nod, as that meeting can (and does) change recommendations and sends things back to the other committees for further rumination.

However, anyone who wants to know what's coming up can look at the committee papers up to a week in advance on the council website, as this council has been big on communication and the papers are posted assiduously. This is an important source of information- the local press and Radio Orkney get a lot of their stories from here, and if you are a councillor this is where you find what is happening on the committees that you are not on- it's a primary source, in research parlance.

But as it is not easy to find let me show you the way: http://tinyurl.com/25tk6r (the tinyurl thing is a handy way of condensing long web addresses to stop them being broken by line breaks- this free advice sponsored by Steven Heddle Consultancy of Kirkwall).

That link takes you to the page for the General Meetings, with papers for all other committees accessible through the links down the left.

In the next post I'll summarise some of the work of the last month, and give the schedule for the next round of meetings- but I feel the home brew calling now :-)

Surgery report

The surgery passed quietly, with only a few people showing up, but all with good and valid points to make, e.g. if the polling station is to move, why not have one in the Papdale area, such as at Lambaness or the BB Hall; why are buses still going up Palace Road when the Broad Street stops were meant to be phased out (although that doesn't seem to be the case in practice); can more be done to protect the shore at Weyland; and what are the rights of way between the Work Road and the shore?

All these are being acted upon, but the ways of the Council can be slow, or dependent on a waiting game being played to allow a funding stream to be opportunistically accessed. The key point for me is that it is important for the points to be raised at all, for if you don't ask, you don't get...

Thanks to all who came along. The numbers were such that doing the surgery any other way would have been overkill, so I can see us doing this again. Anybody in two minds about coming along should not be put off, as there was no element of public speaking, and very candid discussion.