The Local Government Association has launched, my council, a new campaign to help people understand the range of services that local councils provide. The first poster appeals to me. A positive image that isn’t the most obvious service.
The posters include a drunk woman vomiting on the street, a close-up of
a dog fouling in a park, alongside captions of how councils deal with
binge drinking and keep the streets and parks clean.
All well and good.
The Press Release goes on to say:
“Most people just think that the council collects the bins and they
haven’t the faintest clue of the vast range of services that town halls
provide. From archaeology to zoology, from cradle to grave, councils
provide over 800 services to improve people’s lives and help them get
safe and sound through the day.
I’m concerned that most people might think that archaeologists belong in universities and zoologists in zoos rather than working for their local council. I’m worried that most people might hear "800 services" and think that’s why council tax is so high. I’m sure the A-Z looks good when you’re writing a press release like this, but I’m not sure it reflects the poster campaign nor what councils really want to say.
However from a democracy point of view the campaign’s focus on service provision rather than community leadership is disappointing and unambitious. Nothing about the role the council has in shaping the community, through planning or transport, nothing about support in emergencies and nothing about getting people involved in the democratic process.
I’m sure they will all come out in a later phase of the campaign.