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Business lunch focuses on local government reform

His Worship the Mayor of Douglas Councillor David Ashford JP outlined the Council’s stance on local government reform when he hosted the Mayor’s annual business lunch on Friday March 15th.


Copy of GroupDSC 3280 MediumHis Worship with members, officers and guests at the annual business lunch


His Worship’s remarks were set against the background of the Isle of Man Government’s ‘agenda for change’ proposals that are looking at new roles for central and local government and alternative means of service delivery.


MayorRoseDSC 3248 MediumHis Worship with Rose FleurbaayAddressing guests drawn from the business and finance sectors he said that as uncertainty continued to surround the future size and scope of local authorities in the Island, the Council believed that the time had come ‘to renew and reinvent the missions of central and local government in response to the urgency of changed times.’ He continued: ‘To disperse power more widely, restructure local government and transfer functions from government so local authorities have greater freedom to make best use of public money and work towards achieving long-term cost savings.’


DWCRichardButtDSC 3225 MediumCouncil leader David Christian JP with Isle of Man Newspapers' editor Richard ButtHis Worship explained: ‘It is local authorities, not central government, that are closer and more directly accountable to their communities and can coordinate and deliver services more effectively in their towns and villages,’ adding: ‘This Council does, however, applaud the government for initiating the “agenda for change” debate, a debate that is clearly set to occupy hearts and minds for some considerable time to come.’


Referring to alternative means of service delivery he said it was about ‘re-thinking the way services, historically delivered through central government, could be transferred to other providers, including the voluntary or third sector.’


RitchieDSC 3252 MediumGed Power, Isle of Man Golf Tours, Councillor Ritchie McNicholl, John Horsthuis, Robinson's Fresh Foods and Hamish Ross, Douglas Development Partnership


To this end he said the Council had resolved to engage with members of the Council of Voluntary Organisations (CVO) to identify opportunities for partnership working, and recgonised that the depth of professional expertise within the CVO ‘can be a force for economic and social change’.


CarolBillDSC 3244 MediumJoerg Vanselow, Döhle, Councillor Carol Malarkey and Bill Mummery, Celton ManxIn supporting a shift away from central government to local authorities and specialist organisations His Worship said: ‘We need more than just flexibility and freedom. We need legislation that recognises the competence of local authorities. Legislation that gives them the power to work in partnership with affiliates in the business and third sectors to be more creative, more innovative.  And legislation that will help drive down costs and deliver value for money to their ratepayers.


‘Simply put, it’s not about doing things differently; it’s about doing things better.’


GeoffGroupDSC 3239 MediumBorough treasurer Geoff Bolt, Sam Lewis, Energy FM, Steph Tiesteel, 3FM and Juan Kelly, Conister Bank