Maybe if the Boundary Commission, in its current machinations, chooses the option of a slightly expanded Norwich as one area, a Gt Yarmouth and Waveney union as another and the rest of rural Norfolk as the remainder to form new councils, we’ll get some improvement.
Below are entries about my complaint to Norfolk County Council earlier this year. My letter here is the resolution of that complaint:
Norfolk County Council,
Hello Mr White.
Your ref: My Complaint Against Norfolk County Council
I have your letter of 20th October, 2008. For the inquiry into my 2nd stage complaint, I consented to delays in the process in the interests of a thorough and fair investigation. It was then, with compounded disappointment that I read Mr Hagon-Powley’s report.
Not only has he courted equivocality by the tactic of re-hashing my numbered points and extrapolating his own versions, he has ignored the central point: that Norfolk County Council in its work prior to April 1st 2008 preparatory to LINks was either ignorant of its own policies relating to equality and diversity and the national policy of Rural Proofing or it chose to disregard them for its own convenience.
My jaw dropped when I read that an officer of a local authority responsible for a largely rural county had written: “Holding the meetings near Norwich gave access to the largest populated areas…” It is astonishing that this centralist mindset persists in these days of awareness of rural social exclusion - well, awareness outside Norfolk anyway.
For illustration, Appendix 1) is an extract from the Norfolk County Council policy “Accessibility Matters 3.” Appendix 2) is from the Norfolk County Council “Disability Equality Scheme.” Appendix 3) is the introductory remarks on Rural Proofing from the DEFRA website. In addition the “The Model Code of Conduct for local authorities 2007” says: (2) You must not—(a) do anything which may cause your authority to breach any of the equality enactments (as defined in section 33 of the Equality Act 2006(14))…”
I remain undecided on a referral to the Ombudsman. My main objective is for Norfolk County Council to learn from its omissions and raise its awareness of matters relating to equality and diversity and respect its own related policies. I’m not sure if the Ombudsman would be able to take that forward.
Mike Llywelyn Cox.
c.c. Jo Richardson, Tony Tomkinson.