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Empowering Communities

February 22, 2021 8:00 AM

Happy Family

Liberal Democrats think local people should be involved in local decisions. It ought to be common- sense.

But right now, too many decisions made at County Hall in Trowbridge are remote from most people across our large, rural county.

So we want to change how Wiltshire Council operates to bring decision-making closer to the communities who are affected.

At the moment, policies are decided by a Cabinet formed of a small number of councillors at the offices in Trowbridge. This has meant too few people holding too much power too far away from most of us. It means limited debate. It has led to poor, unimaginative decisions.

Instead, Liberal Democrats propose to replace the Cabinet system with an alternative based on more power for the existing 18 Area Boards - the groups made up of the local councillors for an area.

Our plan involves creating four assemblies each based on a group of Area Boards. As Area Boards are formed of the locally elected Wiltshire councillors, this means more decisions for each area being taken by councillors elected in that area. The assemblies will be able to pool resources where it makes sense, for example clubbing together to fund a youth service.

Good Area Boards already have strong links with local town and parish councils. As they are given more powers, we expect this relationship to strengthen. We will also consider using citizens' assemblies, panels and juries to ensure residents' views are more formally represented in the
decision-making process.

We believe our proposals will bring more of your views to the decision-making process, more energy and better outcomes. This can only be to the benefit of us all.