We write in response to the recent letter in your pages from Boston Labour councillors about Boston Borough Council having achieved the standard to qualify for an East Midlands Councils Councillor Development Charter.
They imply that the charter was bought, railroaded through by the Conservatives, that opposition councillors’ views were completely ignored during the accreditation visit and opposition good ideas are always rejected by the cross party Councillor Development Group which has a Conservative majority.
This is all totally untrue.
Boston Borough Council first made the decision to aim to achieve the status at a full council meeting on June 28 2006. At that time no group had overall control of the council and Labour who had 12 members were part of the administration with three members on the cabinet. Coun Kenny was a member of the Cabinet at that time and Coun Goodale a member of the council.
This decision was reaffirmed at full council on June 28 2010 when the council was controlled by the BBI and a cross party Councillor Development Group was formed to take the initiative forward as a priority.
The present Conservative administration continued with the initiative after taking control in 2011.
We don’t think you could have more cross party consensus than this.
The cross party Councillor Development Group consists of five conservative, one Independent, one Boston District Independent, one Labour and one English Democrat. They have worked well together with the majority including the Labour Group making positive contributions towards the aim of the council to enable and make adequate provision for the development of its elected members and a commitment to continued development to better help them do their job. All ideas and suggestions are carefully considered by the group and many including Labour suggestions are adopted.
The assessment team looked for evidence that the systems and processes were in place to support and deliver councillor development, they also listened and sought evidence to support comments made by all councillors.
The suggestion that the award of Charter Status was bought is absolutely ridiculous. The £999 paid for the attendance of the assessment team and dealing with the council’s application. It is rather like someone taking their driving test. You think you are good enough but you have to pay to be assessed and get your licence.
We would like to remind the three Boston Labour Councillors that they are not ‘the opposition’ and should not use the collective ‘opposition’ when talking about themselves. The other opposition members on the Councillor Development Group represent 11 members, over a third of the council and can speak for themselves.
Michael Brookes (Con), Alison Austin (BDI), Alan Lee (Ind)
Councillor Development Group