The Bracknell Forest Liberal Democrats have today (13 September 2023) brought a motion to Bracknell Forest Council seeking to secure a stronger voice for local residents in Council decision making.
Speaking in the council chamber this evening, Liberal Democrat Councillor Patrick Smith will say:
“Research published over the last few years has found public trust in politics to be at its lowest ever level and in continued decline, with significant impacts particularly attributed to scandals surrounding senior government ministers during and in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic.
Polling by the Institute of Public Policy Research shows that citizens increasingly feel they lack representation and voice in how society is governed. This is resulting in escalating democratic disengagement, increased political polarisation, and less effective and less progressive government.
At the local level – on the doorstep, in our inboxes and on social media – residents are telling us that they don’t feel listened to, that they are struggling to access public services and support from the Council, and that their voices are not considered when the Council makes decisions which affect their lives. They are complaining that they are not receiving clear communication from the Council leadership and feel in the dark about what is going on in their communities.
In May this year residents voted for change, resulting in the largest shake-up in the make-up of Bracknell Forest Council in a generation. The new leadership of the Council have talked with passion and conviction about putting residents first and listening to their concerns. We believe these to be true and honest intentions. But strong words need to be backed up with decisive action.
Every member in this chamber has a role to play in this – ensuring that we always act with integrity and in the best interests of residents, representing their concerns and fighting for their issues. But this is particularly true of our Executive, with Executive Members responsible for making many significant decisions which directly affect residents in a wide range of ways.
This motion therefore calls upon the new Executive to report back to the Council on concrete, practical measures to enhance resident engagement and give residents a stronger, genuine voice in the Council’s business, ensuring that these principles are sufficiently prioritised and not forgotten.”