When I mention good governance you might switch off and think about more interesting things.
Are you fed up with politicians who never listen to you?
Are you fed up with politicians who don’t do what they say they will?
Are you fed up with politicians who have one set of rules for them and another for you?
Do you feel disenfranchised and disconnected to the decision making that affects your daily life?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, then actually you may be interested in good governance after all.
So, what is good governance?
When it comes to local government it means ensuring that you and I are treated fairly and honestly by the people elected to represent us.
Decision makers must be accountable to those who will be affected by the decisions, actions, and regulations that they are responsible for creating. Poor decisions should be called out, and effective remedies made available to address them.
Openness and transparency
Decision making must be based on information that is understandable and freely and readily available to all those who will be affected by it. All decisions must be demonstrably made and enforced in accordance with agreed rules and regulations, which much also be open and transparent.
Stakeholders must be consulted in order to understand their different interests and reach a broad consensus on what is in the best interest of all stakeholders.
Representation and participation
Elections are conducted freely and fairly. Citizens are at the centre of all public activity and everybody has the right to participate and be heard. All voices, including those of the less privileged and most vulnerable are listened to and considered when decision making. Decisions are taken according to the will of the many while respecting the rights and interests of the few.
Processes and services should be designed and delivered within a reasonable timeframe and serve the best interests of stakeholders.
Governance that provides the opportunity for its stakeholders to look after, enhance and improve their wellbeing provides the most compelling reason for its existence and value to society.
Resources should be used efficiently and their effectiveness should be reviewed regularly with a view to reduce waste and improve performance.
The needs of citizens is always placed before individual interests. Where conflicts of interest arise, they must be declared promptly and persons involved must abstain from decision making.
Rule of law
Rules and regulations are fair and adopted and enforced without fear or favour.
Decision makers must be skilled and motivated to deliver good governance. Practical and procedural support should be given to ensure good results.
Hopefully you will agree that these are all desirable goals?
I believe these are all important requirements of governance, whether by a community group, local or national government, or international bodies.
Good governance is so important, and pushing to bring it to Tiverton and Mid Devon is one of the main reasons why I am standing to represent Castle Ward.