Every four years, residents in Medway get to decide who runs their council. It is quite easy to forget just how much of a wide span a council actually has – from housing to education, adult social care to the quality of roads, leisure facilities to food hygiene – a local council has many responsibilities.
Of course, serving nearly 300,000 people means trying to balance competing pressures.
Labour is the main opposition party, we continue to hold the Tory administration to account, highlighting when things could and should be done better and we work with them where there is consensus.
In less than nine months in the local elections of 2015 voters in Medway have their opportunity to decide which political party’s plans for our community are the right ones for them.
One criticism we repeatedly hear about the current Conservative administration is they do not listen, whether it is school closures, changing library facilities, building an overpriced “dynamic bus facility” or spending in excess of £4 million on a private airfield when there are potholes on so many Medway roads – residents repeatedly feel they are not listened to.
The Labour team are taking a radically different approach; we are asking what people’s priorities are and listening to them.
We have done that in a number of ways, by holding public meetings when the Conservatives in the council chamber simply refused to listen to the public. We have also held a series of issue specific meetings around Medway inviting participants from across the community on topics including housing, adult social care, crime and public health to test our policy ideas in discussion groups.
Most recently we launched The Medway Survey which will be going to tens of thousands of houses across Medway giving people a real and genuine opportunity to tell us how, under a Labour council, we could make Medway an even better place to live, work and learn. We’ll publish the results of the survey and show how the People’s priorities fit into our manifesto for change in Medway.