The power of 100 schoolchildren!

April 9, 2007 11:02 PM

Rochdale Council are set to put power in the hands of schoolchildren, if Liberal Democrat proposals are carried through after the May Elections. Currently, any 2 Councillors can "call-in" any decision that the Council's Cabinet makes, this then has to be referred back to the relevant Council Committee for further scrutiny. If the Lib Dems retain power on the Borough's Council from May, 100 people including schoolchildren can come together to force the Council to think again about any decisions they have made that affects them.

Council Leader - Councillor Alan Taylor said, "This Council is answerable to you, the residents. At the moment, our decisions can be called in for review only by other councillors. We are proposing that Council decisions can be called in by any one hundred residents - and that includes 100 schoolchildren if a decision has been made affecting them. This will enable more public involvement in our decision making. Over the last year we have seen a few examples of the public coming together to campaign on particular issues. These include issues over libraries which we listened to and reversed the decision. What we are proposing is far more radical - Our Council can have a huge impact on resident's lives. Whether this be closing schools, cutting down trees or huge regeneration projects. Who has the right to force the Council to think again - especially if that decision is controversial?"

At present the Local Government Act 2000 means that only Councillors can force us to think again. Councillor Alan Taylor said, "This is about extending democracy - we are extending the right of the people of the Borough to hold us to account. We are already proving with the implementation of our 'People's Champion', or the improvements to our 'One Stop Shops' that we are committed to being a listening Council. We want to take that a step further - in the last few months we have seen the children of Springhill School conduct themselves superbly over potential changes to their education. That is why this Council will seriously revisit decisions 'called-in' by them or any other 100 residents in our Town."