Wandsworth council is often referred to as the flagship conservative council. It has often been praised by Uncle Eric, who we all know is a fan of flags (-unsure about ships though) and he is big big fan of sycophants.
Wandsworth has always kept council tax low; not moaned about its (very generous) settlement and been a vocal supporter of Tory local government policy. In recent years though, Wandsworth has described itself as the ‘Brighter Borough’. I understand this has nothing to do with its southern latitude - there really are civilised councils further south of The River. Neither is it connected to the rumour that Wandsworth’s leaders basks in the warming sunlight that they believe radiates from the Secretary of State’s super massive blackhole of a backside - a suggestion which even Prof Brian Cox would not describe as ‘amazing and beautiful’.
I understand it is connected to the spurious claim that is has the highest percentage of graduates in its population. This irks its northern neighbour who may now decide call themselves ‘The filthy rich borough’ and another Sarf London neighbour who may go with the more simple – ‘The filthy borough’.
All the jazz about how bright Wandsworth is has been inspired from a recent blog by the Chief Executive of Wandsworth. Is he and the council as really as bright as they say? Below is my latest FoI request:
Paul Martin the Chief Executive of Wandsworth ‘The Brighter Borough’ Council had a few things to say about the value of Uncle Eric’s diktat that all council publish expenditure data. (See: http://www.guardian.co.uk/public-leaders-network/blog/2012/feb/20/paul-martin-wandsworth-council-open-initiative). In his blog piece he said:
“It's a huge amount of information, but without analysis and comparisons raw numbers are meaningless. To illustrate the point, I have just looked at the Department for Communities and Local Government web pages on spending over £500. I defy anyone to discover anything useful from this process.”
Given that Wandsworth Council have been a loyal and fervent supporter of the Conservative party this criticism must hurt Uncle Eric.
Has DCLG conducted any research that they are prepared to share that provides evidence that there is tangible value in councils and DCLG publishing this bumf and clogging up the interweb? If so we can conclude the Brighter Borough is now a little dimmer? Or if no evidence exists, do we know if Paul Martin is suggesting Eric Pickles is a bit of a dunce?
Yours intellectually challengedDerek