Councillors Conference

Notes from councillors’ conference - 2 July 2011

Facing 2012

Pauline Jarman [Rhondda Cynon Taf] outlined the process of the RCT Group in preparing for the 2012 elections which included a Postal Vote strategy. In 2008 only 200 votes across the county cost Plaid a dozen seat.

The advice is that a candidate’s name should go through a letter box seven times in a ward before Election Day. Her advice was that newsletters should always have a positive slant even if being critical of opponents. Manifesto priorities appear to be education, highways, car parking charges, crime and disorder.

The RCT Group are focussing on family friendly policies, affordable school dinners, economical meals on wheel. Cyber crime, child neglect and domestic abuse appear to be growing issues.

RCT Plaid are determine not to allow Labour to dominate the council agenda.

John Taylor’s advice was to hold friendly coffee mornings as an alternative to formal surgeries, letters to specific streets, a Christmas card and quarterly newsletters. Councillors’ calling cards and full colour Councillors’ Business cards and street surgeries are all well tried methods of positive contact with the public.

Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM Plaid’s Local Government and Transport Spokesperson focussed on the election and a vision for Plaid. The challenge is to provide quality services within the financial constraints. He objected to the bullying attitude of the Welsh Government expressed at the WLGS Conference. He offered no support for reorganisation but urged greater co-operation.  The Karl Sergeant attitude of ‘Do it or I’ll force you’ was objectionable. RGT asked to be kept informed of Plaid successes in councils.

Delegates highlighted areas where councils were already co-operating across a range of services.

He stated that the sacking of the Boundary Commission for Local Government was little more than a smoke screen for Labours failings.

 Simon Thomas AM Education spokesperson warned of drift by Labour. The Welsh Government offered no progress, no aspiration or targets, eg Funding, or tax powers. He noted the huge success of Plaid’s housing Policies. Labour has no affordable home targets. He urged that we did not allow Holtham to be ignored and we should lead the debate.

 He stated that the drift towards centralisation in Cardiff bay must be resisted.  Labour seem to want to work through Directors by passing councillors. There is a danger of power being taken from local communities and a growth of unaccountability.

During question time Pauline Jarman highlighted Labour’s failure on laptops. Simon reported that he was continuing to investigate this issue. He added that there was a fear that PFI was being introduced via the back door. This was especially the case when it came to the 21 Century school programme.  Labour look as though they will pass the funding buck to councils. Education spending is being stained due to issues such as the increasing cost of student grants. The ‘Build for Wales’ bonds policy needs to be revisited suggested some councillors.

Simon expressed the wish to meet with group leaders

Plaid Cymru Councillors Association 

Chair Phil Bevan    

Secretary  Chris Franks

Treasurer John Taylor

National Executive  Phil Bevan    

Town and Community Councils 

Del Morgan  cllr. 

Editor of ‘Cyngor’ newsletter

Sian Thomas