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Friday, 22 September 2017

The Bath City Forum

Clearly the Bath City Forum is not an ideal solution nor does it go very far in addressing the Bath governance issue.

However, creating a subcommittee of the Council made up of Councillors with Bath city constituencies to focus on Bath city issues and make authoritative proposals to full council about the how to address city problems and opportunities does make some sense.

To assist in this work, it might also have made sense to set up links between key organisations in the city, such as the BID, CCAG, BTP, Police etc., and forum members. This might, in part, have been achieved by inviting groups to nominate representatives to sit in on Forum discussions.

We are considerably less clear why the council has gone down the route of appointing self nominated individuals to sit as effectively permanent members the subcommittee. The pool created are self-selected and represent only themselves.

Who made the selection from this rather narrow pool and what criteria did they use?

How can they be deselected?

To who, if anyone, will they feel answerable?

What are their priorities for and vision for Bath?

Some of those selected hold offices in organisations which have very clear and often controversial views on Bath City issues. Will they be acting independently or pursuing the agenda of these organisations?

What has the forum actually achieved? Many of their reported discussions appear to consist of political point scoring or grandstanding by individual members.

How much is the forum costing? Particular in the light of this already big committee spawning subcommittees. How much officer time is this absorbing?

Are councillors using referral of issues to  the forum as a way of avoiding confronting them?

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