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Mayoral Manifesto 2016 - Local Democracy

Bristol is a great city and it can be so much better!

The Green Mayor and Bristol’s Green Party Council candidates wish to see Bristol continue as the leading Green city in the UK with a clear vision of a more sustainable, better future. Our particular focus in 2016 is on Clean and Affordable Energy, A Decent Home for Everyone, 21st Century Education and Skills and Sustainable Transport and Clean Air.

Tony Dyer - Green Party candidate for mayor

 

The Mayoral system of governance must diffuse power away from the centre if Bristol is to have open, plural and transparent democracy that puts the needs of citizens first.

In 2014, only 34% of citizens were satisfied with the way Bristol City Council runs things (Quality of Life in Bristol Report, 2014-2015). The biggest issues causing dissatisfaction in 2014 were: budget issues (cuts, taxes and BCC decision making on what to spend money on), 20 mph limit, Residents’ parking, public transport, not enough communication, consultation (feeling that the council doesn’t listen), waste and recycling collections.

All of these issues could be better handled, not least by diverting resources towards employing more community engagement officers who can keep in touch with what is happening on the ground, and ensure better and more active communication channels with citizens.

A Green Mayor will:

  • prioritise effective and truthful communication about what they and Bristol City Council are aiming to do in the present and the future
  • put democracy at the heart of their administration by introducing a dedicated Assistant Mayor role for democracy and transparency
  • consider creating forums for Bristol's parliamentary constituencies, so that MPs have an accountable framework for engaging Neighbourhood Partnerships and residents beyond their surgeries
  • consider electing all Neighbourhood Partnership members by secret postal ballot of the whole area

  • implement term limits on Neighbourhood Partnership membership to encourage a more diverse range of people from different backgrounds and perspectives to become involved in local decision-making

  • ensure former members of Neighbourhood Partnerships can still sit on local sub-groups, so that their expertise and experience is still retained 

  • pioneer new ways of giving fiscal power to local people to make decisions and ensure value for money, but not necessarily through the sometimes bureaucratic Neighbourhood Partnership structures

  • hold regular, open space meetings in each council ward, with local residents, councillors and relevant council officers in attendance so people feel directly connected to the Mayoral office

  • push more Cabinet level decisions out to Neighbourhood Partnerships, and give ordinary Scrutiny members a closer and more clearly defined role in citywide policy formation

  • campaign for the government to use Bristol as a pilot for proportional representation for local elections

  • campaign for the government to introduce Votes At 16 for all elections 

  • pioneer e-democracy for local government, with dedicated "Ask Me Anything" sessions for social media users, bringing the Mayor's attention to a wider breadth of issues

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