Missed connections

Swindon Borough Council’s Connecting People Connecting Places programme — CP2 for short — appears to have a blog. I say ‘appears’ because the week old Connecting Swindon blog has received no publicity and is devoid of links from official sources. The only link I can find is that the Swindon Borough Council twitter account follows the Connecting Swindon blog’s twitter feed. With that level of publicity the blog is, for the moment, largely speaking to nobody.

Lack of publicity is not the only weak point of the Connecting Swindon blog. The latest posting is on events in the Town Centre cluster.

We will be continuing this form of local engagement over the next couple of weeks in the Eastcott area with an event at Groundwell Rd on Tuesday 10th November and in the central ward area later in the evening in the Manchester Road area followed by an event on Farringdon Road on Friday 13th November in the afternoon.

The next couple of weeks? They must be fans of time travel, as that was posted on 26th November. And this is the only publicity these events have received: they are not even mentioned on the cluster’s official page.

With poor publicity like this, one could be forgiven for thinking that the council does not really want to know the opinions of the community. If you read the job description for a cluster lead you may well be convinced that is so. The ‘people’ barely get a mention.

Work hand in hand with ward members to establish the framework for neighbourhood area forums including governance, membership and forward agendas.

So that’s zero community involvement in setting the local agenda.

The overall strategic vision and priorities are set by the local authorities and partners through the Community Strategy and the Local Area Agreement and other plans such as the Children and Young People’s Plan. The Neighbourhood Area Agreement will have a range of themes cascaded from those two documents, that the area forum will monitor and explore to achieve local community priorities.

Welcome to top-down planning. Far from being a meaningful conversation, CP2 appears to be a monologue.