At the meeting of the council’s Executive Committee earlier this week, the draft text of the Annual Plan 2018-2019 was presented for approval. This is an important document, setting out what the council will do over the next year. Discussion lasted all of eleven minutes – including pauses because of noise from outside the council chamber.
Only one serious comment was made – by a non-Executive Committee councillor. This comment echoed criticisms that the Eye has made for a number of years about council objectives – name that they are often written so vaguely that it’s impossible to judge later whether or not they have been achieved. It was said that this applied to about a third of the objectives in the draft text. One example cited was: “Maximise every opportunity to better use our land and buildings”. The intent was generally laudable – the vagueness was not.
But why feel insulted? Well, the (brief) discussion was about the content of the document. No problem. But it was said that the final version would be accompanied by a “fluffy bit so the public can understand it a bit better”. Do you, dear reader, need a ‘fluffy bit’ in order to understand simple text?? No, we thought not. (The text is at the bottom of the meeting’s agenda paper, which you’ll find HERE – are the words too difficult for you?)
In reality, we don’t feel too insulted. But maybe it’s time for the council to think critically about what it’s doing. How many members of the public actually read the Annual Plan? Not many, we suggest. And we suggest that those few who do read it would prefer that costs should be kept to a minimum by NOT adding any superfluous ‘fluffy bits’. The Eye is certainly amongst their number. Put the effort into improving the quality instead.