We discussed two corporate documents, the Sutton Strategy and the Sutton Plan. The former is agreed by the Council and partner organisations such as the NHS Primary Care Trust and the Police. The latter is supposed to translate the LibDem manifesto into actions.
This is all well and good in theory and much of this was required to tick another box for national government in order to get funding but they both highlighted one fact. The documents explained what the Borough was like now and targets listing what they would like to do but there was precious little about how to do any of it. The section detailing implementation ran to a single page with even an Ethnic & Diversity Statement running to five. It clearly demonstrated the fact that the Liberal Democrats have become an unneccesary adjunct to the council; the Borough’s appendix if you will, with officers pushing on with running the show despite the LibDems rather than because of them.
The officers should be there running the day to day administration but the lead councillors are there to give political leadership, setting out their vision and keeping officers on the path to delivering this vision. The case in Sutton is that the majority party have run out of steam, hanging onto the coat-tails of the officers and the council’s partners.