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Comment: Normandy Parish Council – What Went Wrong and What’s Being Done?

Published on: 2 Apr, 2021
Updated on: 8 Apr, 2021

Normandy resident Roshan Bailey, comments on the recent events affecting Normandy Parish Council. She has compiled her article with a small group of residents who are keen to see an elected Normandy Parish Council (NPC) up and running. They are very grateful to their researcher and to those who contributed to their review.

Roshan Bailey

On May 6, Normandy will have an opportunity to vote for a new parish council.

This is a turning point for the village, an opportunity to change the way Normandy’s affairs are managed by electing an effective, progressive and representative council. But an election needs candidates, and nomination papers have to be ready for checking by GBC Electoral Services by Tuesday, April 6.

The election arises from the resignations of all but one of the former parish councillors, and we know that some people may be reluctant to stand for election now because they do not know what went wrong before or what they might face if elected.

So a review has been conducted through interviews with five of the former councillors and here is a summary of what they said, together with some comments about what the interim parish council is currently focussing on:

  • There were lots of really enjoyable things about being a NPC councillor especially around working together to get things done for the community, making a difference to the life and activities of Normandy, and they also enjoyed a feeling of camaraderie with colleagues, especially when working on activities around the village.
  • Of course, some things weren’t so good especially frustrations around processes, too much time in meetings, insufficient information, lack of clarity around decision-making, unbalanced workloads, and increasing relationship difficulties both within NPC and with key external contacts, compounded by increasing criticism in the local press.
  • None of them believed there to be any significant financial irregularities, but they had concerns about practices and processes which needed to be addressed. Key members of the interim council have also confirmed that they are confident that there are no serious financial irregularities.

Normandy Village Hall

  • The former councillors’ reasons for resigning were largely about the above frustrations, incompatible working styles, and finding themselves unable to effect the changes they felt were needed.
  • They identified a series of specific obstacles which are now being addressed by the interim council.
  • The interim council is working extremely hard putting in place efficient and effective systems and structures for the incoming councillors, based on best practice amongst England’s parish councils. This will significantly enhance the efficiency of meetings and will, in particular, provide clear systems for financial and human resources matters.
  • We are confident that by the time the newly elected NPC starts work in early May, it will find a framework ready to support its work in a helpful and efficient way. Induction training and ongoing training will also be available to equip them to understand their role and carry out the incredibly important work that our parish councillors do for the benefit of all Normandy villagers.

I personally would like to say, as I have done publicly before, that irrespective of recent events, all our parish councillors have done a huge amount of wonderful work for the village, completely unpaid, and we are truly grateful to them for their hard work and dedication.

We hope you will find these comments helpful and that many of those considering standing for election will decide to go for it. It can be immensely rewarding work and we promise you that it will be greatly appreciated by the residents of Normandy.

See also: Comment: Normandy Parish Council – What Went Wrong and What’s Being Done?

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