On governance – the need for a “Faversham Conversation”

A review of governance was one of the three key priorities of Faversham Town Council’s Business Plan for 2014/15. However, the change that has happened under the Business Plan appears to have been largely, if not entirely, administrative (see the progress report in Annex A of the 2015/16 Business Plan)

This is not of itself a bad thing. Administrative changes that produce operational efficiencies can be helpful. But my concern is this:

– administration is not the same as governance.

Faversham certainly needs strong administration but it needs even stronger leadership. More than that, it needs informed leadership: a Town Council that is advised not only by the administration but also by the electorate. 

My proposal is that informed leadership can happen through a continuous, common conversation. This should be an interaction between the Town Council and the people of Faversham that happens in many different ways: through interactions that take place face-to-face as well as online; interactions that harness the passion for change felt throughout the town:

– a “Faversham Conversation”.

A key aspect of the Faversham Conversation is that it should be conducted in the open; transparency is crucial in developing trust.

In terms of the process by which such an open conversation can happen, three steps are important:

– first, listening to people’s concerns

– second, discussing solutions that address those concerns and, as needed, amending ideas in the light of better suggestions rather than sticking dogmatically to an initial position

– third, speaking up for Faversham at every opportunity so that change is more likely to happen and to happen sooner.

This is my vision for the kind of open and inclusive leadership that I believe should be at the heart of Faversham’s Business Plan.

If you agree with my approach then please support this campaign – vote for me in St Ann’s Ward and encourage others to do so too.


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