According to the GMB Unions asking the public for their ideas about how the country can make spending cuts is a gimmick. That’s what today’s report on the BBC News website says today.
For a gimmick some of the ideas put forward seem quite sensible.
- A National Insurance idea that involves replacing the card with a letter for people reaching the age of 16 from late next year. It will tell them their unique NI number.
- Criminal Record Bureau checks for junior doctors moving between postings will no longer be carried out every six months under the plans.
- And for spare furniture, an eBay-style website would be used to sell off old items such as computers and office furniture.
Over the summer around 100,000 suggestions were made. Of course some of them will be useless suggestions and some of them probably can’t be published. But this should not just mean that this exercise in direct involvement using social media should be labelled wholeheartedly as a gimmick. To prove their critics wrong all the government needs to do is make sure it listens and put some of these suggestions into practice.
Perhaps in the future local government may need to act in a similar way, if they are not doing so already, to involve local people more directly in decisions that affect them. What do you think?