Sunday 14 June 2009

Phoney consultation replaces real debate

A few years ago, the public relations manager for Orange - in charge of convincing people that they could trust the safety of their mobile phone masts - decided to post his cynical definition of 'consultation' as "a formal system for ignoring public views while patronising them at the same time". Sound familiar?

Local Councils seem to have taken this definition to heart when 'consulting' over chnages to education. In Lewisham, the Council has consistently pushed ahead with reorganisation plans despite parental and staff opposition.

Their latest 'consultation' is about the plan for Goldsmiths College to set up a Trust with three local schools. The NUT, alongside other unions such as Goldsmiths UCU, are campaigning to stop this threat. But we know that we can't trust this to be any kind of genuine consultation.

The Council have helpfully provided a supposedly 'independent' organisation to evaluate responses to the Trust proposal, called "The Innovation Unit". A quick web serach reveals their 'independent ' board to include David Albury, Principal Adviser in the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit from 2002-2005, and Matthew Horne who advises the Cabinet Office Strategy Unit on 'public service improvement' amongst others !!

We certainly won't be relying on their independence! We will be relying on our organisation and arguments, leafletting, lobbying and, if necessary, organising strike action to oppose these threats to locally accountable comprehensive education.

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