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Democracy Without Political Parties

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					Democracy Without
 Political Parties

 Epsom and Ewell
 Borough Council
Epsom and Ewell Borough Council

            The Geographical Context

 In the County of Surrey
 Bordering the London Boroughs of Kingston and
 Sutton
 Part of the London fringe
 The majority of our more serious crime is imported
 52% is green open space - much publicly owned
Epsom and Ewell Borough Council

          The Political Context

 A Conservative MP
 38 Borough Councillors operating the Fourth
 Option (Committee System)

      25 Residents’ Association
      11 Liberal Democrat
      2 Conservative
  Epsom and Ewell Borough Council

                   The Political Context

  At the Surrey County Council Level there are 5 Epsom and
                   Ewell County Councillors

           1 Liberal Democrat
           4 Residents Association

Voters make a conscious choice to elect Residents’ Association
                         Councillors
Epsom and Ewell Borough Council

           The Political Context

 Ewell Court RA
 Ewell Village RA
 Cuddington RA
 Nonsuch RA
 Stoneleigh and Auriol RA (two wards)
 Town Ward RA
 West Ewell and Ruxley RA (two wards)
 Woodcote RA
 Epsom and Ewell Borough Council

           The Historical Context

The Residents' Association have been in power
          in Epsom and Ewell since


                   1937
    Vibrant Councils/Vibrant Democracy
    Facilitating Democratic Engagement
      Through the Residents Associations

Approx 90% of householders are members of Ewell
Court RA
All roads have Road Representatives
A Magazine is delivered to each household
Each RA holds a monthly Committee Meeting
Each RA holds General Meetings
Each RA finances Local Election Candidates
Annual Ward Card Calling Exercise
Councillors are resident in their ward
      Vibrant Councils/Vibrant Democracy
      Facilitating Democratic Engagement
           Through the Borough Council
A Consultation Strategy
       Post-Election Focus Group Research
       Residents’ Feedback Surveys 90% feedback
       Distinct Youth Engagement Surveys
       Testing Out New Services

A Customer Contact Centre
       First (and often only) point of contact for residents
       Tracking enquiries
       Feeding back to residents
   Vibrant Councils/Vibrant Democracy
   Facilitating Democratic Engagement
    Government without a Leader


     There is no leader of
Epsom and Ewell Borough Council
   Vibrant Councils/Vibrant Democracy
   Facilitating Democratic Engagement
       Government without a Leader

Means Government by dispersed and shared
           leadership between:
    Committee Chairmen individually and collectively
    The Chairman of the RA Group
    The RA Group
    The Full Council
   Vibrant Councils/Vibrant Democracy
   Facilitating Democratic Engagement
So how good is the RA movement in Facilitating
          Democratic Engagement?

 Our electoral turnout is no higher than the average

 The age profile of our councillors, and very active
supporters, is skewed towards the older age bracket

We don’t have 8% ethnic minority residents in key RA
positions
      Vibrant Councils/Vibrant Democracy
      Facilitating Democratic Engagement
But we do:

    Engage our communities in ‘political’ debate
    outside the Council

    Have a much higher than average response rate
    to our consultations and surveys

     Have higher than average satisfaction levels for
    our services and activities
     Vibrant Councils/Vibrant Democracy
     Facilitating Democratic Engagement
So what is it that appeals to the electorate about the
                      RA system?

The ‘lack’ of political parties?
The candidates?
The possibilities for democratic engagement through
the RA system?
The close connection between the RA and its
residents?
The outcomes of RA activity?