It’s about taking responsibility in Peterborough

A s reported in this newspaper, Peterborough has come second to last in SATs results. This is extremely disappointing, writes Cllr Shaz Nazaz, leader of the Labour group on Peterborough City Council.

Sunday, 22nd September 2019, 7:00 am
Sats tests PPP-191107-154913003

Sadly, we have been languishing at the bottom of this table for years. Yet, we are told the same story, things are getting better, if you are lying in the gutter, you can only see the stars, and so on.

I am a business owner. If I had an employee that consistently failed to meet performance targets despite additional support, I’d have to let them go. I would hire someone else; if that person also failed to meet their performance targets, I would let them go too. I would not be giving them chance after chance on the back of promises no more substantial than a puff of smoke. It would be wholly unfair on my team and clients to have an employee who consistently failed to deliver. It would also be unfair on that employee because they’re clearly not up to the job and wrong to keep them in that role.

The voters of Peterborough have hired this particular administration, and despite poor performance reviews, have continued to keep them in office for over 18 years. We have projects like Fletton Quays; yet, we cannot seem to budge off the bottom of the education league tables. Our roads are snarled up with traffic. The claim that we are the environment capital of the UK cannot be taken totally seriously. This is not merely a matter of opinion, nor is it viewing facts through a particular lens. The facts are the facts: our SATs results are a hard, fixed number which stares back at us and reminds us of where we are falling short.

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Due to increasing academisation, however, the administration seems to content to sit on its haunches.

Contrary to what the Conservatives have said, we do need government. By combining efforts within local and national government, we provide the building blocks of a thriving society: infrastructure, education, justice, and welfare. By starving government, we see how our society suffers: we see how our roads and rail falter, we see how our police forces are hollowed out, we see homeless people on our streets, we see how our children struggle to receive a decent education.

The first step in fixing matters is to take responsibility.

The Labour Group is ready to take charge. We are not content to merely say that because there are academies, there is little our administration can do. The structures may make decision making more diffuse, but the responsibility is not: we will lead. When we see problems, we will take them on. We will demand results, and if we don’t see performance improvements, we will make the changes necessary to ensure those improvements occur.

Politics is often more tribal than pragmatic.

However, I appeal to Peterborough’s logic: your employee, the current Administration, is neither performing nor taking full responsibility for their work. Given this, why are you keeping them on?