A council that listens –what a refreshing thought

People power has come to the fore this week after social work director Andrew Lowe announced he was planning to drop his report recommending a radical redesign of the service at Galashiels Ability Centre, and promising instead to talk to centre users to discuss their own six-point plan for the future of the complex.

The move has been widely welcomed, and while Mr Lowe has cautioned that the fresh proposal by the centre’s management committee will have to meet some strict tests of affordability, equity and inclusion, he should be commended for delaying any decision so he can hear what the management team has to say.

Too often we hear of changes to our services or working environments, where management have taken executive decisions, mainly driven by cost, without speaking to the people who matter – those who use the services, or those who are on the ground delivering these services.

We all understand that in these difficult financial times hard decisions have to be made. And that you will never please all of the people, all of the time. However, giving people who use Borders services the opportunity to have their say on how changes could be made while minimising the impact seems a no brainer.

Too often accountants are pulling the strings and have no idea or concern, it seems, about how it will affect people.

The price of change is very rarely just financial, and can often prove far more costly.