12th September 2013
Say what you like about local government officers but some of them are extremely well trained professionals.
They are therefore likely to be well placed to comment on all sorts of things of public interest from a professional point of view; deploying their years of training, experience and expertise to comment on local proposals. However, whilst the expertise of these local professionals is deployed behind the closed doors of the council chamber it rarely, if ever, finds its way into the public domain unless specifically requested by the local councillors.
In many ways this is right. The politicians who run our councils are the publically elected filter who are meant to take the expert input of the officers and then to make decisions in the public interest.
The same restriction applies to lots of public servants although slowly but surely this is breaking down. Head teachers are even more independent than they once were, senior firemen and police chiefs are often expected to comment on all manner of things in the local area and then we get to the NHS.
Be it the local GP operating alone or the newly minted Clinical Commissioning Group leaders or an administrator from the local hospital the views of NHS professionals increasingly reach the public unfiltered.
Consider the difference between this and the expertise of the professionals who work in local government. In general you will never hear from that professional without their views being filtered through that of a local politician.