Hidden away in the Brent Council Budget options is the drastic reduction, or perhaps total abolition of ward working. One of the fears I have about options such as this is that people only understand the full implications once they have been voted through, and it is too late to change them. Abolishing ward working would not only undermine the role of councillors in the community, but also social cohesion and arts funding.
It is also an example of highly visible Council activity that benefits the community as a whole, which is something coming under greater and greater threat as budgets tighten. Essentially, the balance of spend is going increasing towards a smaller number of people with severe needs and less towards universal services that are visible to everyone. This is importnat as it damages the credibility of local government with the public as a whole, since the public see less and less Council activity that directly impacts themselves.
For the benefit of the commentator below, many of the posts on this blog are about possible savings, and I think I have probably made more suggestions on how to make savings, and been more willing to defend them than anyone else.
The key thing is to work out what your priorities are, articulate them in a strategy, ensure that your favoured proposals will deliver them credibly and then defend them with a degree of fortitude when challenged rather than being blown off course. Many of the problems that some councillors feel are through not sticking to such a course.