I’ve always been interested in promoting transparent and managerially efficient governance in whatever forum I’ve been operating in – whether as a councillor or in my professional role in charity work – and my vision for London was always going to be informed by that. But it’s only as I run around putting together notes and preparing for conference that a related point occurs to me with full force – I realise just how much you can get done with even a skeletal team helping you. Ken Livingstone has built an industry around recruiting his army of advisers. Many of them are brought into office from his Labour days, and these are people who wield power in both shaping policy and implementing it. At what point do his recruitment processes become led by who he wants to bring in, rather than what he needs to help him do his job?
I do not believe the current number of advisers is necessary. I would reduce the numbers, and radically overhaul the process by which advisers are appointed. I would introduce open recruitment panels with Londoners invited to sit on them alongside GLA staff to assess the people who will help to run their city.
Why will it work for London in particular? London is small. It’s one of the few places in the UK where we can practice genuine inclusive government by the people, getting the community together in the same room, and I want to see that advantage used. People have a natural instinct for efficiency – certainly when they’re paying for it! – which will keep the Mayoral office functional as well as accountable. You can get a surprising amount done with the right materials, though admittedly I am finding this cold comfort as I deal with the complete malfunction of my printer!!