Yesterday I went with the Chief Executive to present to an awards judging panel: the Council is shortlisted for two awards - Council of the Year and Leadership of Place (dreadful title!!). Yesterday was about the Leadership of Place (i.e. how a Council provides leadership on a key issue) and our work on being the 'voice of the suburbs' and on addressing the chronic under funding of the suburbs has won recognition. Whilst we won't know if we are the winner until February, one of the judges asked a question which did get to the heart of some of the issues.

Given all the infrastructure issues we had identified as a problem of the growth in the Borough past and expected, had we won over the residents???

Well as politicians we often take silence as acquiescence - but is this a fair assumption? But if silence isn't acquiescence, is it apathy? Or is it that the Council simply goes on around our residents and we are largely invisible to the vast majority. So what do we do? I don't suppose there is a magic forumla, every attempt at engagement has its faults - even the Leader Listens events (which get audiences from 12 to 70) aren't perfect - but interestingly I ask every audience if they have attended a Resident's Forum and the vast majority haven't. So whilst not perfect, the Leader Listens do seem to get a raft of different people. So I guess the answer to the question is - in the absence of other information, silence has to be acquiescence - isn't that how democracy works? The silent majority rule OK!!