Red State: The cost of Lewisham's one-party dictatorship

Claire Temple: Ok, but what does that look like? Like what do you actually see?
Matt Murdock: A world on fire.
- Daredevil
World on Fire: One-party Councils tend to be more at risk of corruption
A report commissioned by the Electoral Reform Society has found that "one-party Councils" are 50% more at risk of corruption than politically competitive ones and that the national cost of the procurement inefficiency these Councils breed could amount to £2.6 billion.

They don't come any more uncompetitive than Lewisham, which currently has only one non-Labour councillor and which has given Labour every year since 1971 (other than in 2006, when Labour was the biggest party but didn't have overall control).

Lewisham residents of all political hues have been worried for some time about the lack of proper accountability that Lewisham's unbalanced political map produces. The ERS are not saying anything, they're just saying...

The research, by University of Cambridge academic Mihály Fazekas for the ERS, examines over 132,000 public procurement contracts between 2009 and 2013 to identify ‘red flags’ for corruption, such as where only a single bid is submitted or there is a shortened length of time between advertising the bid and the submission deadline. These are brought together in a Corruption Risk Index to give a measure of councils’ risk of corruption in public procurement.

Further evidence of the link between weak electoral accountability and higher corruption risk is supplied by a comparison of average price savings in procurement. One-party councils typically achieve lower price savings in procurement – 2.2% compared to 6.2% achieved by competitive councils.

The Electoral Reform Society use the report to argue the case for an end to first past the post Council elections. In the meantime, Lewisham's opposition have to raise their game.


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