Three WM Mayor hustings in Birmingham – next one Tue 7 March at the Rep 1.30-3. But why is the WMCA keeping them secret?

Come and hear and challenge the candidates – there are 6: Sion Simon (Labour), Andy Street (Tory), Beverley Nielsen (Lib Dem), James Burn (Green), Graham Stevenson (CP), and Ukip.

  • Tuesday 7 March 1.30-3pm Birmingham Repertory Theatre
  • Tuesday 7 March 6-8pm Black Country Living Museum *
  • Wednesday 22 March 6-8pm Coventry Cathedral *
  • Tuesday 4 April 6-8pm Patrick Centre, Birmingham Hippodrome
  • Thursday 6 April 6-8pm Banqueting Suite, Birmingham Council House
  • Sunday 23 April TBA The Vox Conference Centre, Resorts World, Birmingham *

To apply to attend a hustings event marked * you will need to register through the local newspaper in each area: Birmingham Mail (for Birmingham); Express and Star (for the Black Country); Coventry Evening Telegraph (for Coventry).

Countdown to the mayoral election

  • 23 March – Notice of Election published – start of the pre-election (purdah) period
  • 04 April – deadline for the delivery of nomination papers to stand as a candidate
  • 13 April – deadline for people to register to vote
  • 18 April – deadline for receiving new postal vote and proxy vote applications
  • 25 April – deadline for new applications to vote by proxy
  • 04 May – election day

How can you find about all this?

On the West Midlands Combined Authority website? They’ll want to tell you about the candidates and where the hustings are won’t they? Actually, they won’t. There isn’t a single word about the election for Mayor on the website. Look at the News section – nothing since 23 February, all about HS2.

We found out because someone forwarded us the WMCA weekly Bulletin.

“Welcome to this week’s update bulletin from the WMCA, sharing news and information from across the region for you to cascade throughout your organisations. Key to the success of this bulletin is your input and keeping us up-to-date with the work you are doing.”

You didn’t know there was one? No, nor did we. That’s because there isn’t a word about that either on the WMCA website.  It is sent out by the impressively titled “PR Executive” so we phoned him up to get put on the email list. (That’s the only way to do it.) We asked him why there was no mention of it on the website and he said he wasn’t in charge of the website, which seems rather surprising given his title. He said it went to selected people. He didn’t explain how they are selected, but we can guess.

This is unfortunately typical of the top-down secretive way the WMCA works. Always ready to bang the drum about the huge benefits it claims it will bring, but with no interest in involving the ordinary citizens of the West Midlands.

But the Bulletin does bring you some good news. It reports that “The WMCA has achieved 46th place in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-for-Profit Organisations to Work For 2017 list. In addition, following our annual review in December, we have retained the Gold Investors in People accreditation that has now been awarded to the WMCA.” A remarkable achievement since it was only officially launched last June.

For more information or to send content for the next WMCA news bulletin (good luck with that!) contact: Matthew Finn, PR Executive, West Midlands Combined Authority. MatthewFinn@centro.org.uk. 0121 214 7157

 

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