Reports from the Local Politics Front Line

Surrey County Councillor, Chris Botten provides information about local politics and what is going on at Surrey County Council. Chris uses this website to keep his constituents informed about situations and events, and in particular, his own involvement in these.

Chris will post mostly weekly updates on his work on behalf of his constituents, as a County and District Councillor. He will describe the processes and possible frustrations associated with getting things done while in opposition, and also share the key issues on which he will be fighting. He hopes residents will find it helpful and informative. It will rarely be party political, but if it is, it will be obvious why.

After twenty years as a Tandridge District Councillor and thirteen as a Parish Councillor Chris is now one of the 81 County Councillors.

He’s in opposition, as he has been for most of that time; there are 61 Conservatives at County, so Chris will bechallenging, bringing a different perspective and trying to make things fairer. He has led the Opposition at Tandridge for a number of years.

I am a Corporate Parent- how I discharge that responsibility matters- and how do I know our Fire and Rescue Service is safe?

Two onerous responsibilities impacted on me at the beginning of this week. You may have seen the BBC programme in which Gareth Malone trains a choir for a concert at the school which sits beneath the hulk of Grenfell Tower. In a very moving film, he works to identify talent among the remarkably resilient and […]

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After the Budget process, how do those of us in the Local Government Front Line work constructively and sustain our residents’ trust? And why I won’t write about Brexit.

So much more in sorrow….. While it appears that some fault-lines in national politics may be shifting (in all honesty it is far too soon to tell what will change in the medium/long term), on a day to day basis things have to go on and people are paying a lot more Council Tax for, […]

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Janus announces his reflections at the change of year- what leadership should mean, and what it should look like.

J As so often happens, when a leader steps down the fictions they have spun and the milestones of their achievements unravel quickly, as their author cannot maintain the carapace that prevents proper scrutiny and they are seen for what they are. This is not an attack on the former leader of the County Council, […]

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Things fall apart………..

“Things fall apart- the centre cannot hold Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world………..” These words of WB Yeats resonate. The bizarre nature of our current politics degenerates still further and nothing seems to be co-ordinated or connected. Like some high risk Mad Hatter’s Tea Party each silo sits in a puddle of its own […]

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Austerity is not yet over!

Austerity is NOT yet over! The County Council has issued five consultations- on the future of Children’s Centres, the future of libraries, CRC closures (recycling centres) and cutting discretionary travel (bus passes). These can be found at and are open till 4th January. Cabinet yesterday agreed to top-slice the grant to schools to boost […]

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It’s not all Local Government’s Fault! Why successive national governments must take a lot of the blame!

It’s not all Local Government’s Fault! Why successive national governments must take a lot of the blame! It is not a recent problem, aggravated by the time consuming and damaging complete pre-occupation with Brexit. Since before 2010, when the austerity funding seriously kicked in, national government has shifted responsibilities to local government, passed over issues […]

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A Little Humility is required.

Surrey Children’s Services- a long history of failure. When the Ofsted Inspection of Surrey’s Children’s Services report was published this month, the outcome can have surprised few. Inspectors had been visiting regularly since the last Ofsted failure in 2014, and a whole series of letters and notices was drawing attention to a service which was […]

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Character Matters

Character Matters The painful suffering of Amber Rudd reminds me that we must, at whatever level we are in politics, retain a moral lodestone, which we fail to follow at our peril. Poor Ms Rudd is suffering from her predecessor’s performance at the Home Office. Theresa May allowed the dog whistles of the far right […]

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