Liverpool Liberal Democrats demand budget booklet be pulped
So what exactly does consultation mean? It is a much used word by councils when changes are being made to a service or a planning development is proposed.
Liverpool's opposition Liberal Democrat leader Richard Kemp is currently engaged in a battle with the council over its budget booklet that is being distributed to city households.
He's taken issue with the section on plans to introduce a fortnightly bin collection service to 136,000 non-terraced houses.
The booklet is unequivocal in stating that the changes are on their way.
Kemp says this is wrong: "The booklet says that changes will take place and not that they will be the subject of consultation."
He points to a motion approved by the council at a meeting in January that stated "the principle of the introduction of alternate Managed Weekly Collections of Waste and Recycling as set out in Option 3 of the report be endorsed by the Council and referred to the Mayor and Cabinet to agree subject to;
"a. Officers conducting a consultation exercise with residents of the City around the potential move to Alternative Weekly Collections (AWC) for 136,000 properties and opportunities to improve recycling in the 80,000 high density properties of the city
"b. That the Director of Community Services is asked to initiate discussions with Enterprise Liverpool around the implications of moving to AWC for residual waste in advance of the end of the existing contract.
"c. That the Director of Community Services is asked to write to Department of Communities and Local Government and decline the Weekly Collection Support Scheme grant offer.
"d. A further report will be brought back to Cabinet in April 2013 with the results of the consultation and proposals for residual waste collections."
Cllr Kemp points to page 155 of the agenda of that meeting which states: "The Mayor is minded to support option 3 of the report subject to:
"a) Officers conducting a consultation exercise with residents of the City
around the potential move to AWC for 136,000 properties and opportunities to improve recycling in the 80,000 high density properties of the city"
Cllr Kemp says the use of the word "minded" is crucial, and that as the consultation has not yet happened the council should not be using such definite language in the booklet.
He wants the council to stop distributing the booklet, which you can see here.
The council insists no one has ever been in any doubt that this change is happening, and that the consultation is merely about HOW the changes are introduced, not IF they are introduced.
A council spokesman said: "The booklet is an important piece of public information explaining to residents the budget proposals and the government's welfare reforms. The information about proposed changes to refuse collections reflects the motion that was agreed by full council."
Is this one for the language experts, or is it just a storm in a wheelie bin?