The system of local government in Bexley is similar to that used
nationally; a small cabal of senior politicians are appointed to a cabinet by
someone who has wormed themselves to the top of the greasy pole and the
riffraff are supposed to do what they are told and ask the occasional question.
Bexley’s cabinet is more a Mafia than a cabinet but mercifully has no Nick Clegg.
Bexley’s cabinet members, by and large, are each shadowed by an Overview and Scrutiny Committee to make sure the cabinet member doesn’t go completely off the rails and by that measure some are almost by definition a failure, especially when the cabinet member and the chairman of the Scrutiny Committee are married or civil partners. Potential for corruption in Bexley? No, never!
Not all Bexley councillors regard looking after number one as their priority, I can even think of one cabinet member who shows no sign of being a wrong ’un. There used to be more but they got kicked out, I wonder why.
Overall there are quite a lot of Scrutiny Committee members who take their jobs seriously and yesterday evening there was a meeting that may have shown that they are not all in awe of the Mafia boss.
There has been a Review of Overview and Scrutiny Committees and councillors had the opportunity to have their say. 64% of ordinary councillors don’t think the Committees are “effective” at “holding the cabinet to account”.
74% said that there was no effective follow up on completed work. 67% said that the Scrutiny Committees didn’t allow an effective challenge, 64% said their work programmes were ineffective and 84% said the Agendas left a lot to be desired.
Unfortunately my schedule yesterday did not allow an evening trip to the Civic Centre to hear the Review being discussed so I asked Nicholas Dowling if he could spare the time.
Remember Nicholas? He is the man who tore councillor Peter Craske’s justification for tripling Residents’ Parking Permits to shreds and was rewarded with this…
If Nick’s report on what he has already admitted was a boring meeting reaches me before the day is out it will appear below, and if it doesn’t you will have to curb your impatience.