There is to be the first of the new style Scrutiny Committee meetings at
Bexley Civic Offices this evening, new style because the former seven meetings
have been compressed into three. Scrutiny meetings have always been long drawn out
affairs so unless the new ones go on until two in the morning and have twice as
many members as the old ones, scrutiny will be carried out by far fewer
inquisitors than before with less time available for it. That of course is the
whole idea, the leader will have less fixing to do in advance of the meetings
and be even more likely to get away with her schemes.
The public is not allowed any say in scrutinising cabinet decisions but they do have 15 minutes at four council meetings a year to ask questions, always assuming they are not squeezed out by Tory stooges anxious to lick a few backsides or Teresa O’Neill in full filibuster mode.
Over the years the oppressive Teresa O’Neill has tried several other tricks to suppress public scrutiny. There was her decision to restrict questions to policy, so you aren’t allowed, for example, to ask why year old roads are breaking up. And then there was her scheme for publishing the private addresses of all questioners on the council website until the Information Commissioner caught up with her unlawful decision.
Then if you do tread on sensitive ground with a policy question, Bexley’s policy will likely be redefined as a protocol and protocols are defined as operational matters so nothing is a policy and your question will be thrown out. Any excuse will do.
These however are from the ‘hi-tech’ end of the art of question rejection, sometimes Bexley council will fall back on something really simple.
The next full council meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 23rd July and Mick Barnbrook emailed a question last Saturday. Early this morning he was told his question was rejected and when he asked why he was told he had failed to allow the council seven full days to process it. Most people would think they have five whole days this week and three whole days next week before the meeting at 19:30 on the Wednesday evening, but Kevin Fox, for it is he again, is not a reasonable man as I found out when he told me I could take a photo at any meeting as long as I asked permission, and then always refused permission.
Bexley council doesn’t make its rules easily available so I will take their word for it they ask for seven days notice but in Greenwich they are a little more open and transparent.
Greenwich council as you can see is a good deal more efficient than Bexley and can organise an Agenda in five days. They like questions to be in by lunch time on a Wednesday so that they have Thursday, Friday Monday, Tuesday and the following Wednesday before their meetings, five days.
Allowing for the fact that Bexley needs two extra days to check that a question doesn’t fall foul of their myriad artificial obstacles, it still means that by Greenwich standards their cut off would not be until lunchtime today.
Kevin idiot Fox says his cut off day was last Friday. He has of course ensured that his mistress’s instruction to restrict questioning of council decisions whenever possible has been successfully implemented but with Mick Barnbrook being the questioner you can be sure Fox’s dishonest decision will cost a lot of money when he is reported to the Local Government Ombudsman for breaking the council’s own rules and he has to answer to them.
Mr. Fox’s name has been mentioned 163 times on this website since it first appeared in December 2010 which is far in excess of any other council officer other than Will Tuckley. On a blog that concentrates on council corruption, wrong doing and general idiocy, there can only be one reason for that.