The new Resources and Growth Overview and Scrutiny meeting chaired last night
by Councillor Dourmoush (Conservative, Longlands) adopted the same format as
the previous week’s Children’s
and Adults’ Services meeting; a round table designed to exclude members of the
public as much as possible.
Councillor Cheryl Bacon (Conservative, Sidcup) summed things up neatly when the Chairman told her to switch her microphone on after she failed to do so more than once beforehand. She said “I thought we were close enough to be able to hear each other”. No thought for the public or the webcast - if there was one. According to the Council’s webcast page none has been available since April.
Whilst generally inaudible I was able to make out that Councillor Bacon had been speaking about senior job vacancies for the previous four minutes.
The HR man Nick Hollier confirmed it was the case and a number of remedies had been applied including head hunting and offering higher pay. The close proximity of rival employers, other local authorities, made things very competitive.
Councillor David Leaf (Conservative, Longlands), Bexley’s Jack of All Trades who knows something about everything spoke on the same subject without adding anything new.
Councillor Daniel Francis (Labour, Belvedere) spoke up for the less well off residents who are being squeezed ever harder by Bexley Council for money citing the ratcheting up of Council Tax as the level of relief has been whittled away in Bexley. He was concerned that the Council was spending more on bailiffs than the outstanding debts were worth given the small chance of extracting the money. Naturally he was given an assurance that all was well.
Most of the meeting which ran for only 56 minutes was taken up with a slide presentation, one by Mrs. Richardson who is in charge of Growth and Regeneration and another by Mr. Leigh Whitehouse who has looked after financial affairs since Alison Griffin was poached by Southend Council.
Councillor Dourmoush wanted Committee Members to take particular note of the following section of the Agenda so maybe we will see greater scrutiny of Cabinet decisions in future. The last Resources Scrutiny meeting was held last March, the next is not due until October and there was, understandably, precious little at this one.
Does the Cabinet ever take any notice anyway?