Posts Tagged ‘Executive’

Last night’s Executive Meeting

July 28, 2010

I attended all of the above, along with a few colleagues.  Here again is the agenda.

Items 4 to 7a were presented by Officers, which is disgraceful in my view.  A couple of times afterwards the Lead Member would come and in say “I commend the report” etc.  This lack of responsibility on the part of these new Lead Members is part of the reason why I moved the following motion last week:

“Proposed by: Councillor Mark Bowen

Seconded by: Councillor Paul Jabbal

In view of the recent decision of the Labour Administration to decrease the amount of Borough Council Meetings, and with that the amount of opportunities for non-executive members to hold Executive Members to account, as well as the unannounced removal of named Lead Members from reports, this Council agrees that the Special Responsibility Allowances (SRA) for the entire Executive should reflect this major decrease in the level of political accountability by decreasing SRAs for Lead Members by 50% as follows:

                                          Previous             Current
Leader                                   34,000               17,000
Deputy Leader                        20,000               10,000
Other Executive Members         16,000               8,000

Council also agrees that if the level of political accountability and frequency of Borough Council Meetings are restored that the recommendations contained in the report relating to SRAs for the above positions should be implemented immediately.”

No single explanation has been given for this change and it could easily have been done as an announced at Borough Council.

As for my view on some of the reports:

The Future Provision of the Lampton Park Conference Centre (CSLL 165)
How on earth can they claim that this is financially beneficial when the report makes it clear that money will not be made in the short term?  It will lose money!
Why are they proceeding with the first recommendation without a new business case first?  Lets not let financial facts get in the way of an argument, hey?  Were they to talk in terms of break even point and when the net income will start to come in they would clearly have a stronger case – so why have they not done it?

Parking and Traffic Enforcement using CCTV cameras (ENV090)
I welcome this report on the whole.  I see it as an acknowledgement that the implementation of the cameras in Bedfont and Hanworth was not good enough.  It also exposes a Democratic Deficit that really frustrated me – the report does not address this but a comment from one Lead Member did allude to it.

There were some unproven remarks made by Councillors Mayne and Gupta.  The first made references to this being carried out by the ICG/Conservatives but we did not get any dates of decisions made (he is welcome to post the dates of such decisions and meetings here).  Councillor Gupta made remarks about it all being about Revenue Raising yet was happy to agree to the report which raised no beef with the principle of cameras being deployed.

Pavement Parking (ENV084)
I welcome this report.  What was not acknowledged was that the thorough work in the West Area was only done because I requested it and the then Executive, especially Paul Fisher, agreed to defer a previous report to get it done right and not quick.

In Year Savings 2010/11
Some Lead Members were keen to make political points and play to the audience.  The only thing that some of them may not have realised is that it was a part II item and that the audience was in fact a few Conservative Councillors – Doh!

On a more serious note, the item is a major one and deserves scrutiny.  For any reference they may make in the future about scrutiny, I can point out a Borough Council Meeting that has been reduced in the schedule.

Council Tax being set tonight

March 2, 2010

Last week I attended an Executive Meeting of the Council.  Here was the agenda.  Item 5 was relevant to Feltham and I made the point about the massive importance of dealing with under-achievement, improving standards in schools and in increasing the profile of skills training.

Tonight is Borough Council and the big one for we are setting the Council Tax.  There are already two proposals.  I very much hope that we can continue with our successes in delivering no increase.  Here is the agenda.

Executive Meeting on 8 September

September 13, 2009

Quite a long agenda after a month off from these meetings.  Some headlines:

NI 195d of this report should be headline news.  It is the first time – possibly since this indicator was ever created – that the status is green.  For me, this shows the huge impact that there has been on graffiti removal over the past year.

I moved an amendment to agenda item 10.  The amendment is included on the above agenda.  Whilst the decision is ultimately with TfL, I really hope that we can get a zebra crossing at Feltham Hill Infant and Nursery School.  I will post further on the blog when we know.  We will certainly now be bidding for the money and I was very grateful to my colleague, Barbara Reid, for accepting my amendment.  Feltham West Councillor, Barbara Harris, has been concerned about this safety issue for a while.

Council Executive Meeting earlier this week

July 18, 2009

Some terribly important reports were taken to Executive last Tuesday.  I was especially excited about items 11 & 14.  The report considered under item 11 is an example of Green IT at its best.  There are both environmental and cashable benefits.  With regards to item 14, the foundations laid by my friend and colleague, Adrian Lee, continue to be built on by the recent addition, Becky Stewart.

Item 3 was in my name.  I am concerned about the impression that it has given to some people and also the content of an article in the Chronicle last week.  Every organisation needs to have a policy like this in place and I would be surprised if the amount of people categorised as vexatious complainants was ever more than half a dozen.  The prospect of anyone believing that the Council would label someone as vexatious because they are making legitimate enquiries or complaints horrifies me.  Not long after being first elected, there was a case that I took on and I was horrified at the way a constituent and I were treated.  She was let down in a big way and the tactic of not answering questions and causing more frustration was deployed.  I could see that the Council had a major problem with its Complaints Procedure (despite having pockets of brilliance) and I quickly identified this as the element of the Customer Service Umbrella that needed the most attention when I became Lead Member in 2006.

I quickly took a report on becoming Lead Member that reversed the decision of the previous Labour administration to increase the timescales for dealing with complaints.  I also instigated other changes that reconfigured the Procedure to establish a Panel of Councillors to determine complaints at Stage 3.  I believe that the changes have been revolutionary.

These changes were not welcomed at first.  I first suggested them when in opposition but they were strongly opposed by the previous administration who made claims from predicting that it would be legally challenged to it would lead to a conflict of interest.  Despite the success since, only one person has acknowledged that they were wrong to oppose the establishment of the Members Panel.

My friend and colleague, Phil Andrews, posted about this most recent report recently.  I think I have been guilty in not giving enough thought to how the provisions in this report would be perceived by others.  I did try and reassure people when presenting the report that it would genuinely only be used where fully justified.  Asking legitimate questions will not be a reason for limiting the type of contact that a resident can have with the Council.

I am as passionate about the importance of complaints now, as I was when first elected.  The Council, and how it deals with the thousands of complaints,  is not perfect every time but I know that residents who will have the need to use the Council’s Complaints Procedure in the future now have a much better prospect of a better experience than they did a few years ago.  I am confident that there is a pool of Members who deal with Complaints at Stage 3 that will accept departments having a different point of view to residents but they will not accept any example of questions not being answered or legitimate issues, where the Council has a role, addressed.  I can honestly say that there has not yet been that case in all the panels I have been on that has angered me because of attempts to grind people down with no answers or answers to questions not asked.  There has been a step changed in earlier resolution of complaints and that is what I wanted to achieve.

Here is some information about how complaints work at Hounslow.  If you ever feel let down by the Council, I strongly urge you to complain.

Last night’s Executive

June 10, 2009

A good agenda.

Agenda item 5 was presented by me.  Before that, my ward colleague, Allan Wilson, presented a report (item 4) and his passion for the subject and personal imprint on the work came through.  Most residents would not see or hear about work like this, but it is terribly important to me!

Also, there were three new Executive Members – Councillors Jon Hardy (Housing), Rebecca Stewart (Leisure) & Robert Oulds (Education).  Each of them presented a report and did a great job and they are great additions.  Notwithstanding that, I will miss the contributions at Executive of three really good friends – Councillors Adrian Lee, Paul Lynch & Phil Andrews.  Each of them are different and offered heck of a lot!

A busy evening!

July 29, 2008

After a briefing on two other matters, I had two meetings this evening – the Affordable Housing Panel and the Executive, which I chaired as the Leader is away.

Some interesting stuff in both.  With regards to the latter we got a consensus on agenda item 9 that I did not expect.  Well introduced by Councillor Paul Lynch and some useful local information from Councillor Linda Nakamura.

We received a report from Overview and Scrutiny that would be of interest to most residents, namely on parking (agenda item 8).  Post any feedback here!

I took public transport home and noticed a lot of progress with the new hotel near where Safeway used to be:

I was not family with Etap until I drove past it on the M4 by Newport.  It has a very European look about it.  One thing that is worth commenting on in Central Hounslow is the growth of Hotels.

Sorry if the pictures are not clear.  It started getting dark!

Last few days

April 5, 2008

Sorry for the lack of comment in the past few days.  It has been a very busy week!

Here are a couple of Council related highlights from me during the past week.

On Tuesday night, I attened the Executive Meeting.  I am a member of the Members Working Group which meets weekly to look at budget matters.  We have recently spent lots of time on agenda item 12 so I was pleased at the decision made.

On Thursday night, I attended the West Area Committee Planning Meeting.

Items 5, 10 & 12 are about applications/enforcement in Feltham North.

I moved refusal of the application in item 5 as I could not accept that there would not be a parking impact on residents who reside in Carlton Avenue.

Earlier today, I delivered some leaflets.