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:
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.