Posts Tagged ‘Overview and Scrutiny’

Scrutiny Call-in

June 3, 2009

I think it lasted around 2 hours but I enjoyed much of the discussion.  I have not changed my mind about the need for the decision.  One of the nicest things from the evening was this blog got a mention from Councillor Harmer, whom I have only spoken with a few times but like.  I did make the point that I read his blog also but that he has not updated for a few weeks (actually meant that as a compliment because I like local blogs).

On of the areas mentioned during the call-in, but did not receive huge attention, was parking renewals.  Not entirely relevant but just read this.  I like moves like this.

What an extraordinary day for politics?  Are Hazel Blears MP and the Prime Minister still friends on a personal level?  If they are then the entire Labour Group in Hounslow think that I am a smashing chap!

Interesting but busy day!

June 3, 2009

What a day so far! Even I was surprised to see Hazel Blears resign.

I have a Delivery Forum in the next couple of hours and then the Call-in at Scrutiny tonight in relation to decreasing the hours of the Cash Office.  Will post on how it goes.

Cash Office at the London Borough of Hounslow

May 21, 2009

A report in the names of both my colleague, Councillor Gerald McGregor and I, on changes to the Council’s Cash Office has been called in by the Overview & Scrutiny Committee.

I have seen the reasons for calling in this decision and they are as follows:

  1. Members have not been consulted on this decision, and have had no opportunity to discuss the proposal in a public forum;
  2. The curtailment of this service will have a more severe impact on those on low incomes (i.e. those who do not have access to the internet)
  3. There is a likelihood that this decision will cause a large amount of discontent amongst residents of the Borough.

An initial response to each:

  1. It is ironic that Labour Members are making this comment as it was a Labour Government that vested these decisions in the Executive;
  2. I totally do not accept this.  This is a red herring as anyone who does not have a bank account can still pay in cash at any Post Office or HSBC Branch.  Also, the Cash Office will continue to be open in the morning;
  3. If Councillors falsely imply that we will deny access to those who do not have bank accounts and internet access, I agree that this will happen.

One of many key points here is that many businesses used to have lots of Cash Offices.  I remember a large network of British Gas Cash Offices.  They are gone.  We cannot stand still in areas like these just because we are a Council.  Any changes will be managed and communicated effectively.  It is imperative that we always search for better bite for buck so that we can continue to keep Council Tax down and invest in truly front line services.

If anyone uses this Cash Office and does not believe any other alternative is viable, please post a comment or get in touch with me.

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!