Last night, on the agenda at the Forward Plan Select Committee were call ins of Executive decisions on the land use at Coniston Gardens, Waste Strategy and CPZ vehicle emission based pricing adjustment.
Kudos to Councillors Beck and Ashraf who did attend the meeting to convey their concerns to the committee and demonstrated their reasons for signing the call in by actively engaging and asking questions. The same cannot be said about the other Councillors Hayley Matthews, Simon Green, Ann Hunter who signed for the Call In as mentioned by my colleague Cllr James Powney here – LINK.
Councillors signing for call ins and then not turning up are causing embarrassment to proceedings on the committee and the system in general. At the previous Forward Plan meeting, items were on the agenda as called in and then embarrassingly skipped or skimmed over as there was confusion as to what the reason for the call in was.
Surely Councillors that sign to call in a decision should turn up to the meeting they asked for the item to be discussed at, if they are remotely interested in receiving a response.
Are the Brent Lib Dems interested in the detail of policies and providing scrutiny to make policy better or are they just opposing decisions for opposition’s sake?
Let me give you one example of a recent occurrence which has led me ask this question. The 11th August meeting included a call in on the ‘Criteria for Transport Services’ and a reason cited was ‘to review the findings of the Equality Impact Assessment’ (LINK – see item 5b), which at the time had not been completed. To call in decision based on concerns regarding a document which does not exist is beyond me.
The Local Government Act 2007 requires the Council to change its Governance model to one of two options.
Current Model: The Council leader is elected by Council members each year and an Executive of nine that are also appointed by Council members.
Option 1: Retain the Leader / Executive system but under the new system, the Leader would be appointed for a 4- year term. The Leader would appoint Executive Members and decide on its size (which could be between two and nine members). There would be a provision to remove the Leader by vote of no confidence.
Option 2: A Mayor and Cabinet model where voters in Brent will be able to directly elect a Mayor for a 4 year term. The Mayor would then decide on the size of the Cabinet (must have between two and nine other members) that will exercise the Executive functions of the Authority.