Saturday, June 28, 2008

Corporate Services Select Committee

I went to my first Corporate Services Select Committee this week

Only to discover (as I already suspected) that the bulk of my shadowing role of the Exec Member for Ethical Governance would be better served at Overview and Scrutiny Select Committee. I asked the Chair for clarification about where I would be best sitting, given that this is a new role not just for me but for the council as a whole. Paula Keaveney, the new Exec Member confirmed that 90% of her work would figure at O&S rather than Corporate Services.

So once again the LibDem administration has made a right old mess of their plans.

First they say one thing, then they say another.

Interestingly they were originally saying that O&S should be the home only of Chairs and Deputy Chairs of other Select Committees and we in the Labour Group had faithfully followed this. But now we learn that the LibDems have distinctly not followed this, and they have other councillors representing them.

But for my part, I now have to find a way to swap or move to the committee I should be on.

Rearrange these words into a more recognisable order, - chocolate, brewery, knees-up, fire-guard, brothel, tea-pot, piss-up.....

Don't hold your breath, I may well be on the entirely wrong select committee for months to come.

Meanwhile, we were presented with some really dreadful reports. Health and Safety is in a right old mess, they have put back some important reports and report-backs into some serious hazards by up to a year, and the HR report was a shining example of abject failure to deliver.

And I say that from a position of some expertise

The sooner this lot are out of power the better!


scouseboy said...

Hopefully the Labour group will facilitate a swap for you. However,presumably this swap would need ratification by the full council, and we know just how Liberal and Democratic the fib dems are when they only want three full council meetings a year....

steve faragher said...

Can you find out the rumour I heard that BT cahrge Liverpool Direct (debit) £25 for replacement computer mouse.
Given what it said in thursday's exho it seems someone may have noticed that Liverpool direct are costing a bit more than we thought, david mcelhinney's gold plated jacuzzi and that essential equipment etc.

Paula Keaveney said...

sorry Louise, can't accept what you are saying at all. I am told you were informed that Corporate Services might not be the right committee for you some time before the meeting last week. Putting that aside though, my two committees are clearly listed on the council website under my name (which in itself should make you realise there might be a need to look at both) and there are plenty of other people who could have been asked if any doubt existed ( me for instance or if you don't want to speak directly to me you could have asked your office staff to make enquiries). Dave Hanratty your chief whip didn't seem to think there would be any problem organising a swap when I spoke to him - so if you want to invent a problem fine - but don't pretend it is anything to do with the Lib Dems. If your colleagues want to support you in your role, and let's assume they do, they will surely not stand in the way of a swap which, as you know, can be achieved in the next week or so without anyone getting a fit of the vapours.

Louise Baldock said...

Thanks Paula, but I am afraid the situation was rather more complicated than you have airily waved away.

For a start, we agreed our committee places as long ago as "before annual council", six weeks ago - so discovering by chance the week before last that I was probably on the wrong select committee was not at all helpful.

Secondly, we were clearly told, in the initial terms of reference for the new portfolio that Corporate Select was the correct committee for me to sit - which is why our Chief Whip put me there. We do pay attention to these things, I can assure you.

Thirdly, your group has cut the numbers of select committees and the number of people who sit on each, so that we dont have sufficient committee places for all of our members to take a seat. "Swapping" is not easy, as it means disappointing and letting down other people who have already been assigned a place.

I assume you dont want me to blame officers for those changes to the terms of reference? Either the reduction in the number of committees, the number of committee places or the terms of reference for the Ethical Governance portfolio? Surely they are political changes? Surely you and your fellow LibDems made them? Surely you dont just do what officers tell you?

Anyway, early indications would suggest that one of my Labour colleagues has agreed for me to replace him on Overview and Scrutiny, so we may have been able to sort this out. Although I may end up having to sit on two select committees, which seems distinctly unfair to others.

As to the comment about an "attack of the vapours", I think that ill-becomes you and will not rise to it.

Paula Keaveney said...

Given that your chief whip e mailed me a day or two after this post to say that a swap was being made it clearly is not that difficult. Some people will be on two committees - cllr brandt for example seems to be on more than one as is cllr strickland. And I am afraid an officer told me that he had advised you that corporate services was not the right committee (if you are having only one) days before the meeting took place so it would have been quite possible for you to phone me or someone else to check what my understanding of the situation is. You implied in your post that you would be on the wrong committee for months, there was clearly no possibility of that happening as made clear to me by your own chief whip. so pick a row with me on sustantive issues by all means - but not on this.

Louise Baldock said...

Not quite sure why you think the row is with you?

I was put on the wrong committee because I was told, wrongly, that is where I should be

But I am now on the right committee, thankfully

See you tonight!