Sunday, July 13, 2008

Overview and Scrutiny - my first meeting

Thanks to Councillor Paul Brant being as generous as to give up his place (and his Deputy Chairmanship) to me, I am now on the Overview and Scrutiny Select Committee. You will recall my complaining that the initial documents put out by Committee Services had said that the Ethical Governance Executive Member who I shadow, should report to Corporate Services Select Committee but that this had since been changed, after I had been put onto that committee.

Thankfully, because Paul made this kind gesture, I got to the first meeting of the new Municipal Year and found it very useful.

We discussed the progress of the Operation Black Vote Councillor Shadowing Scheme which I am involved in. We are going to have a mid-term assessment probably in September to see how it is progressing.

We also looked at the terms of reference and work programmes for the new Select Committees - and boy are they huge! Imagine for instance the work of Healthcare and Safeguarding which has to consider adult social care (care homes, care centres, aids and adaptations, people with disabilities etc), Looked After Children (their homes their education, their schooling, their dental health programmes etc), health programmes to reduce obesity and smoking, provisions for people made homeless etc etc

And all that just seven times a year.

I was most interested however in the progress of plans to improve Ethical Governance - and the behaviour of councillors in particular - over the last year. We scrutinised the report quite thoroughly, I think I asked about a dozen questions. I was particularly interested in the work of LCC to combat hate crime - those based on someone's race, age, gender, religion, disability, sexuality or any other way that makes someone appear to be different to others.

I have had a couple of useful chats with Sergeant Rob Venables of Merseyside Police -a lovely man - who is taking on this issue for the whole of Merseyside. Now that is an even bigger portfolio! I offered to put LCC in touch with him, at the meeting of Overview and Scrutiny, but having seen him again since it might appear that he is already engaged with the relevant LCC officer. He did say he was working with a particular officer but I dont know if that is the one who wrote the report we were examining.

He particularly wants to do a special project involving putting stickers on wheely bins, which LCC has not yet agreed to, but which I have promised to support. More on this on another occasion when I am clearer about what steps he has tried in his quest so far and what more we can try.

We were a very select Select Committee with a number of apologies due to holidays, but I enjoyed it and found it useful and responsive. Fingers crossed for the next year.

1 comment:

steve faragher said...

Putting messages on stickers on wheelie bins is such as good way of communitcating, let's face it if you get a letter through your door from the "corpy" it usually means you owe them money and ends up in the bin anyway.