Mr Mustard always wondered how the Cabinet Resources Committee could get through its business so fast. It might have been that every councillor did their homework in advance of the meeting and cleared up any questions beforehand but last night one councillor ( name not noted ) when presenting their agenda item said "if councillors have read the report" which rather implies that he doesn't think other councillors read the reports and he doesn't read them all either. That particular cat won't now be able to go back into the bag.
It could be that councillors can speed read but 71 pages of public report and 106 pages of exempt documents ( notice that more is exempt than public ) in 17 minutes is pushing it even for the most gifted councillor ( you will have to decide who that is for yourself ).
Mr Mustard usually stops and looks at the rather expensive flat panel screen which announces the meetings so that he knows which room to go to. There, as bold as brass, were two meetings of the Cabinet Resources Committee. One at 6.30pm which the public certainly wouldn't have been allowed into, the dress rehearsal, and then the public meeting at 7pm.
|Not members of the Cabinet Resources Committee apparently|
Picture copyright : Bike Portland
So having a meeting at 6.30 is the reason why the agenda business can be got through at the gallop. You can look through the agenda in the box below.Barnet Council 7 November 2011 Cabinet Resources Committee
So here is the timing of the meeting.
7.00pm - Start, items 1-4 rattled off. Cllr Coleman absent.
7.00 Item 5 - Dollis Valley. Building might start in the next 18 months to 10 years.7.04 Dollis Valley item agreed.
7.04 Item 6. Stonegrove & Spur Rd Estates. Let's compulsorily purchase more land to snuff out any claims in advance.7.05 Stonegrove item agreed.
7.05 Item 7. Former Child Guidance Centre. It is surplus to requirements. The line that says "As the site falls within a flood plain it is expected that offers will come mainly from community organisations" is to be reworded.7.06 Child Guidance Centre sale agreed.
7.06 Item 8. Catalyst Care Home Contract Renegotiation. A rather excessive 4 minutes spent on these 8 pages.7.10 Catalysts item agreed.
7.10 Item 9. Short breaks for disabled children, young people and their families. Some stress on the fact that this is a statutory requirement and that government chips in towards the cost ( Mr Mustard fears these would otherwise be cut).7.12 Short breaks item agreed.
7.12 Item 10 Adult & Children's Service Contracts. Neither Councillor Rajput nor Harper wanted to talk about this item and so it fell to Val White, an Assistant Director in the Children's Service, to speak for 5 minutes. Mr Mustard wonders if the ducking of this opportunity to hear the lovely sound of one's own voice was because this report was an outcome of the MetPro failure of procurement and this report contained hundreds of Contracts which needed "Regularisation" ( Mr Mustard thinks that means they needed to be put right in some way ). If you go back to the box above there is page after page of contracts which need correcting in some way.
If everything had been perfect the councillors would doubtless have been happy to go 10 rounds to get the right to present the report.
7.17 Item 10 agreed. The public then went home.
Open, transparent, a democracy. No, this is Barnet.