25 July 2014

Councillors need to get control of officers - Environment committee

Mr Mustard appears in the above video, thanks Barnet Bugle, from about 1h45m.

Mr Mustard had been somewhat hyper-active at last night's Environment Committee having asked 36 questions which you can find on this link and that is because he thinks there is so much that is wrong with parking policy and he was trying to get councillors to be brave enough to tear up what officers had proposed and make it much more resident friendly.

There were three things that troubled him and the Bugle (himself a former councillor who knows about council procedures) and which they were whispering about in the public gallery.

1. When councillors proposed some changes to the draft policy which is to go out consultation they were told by officers that there wasn't really time to incorporate them. Why did officers not allow time for councillors' amendments to be incorporated rather than simply say it wasn't really possible and then suggest they would stick an extra piece of paper with councillors' comments in at the end? Officers should assume there will be changes and make the timetable accordingly. Councillors set policy, it is why they exist.

2. Councillors were told by a staff member that they should complete the consultation like ordinary members of the public should. Er, no. Councillors will consider the consultation feedback of residents and make their own suggestions at the next committee meeting to consider this, councillors are not the public in this regard, they represent the public. Officers need to remember this.

3. Both parking and Re: (The stupidly shortened name of Regional Enterprise, a council joint venture) officers / staff handed out papers to councillors at the meeting but did not put any extra copies on the table for the public. The public are entitled to see all papers in advance of the meeting as the opportunity to ask public questions was denied and the public were completely in the dark about the detail of what was being discussed. Nothing has been learnt since Tuesday's Audit Committee when an item had to be postponed for a week because councillors had not been given the papers in advance. Governance please take note.

Mr Mustard is off now to email governance and he will copy in the Chief Operating Officer who was also spectating from the public gallery.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

1 comment:

  1. an email received from a local resident

    Well said.

    More to the point… How can it be a 'draft' policy if it can't be amended!

    There is a tale of two committees this week, Audit on one hand and Environment on the other ...


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