Sunday, 8 February 2009

Who is reading my blog?

Received a comment on my post on the "Medium Term Financial Strategy" from "Jonathan" which got me very excited! I can't say for certain that this is the same Jonathan who is leader of Hartlepool Council Labour Group but what an honour if it is! Imagine someone as important as that taking time to read my blog!

You can read his comment under the post in question. His main "constructive" criticism is that the document is the culmination of 9 months work and that scrutiny considered it back in October and again last month. With backbench Councilors making a series of recommendations that would alter the document considerably.

After receiving his comments I returned to the 9/16th inch thick document to look for these recommendations that will alter the document considerably. I found them on Page 33. They consisted of 29 lines of text (including the blank line after the header, 3 blank lines separating the three points and a final blank line before the next header). The resulting 24 lines of text not only gave the input of Scrutiny Co-ordinating Committee (detailed report considered by Cabinet on 23rd January) but also the Trade Union and Business Sector Representatives and feedback from the various political groups.

The considerable changes the Cabinet have been "asked to consider" from back bench scrutiny are concerns about the proposed additional 1% efficiencies, particularly for Adult and Community Services!

The Political Groups, Trade Unions and Business Leaders wanted representation made to the government about the floor dampening adjustment, assurances that compulsory redundancies would not be made before redeployment of staff to post currently filled by agency staff and that the council undertake a review of pricing policies in 2010/2011.

I'm not sure which of these represent considerable changes to the document? Although in the spirit of constructive criticism I would point out that if the document was the result of 9 months work it must have been started in May last year and was first considered by Scrutiny in October! That's not exactly hands on by Back Bench Councilors during the formative stages!

Silly me thought scrutiny was set up to keep back bench Councillors out of the way by giving them the appearance of being involved in real decision making when in fact they are not. Scrutiny is of course great if you want your photo in the Hartlepool Mail looking sadly at pot holes in the road! but doesn't actually do anything about anything

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