Vote of NO CONFIDENCE as senior Tories shirk responsibilities they get paid for

September 19, 2013 10:42 AM
Cllr Karen Chilvers

Cllr Karen Chilvers, Chair of Overview & Scrutiny

A vote of no confidence in the Tory administration running Brentwood was carried last night during the Overview & Scrutiny Committee.

The role of the committee is key in scrutinising the decisions and strategy of the administration and, even though 11 of the 18 Key Performance Indicators had not been met, no senior member of the administration attended the meeting. In fact, only three out of the twenty-one Conservative councillors attended the meeting compared to ten of the sixteen opposition councillors (including six of the nine Lib Dem councillors).

Cllr Karen Chilvers, Lib Dem Chair of Overview & Scrutiny, said:

"Whilst I fully appreciate the fact that some councillors on the committee and the Leader had some very genuine reasons for not attending the meeting due family & health issues, the entire committee - including some of the three Tory councillors who were there - expressed their utmost disappointment at the turn out for this important function of the council.

"The agenda contained the quarterly performance statistics which are going backwards every quarter with some serious shortcomings in the areas of housing, planning and finance but not one of the relevant chairs were there to defend their record and they left the officers - those who are simply carrying out the decisions made - to carry the can and be subjected to difficult and uncomfortable questioning from councillors at the fact that we failed to achieve 56% of our KPIs.

Deputy Leader Cllr Roger Hirst was not at O&S to defend his party's record

Deputy Leader Cllr Roger Hirst was not at O&S to defend his party's record

"I would have thought that, at the very least, Cllr Roger Hirst as acting leader of the Council could have attended to support our officers and try to defend the Tory record. Let's not forget that these senior Tories receive significant additional allowances to compensate them for the time and effort they put into their roles.

"I am pleased that on other matters - such as the need for a staff satisfaction survey and some guidance for officers negotiating with Essex County Council - that the committee were united and made some good decisions."

No confidence vote won

Under urgent business, a motion was put forward for a vote of no confidence in the Tory administration due to its continuing poor performance.

Cllr Barry Aspinell, Lib Dem Leader, said:

"In my 32 years on Brentwood Council this has never happened but it is clear that the Tories are failing to such an extent that something has to be done to make them sit up and listen. This is a serious vote that shows how people feel about how they are running our town.

"We councillors have a duty to serve Brentwood and do what is best for its residents and it is clear by the lack of interest they have shown in carrying out their responsibilities and answering questions on their record that they are not rising to the occasion.

The vote was won 4-3 and we now wait to hear what further action will be taken.

You can watch that debate here: