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Tory Chair’s Scrutiny Shambles

December 1, 2013 5:19 PM


After viciously ousting Cllr Karen Chilvers as chair of Overview & Scrutiny, the Tories have made a shambolic start to their chairmanship of the committee by failing to follow their own procedures and having to defer a key item of business - a fact pointed out to them by the same ousted chair who WAS able to follow procedures.

A decision on an item of business - the controversial Hutton Community Centre - had been called in to scrutiny by nine opposition councillors but, rather than follow the call-in procedure of having a pre-meeting at which the issue is discussed and the caller-in plus the relevant committee chair are able to request witnesses and background papers as well as set the ground rules for the meeting - the Tory chair decided to just tag it on to an existing agenda, without the required protocol being followed.

Cllr Karen Chilvers, who competently ran a call-in meeting in October 2013, said:

"I am pretty shocked - I asked about the call-in meeting and it quickly transpired that procedures had not been followed. Never before have I seen a committee be adjourned with the chair, vice-chair and three officers leave the chamber to discuss it - and to think one of their reasons for hounding me out of office was for asking officer advice during the meeting!"

Also during the meeting, the Tories had to admit that they were now failing to meet two thirds of their objectives, refused to set up a group to discuss why so many items were being held in secret, abandoned a task & finish group despite not telling the chair of that group.

Cllr Chilvers said:

"Everything we feared would happen is happening - the Tories are failing to srutinise themselves and trying their best to sweep everything under the carpet.

"Well, perhaps it is time for a few new brooms."