Thursday, June 14, 2007

What are we scrutinising?

I have said before that Scrutiny is one of the most important functions of the council, keeping track of the actions of the all-powerful Executive Committee.

Having attended some scrutiny training tonight, I'm not quite sure.

Apparently there are such restrictions about what we can scrutinise, when we can scrutinise, what we should scrutinise ... it hardly seems worth it. If the Executive makes a stupid decision we can't call it in for scrutiny unless they break the policy guidelines (which they or the government set!) and everything must be justified in terms of achievement. Scrutiny should be there for detailed work but I also think that just stopping to think twice is a good function in itself is important. But, no...

So what can we actually do - are we checks and balances or are we there simply to help further the work of the executive?

We then had one of the longest meetings I have ever known, bickering amongst ourselves over which of several rather sidelined topics we should scrutinise.

I hope whichever we end up picking (decision still not made) good ones and making the best of what the government gives us. One thing is for sure, I have an interest in making bad policy work for the people of Norwich, but I sure won't try and make it work for the Norwich Labour Party!

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