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Posted by: John Brace | 14th September 2011

Economy & Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee 5th September 2011 Part 3 Budget Issues for Economy and Housing in 2012/2013

Cllr Johnston said there had to be some explanation over why it was included, Cllr Foulkes had mentioned in his address to Council and the press that he would include scrutiny committees. He had expected chairs of committees to draw together and decide on direction, but he had only been given 24 hours notice to decide over the holidays and come to some conclusions. He had not been ready to remove regular items. There wouldn’t be a special meeting, but it was going to make this meeting longer. Cllr Johnston praised officers over the detail, but said the “information isn’t there to make detailed financial decisions”. The councillor said it would be helpful to have the portfolio holder and member of the Executive to present options and give his opinion. They could debate whether or not to engage scrutiny over the issue as well as the practicalities. They could agree to fully cooperate and scrutinise. Alternatively they could refuse to engage. The Executive needed to know by December, but he didn’t want extra work to impact on the agreed Work Program. A middle ground was the Executive giving the scrutiny committee options to scrutinise.

Cllr Hackett said the role of scrutiny was to inform and advise the executive and he thought they should help the executive to make savings. It was last-minute, but scrutiny could help. He had a couple of questions to ask. The first was about planning application fees. He asked if they were based on a realistic target and in the spirit of helping with the budget that if officers had no answers then could a further report come to the committee?


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