Sunday 8 February 2015

Sidelining Scrutiny - Premature and Unconstitutional?

Further to my earlier blogpost, Next week's meeting - Scrutiny sidelined, it seems that the decision to to shove Scrutiny and Planning Committee reports en bloc 'for information only', something the chief executive was particularly keen to do, was not only premature but unconstitutional.

A sharp-eyed commenter on Cneifiwr's blog has picked up on the part of the Constitution which lists the official functions of Full Council (my underlining);

(r) to receive reports from Committees on matters which have been delegated to them and providing an opportunity for Members to ask questions thereon;

(s) to receive and confirm or otherwise the recommendations of Committees on non-executive functions not within their delegation or which a Committee has referred to the Council for decision, to enable Members to ask questions, propose amendments, or to pass such resolution or resolutions thereon as may be deemed appropriate;

What is more, the Council Procedure Rules (Standing Orders) state that full Council will;

(i) receive the reports from the Executive Board and the Council’s committees and receive questions and answers on any of those reports.

Nowhere, at all, in the Constitution does it say 'apart from Scrutiny and Planning committees'.

Changes to the Constitution cannot be made without approval from full council.

As I said, the chief executive, who decides what goes on the agenda for council meetings, has been particularly keen to sideline scrutiny reports in this way so as to permanently shut down controversial debate.

Seems he was a little too keen.

It will be astonishing if Mr James is allowed to get away with this, (and goodness me, he has plenty of form on that count...), so we'll have to see if his newly styled agenda is challenged at Wednesday's meeting.

I strongly suspect that if it is challenged, the Mark James/Linda Rees-Jones comedy double act will attempt to baffle us with yet another one of their unique interpretations of the Constitution...
Sadly, such control freakery looks like it's here to stay


Teifion said...

How on EARTH can these people continue to get away with these things?
It makes a ruddy fiasco of all that is decent and holy :(

Redhead said...

It's happening everywhere - basically they are accountable to no-one - particularly not us. A council CEO has no check or balance except councillors and when he has broken their spherical objects.... he is a Dictator and that's that.

Better, assertive, ethical councillors is the answer ...

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the usual slap to Members will be given - if there's nothing on the agenda about allowing Members to ask questions about why they can't exercise their constitutional right to ask questions, then they can't ask them. And Kev will meekly stand by and let them get away with it.