Asking Questions makes a difference

5th October, 2011

Questions about this years budget at the scrutiny meeting on the 1st August caused looks of consternation from the mayor and deputy. Every question we asked revealed a growing problem with delivering the savings that were agreed in February. We discovered that this added up to a £5m black hole and was an unpleasant shock to all. Failure to make these savings now will result in a bigger headache for next year.

Since then a whole series of events have taken place. Officers were told not to attend the following scrutiny meeting by the mayor, presumably avoiding further embarrassment. Perhaps, more importantly, giving time for the executive to catch up on what was happening. The former Chief Finance Officer has been re-employed after being made redundant at considerable cost. Scrutiny commissioned a report on the budget and agreed to hold a special meeting on 13th October to consider it.

This report has not been released in time for the scrutiny agenda meeting, not because its not ready, but to give time for the cabinet to meet in private to consider the report. Which they did yesterday. A special meeting of the Labour Group has been called to consider the budget and the report.

Its seems that these few questions at scrutiny have helped to focus attention on the serious issues confronting the council.

So let no one say that asking a few questions cannot make things happen! Unless you think it is all coincidence?




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