Wednesday, 20 October 2010

A good use of time?

We had Full Council at Shire Hall again yesterday and it was yet another meeting where you have to question the meaning of the Lib Dems:
  • A motion on Press and PR expenditure which asks for a premature decision on a review that is currently taking place as part of the budget process.
  • A motion challenging the minutes of the last Full Council meeting when the first thing they did at the start of the meeting was to agree the previous minutes.
  • A motion asking for online publication of Declarations of Interest - which they could have got just by dropping someone a quick email (which we supported but added the inclusion of CRB checking information).
  • Yet another motion about Academies which, in short, accused heads of misleading Governors and parents by omitting information.  It was yet another attempt by Cllr Downes to get Cambridgeshire to oppose all things academy, basically covering ground that was covered at the last Council Meeting. The motion also showed a remarkable distrust in Nick Clegg's comments with regard to fairness recently.  (We amended this to tone the language down, to recognise the hard work heads and Officers were doing on Academies and to recognise the commitment to fairness in education that Nick Clegg has made).

Full Council is an extremely important part of the democratic function.  But the meetings take a great deal of Council Officer's time to service and support so, the more time we spend on superfluous rubbish the more money we waste.

We are a Council facing the prospect of 25-40% budget cuts over the next four years - we have to be efficient and that means political groups using meetings in a way that offers the right sort of challenge and that is respectful of officer's time.   Unfortunately the Lib Dems really don't get it.

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