As you can imagine there are not many formal meetings over the next couple of weeks.
Just a couple of meetings this week.
On Monday 21st December there is a meeting of the Customers Overview and Scrutiny committee.
Agenda includes: Developing a Corporate Communication Strategy and Review of the Gladstone IT system. The Gladstone system is the IT system used through our Leisure Centres. Although I'm not a member of the committee I'll see if I can attend as I'm interested in the ideas coming through with the Communication Strategy and what they have in mind to use alliterative media to put out information.
On Tuesday 22nd December there is a a meeting of the Social Services Budget and Efficiencies group. A small officer/member group looking at specifically the Social Services departments. I am a member of this group and will be attending the meeting on Tuesday.
That's it then until Principal Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Monday 4th January.
At this meeting we will be reviewing the Business Cases that have been put forward for the next financial year. These where also on the agenda for the Cabinet on 8th December. I was disappointed at this meeting that the Cabinet had not reviewed the Business Cases and instead passed the task straight through to Principal.
Each portfolio holder has agreed the Business Cases associated with there role, but I and other members where expecting them to review and filter through all the Business Cases to at the very least provide some priority to each case. An argument given was that as we had not received the final settlement the cabinet did not know how much they needed to cut. My view is that they still should have given some priority and provide leadership to the rest of the Council in this matter (Is this not what they are paid extra to do).
The fact they where not sure whether it was £350K or more should have not prevented them offering some guidance. In fact had they identified £500K of savings this will have allowed a decision to then be made on what to do with the extra. i.e. add to reserves for future year savings or reducing the expected 5% Council Tax increase.
Instead this initial tranche of the Business Cases has been passed to the backbenchers on the Principal Scrutiny Committee.
I have since the Cabinet meeting discovered that the Business Cases agenda had been brought to Cabinet first as it was felt in the past that the Cabinet should provide the initial guidance. This year they have failed to do this. This is a view that Principal Scrutiny members may just simply pass the job back to the Cabinet. Although I'm not a member of Principal I will be there and will spend a lot of time over the holidays reading the Business Case details. All makes for an interesting new year.
The Council this year will be open between Christmas and New Year for the first time. You can find information on service availability here:
Personally Christmas is a time to catch up with family. Will spend sometime here and a few days away.
If I don't post before Friday, I wish everyone a
Very Merry Christmas
and Happy New Year.