Friday, 27 June 2014

The new cabinet - a first agenda

I have been waiting with interest the release of the papers for the new Joint Administration’s first cabinet meeting next Tuesday. This is inevitably an important committee cycle. Many policies or initiatives take some months to implement, particularly where there is a period of consultation involved, and the Council’s historic decision to avoid significant meetings in August means that the next cabinet is not scheduled until the end of September with the subsequent full council in October. By then we will be only about seven months until a new cabinet is appointed and with the late autumn dominated by planning for the next budget, time is surprisingly short. Obviously we have already seen a number of policy changes announced by cabinet members in the local press to include Shoebury flood defences, libraries and care homes but as I have already commented many of these announcements have been premature and decidedly undemocratic. However they now they have the chance to deal with this properly as they seek to change previous decisions of the council. So what do we have? Well it is always difficult to absorb all the paperwork without hard copies but on the 24 point agenda there appears to be nothing on Shoebury flood defences, libraries or care homes. I see there is a paper on utilising HRA sites for council house developments but where are the others decisions? Surely they are not hidden in one of the more general capital or revenue papers bearing in mind that we are told theses are headline priorities. If they are not taking decisions through this cycle then on what authority have the earlier council decisions been suspended? If they are not pursuing these policies then surely we should be told - particularly with regard to libraries as this has immediate revenue ramifications. Let’s hope that the opposition members who are being expected to support this administration are better informed than the general public!

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