Question time for Sir Robin?

10 Jul

Way back in 2010 I wrote a post on the E-democracy forum about Newham setting a world record for the shortest ever council meeting (just 6 minutes). I noted that the council’s own website said that:

“At these meetings the Council makes major decisions, such as deciding the council tax and budget and policy framework documents. It is the real focus for the whole Council to meet and debate major issues and to ask questions of the Mayor.”

Two years later, in August 2012, I found that the website text had been amended. The new version said:

“At these meetings the Council makes major decisions, such as deciding the council tax and budget and policy framework documents.”

Can you spot the difference? Perhaps they thought no-one would notice, but Sir Robin’s disdain for scrutiny has rarely been so obvious.

There’s now an even newer version which sets out the decisions which by law have to be made at full council. It also says:

“The full council is the opportunity for councillors to question the executive [and] chairs of council committees.”

So someone somewhere has given councillors back their right to publicly question Sir Robin!

I hope that the bright-eyed hopefuls recently selected to contest next year’s elections will, once installed in the council chamber, take that opportunity. Holding the mayor to account for his decisions is, in my view, by far the most important part of their job. And it would make a nice change if they actually did it.

Who knows, they might even get answers!

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