Pensions again

3 Sep

Professional Pensions has reported on Sir Robin’s decision to overrule the recommendation of Overview & Scrutiny (OSC) and proceed to spend £500,000 on developing a ‘special purpose vehicle for Newham’s pension fund.

Forest Gate South councillor Dianne Walls, one of the OSC members who called in the original decision, is quoted at length:

She is concerned about releasing the funds without reference to the Investment & Accounts Committee which “should really look at all of these things very closely”.

Walls believes it is important to look at the proposal in more depth rather than “spending lots of money without due process”.

She said: “It’s a matter of principal, mainly because there’s a lot of decisions made at cabinet and mayor level that have not been open and haven’t been scrutinised properly.”

She added: “As we’ve seen in the past, when decisions are made in haste or without due process, then we make mistakes and we lose money. This is not to say that this actual proposal is wrong – we just don’t know – we need to look at it very carefully before we commit half a million pounds.”

At a time when the council is being forced to make £50m in cuts, she said that spending public money without investigating properly raises the risk of making costly mistakes, which the council “cannot afford to make”.

Cllr Walls noted that call-ins are very rare – only two have been made in 12 years.

And both were on the subject of pensions.

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