Friday, September 12, 2008

Lib Dems Refuse to Reform Scrutiny at Guildhall

Once again the Lib Dems running Cambridge City Council ducked an opportunity to improve the quality of decisions made by the council at a full meeting of the council last night.  They should learn from the County Council, which this year won an award for the quality of its scrutiny.

Since the Local Government Act 2000, district councils, like the City Council, have been required to adopt one of a number of 'strong government' models.  Cambridge therefore replaced the old committee system with a set of 'executive councillors'.

Unfortunately the Lib Dems have chosen to stuff all of the scrutiny committees with chairmen from their own group, rendering those committees completely useless at holding the executive to account.

While City Conservatives respect the right of the elected ruling Lib Dem group to try to implement its own set of priorities, the crony scrutiny system is unacceptable.

Both Lib Dem and Labour county councillors from within Cambridge have been known to praise the County Council for running an effective scrutiny system and allowing opposition councillors to chair scrutiny committees and even the Lib Dem leader, Mr Clegg, has praised (p. 6) his party in Kingston for running such a system.  We challenge the local Lib Dems to think again.

Andrew Bower

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