Diary of a Sutton Councillor

Tuesday 24th February 7.30pm

Scrutiny Overview Committeesolas30lifebuoy1

The main item for consideration at this meeting was the Council’s Ten Point Plan for supporting businesses and residents during the economic downturn. Corin Thomas and Gill Bull were the council officers in attendance to answer member’s questions.

 

The committee learnt that an Economic Support Task Force made up of representatives from the business community and voluntary sector as well as local MPs and council officers had been set up to assess the impact of the downturn on residents and businesses and to pool their expertise to consider ways to help the borough through these difficult times.

 

Members had received a report on the progress to date on the ten point plan and asked specific questions on some of the individual measures.

It was interesting to hear that not many small businesses supplying the council had taken up the priority payment scheme. Investigation had found that most of the small suppliers were already happy with the speed they were paid by the council and so didn’t feel the need to ask for priority.

 

The Citizens’ Advice Bureau advised that they had experienced a 21% increase in enquiries relating to personal debt.

 

I enquired about how well the housing benefit department was managing with the increase in claims and was advised that they were currently keeping on top on things but the situation was being monitored.

 

I also suggested that representatives from the local regional body of accountants be invited to sit on the task force for their specific expertise as business advisors might be useful.

 

The other agenda item discussed in detail was the council’s quarterly tracker report which highlights the progress of various departments and partners against the key plans and performance measures.

 

Members picked out items they wanted to have more information about. I picked up the lack of data available to monitor performance relating to the number of adults in contact with secondary mental health services. It was hoped that the Mental Health Trust will make this information available soon.

 

This cross-party scrutiny committee worked cooperatively this evening. The opposition members got in their political points about the ten point plan but it was otherwise a sensible review of ongoing work.

 

no_blackberries1

 

My only quibble is with members emailing or texting on their blackberries during the course of the meeting. I feel that it is incredibly rude having asked officers & other witnesses to attend and give evidence at a meeting only to ignore them in favour of playing with their little black boxes. It happens too frequently for it to be explained away as ‘urgent messages’.

Advertisements

March 23, 2009 - Posted by | Committee Meeting

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: