In June 2016, I took the chair of the Vale Scrutiny Committee, and co-chair of the Joint South and Vale Scrutiny Committee.
I have three main goals:
- Increase engagement with committee members, council members, officers, Cabinet and the public.
- Improve the reputation of Scrutiny for adding value to our policies and strategies.
- Improve the working relationship with Cabinet, to bring draft policy and strategy docs to Scrutiny earlier in the process, not at the very end, one day before adoption.
I’ll report back on how I’m doing. Right now, in December 2016, I feel optimistic.
I’ve taken some time in August to watch the Rio 2016 Olympics. TiVo worked overtime to keep my attention on amazing sport achievement. Wasn’t it great? Aren’t you feeling proud?
A lot of what I’ve been doing in recent months has more to do with long term strategy than fixing individual problems. Council life ebbs and flows like that.
- Using the Local Plan examination and consultation process to save as much of the Vale’s Green Belt as possible. This effort continues into Local Plan Part 2 and builds on successes with Local Plan Part 1, where collaboration with local parishes and community organisations reaped major rewards.
- Working to improve the way Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP) engage with the public and local representatives. I’m trying to improve transparency and accountability through using council’s overview and scrutiny process, which I now chair.
- Collaborating with other Oxfordshire Lib Dem groups to encourage political leaders to work together to come to a consensus on the way forward for local government reorganisation. I think residents needs should come first.
- Learning how to be a more effective Chairman of Scrutiny. Scrutiny Committee is a public responsibility to hold council’s decision makers accountable and recommend policy and strategy improvements. It’s challenging to make recommendations that could improve policies or save money, when we aren’t a decision-making body.
It’s hard for me to summarise those items in a nutshell. That probably accounts for how quiet my blog has been in the last month. I can take one of them at a time and tell you about it.