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Councillor criticises scrutiny process at cabinet meeting

The council’s overview and scrutiny process was challenged at cabinet last night (Thursday), with one councillor calling it ‘illegal’.

A report, which proposed a new ‘operating model’ for Highways and Transport, was added to the Highways and Transport Overview and Scrutiny Panel 24 hours before the meeting on Tuesday, December 6.

Under the scheme, road maintenance, flood risk management, traffic management and other services would all be outsourced to private companies.

Speaking at cabinet, Cll Malcolm Beer (Ind, Old Windsor), said: “Overview and scrutiny is not working.

“The whole concept of cabinet is that it’s backed and supported by overview and scrutiny who have the time to scrutinise. If you’re only given a day or two to look at things, most people cannot scrutinise.

“I venture to suggest we are approaching a procedure which may be considered illegal.”

Cllr Lynne Jones (Ind, Old Windsor) criticised the lack of evidence and case study in the paper which was delivered by Cllr Phillip Bicknell, cabinet member for Highways and Transport.

Responding to their concerns, Cllr Simon Dudley, leader of the council said he had ‘confidence’ the officers had done the necessary work.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Natasha Airey, lead member for children’s services, said there was ‘plenty of opportunity’ to scrutinise papers and the papers could also be called in afterwards if councillors had concerns.

Also discussed:

  • Cabinet approved a report about the delivery of children’s services. This report covered the progress which had been made since Cabinet approved the proposed partnership for delivering children’s services in September with the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames and The Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames.
  • Cabinet approved a report about the business case and the progress of implementation to the delivery of adult services. In October, Cabinet approved a partnership in adult services with Wokingham Borough Council through Optalis Limited.
  • Cabinet approved the adoption of the Indoor Sport and Leisure Strategy and the Playing Pitch Strategy. These strategies replace existing strategies that were adopted in 2007 and forms part of the evidence base for the Borough Local Plan.

The meeting took place at Maidenhead Town Hall on Thursday, December 15.

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