Council complaints to be heard before all members, Tories propose

New leader: Councillor Kevin Davis

New leader: Councillor Kevin Davis

First published in News Surrey Comet: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy editor

People wishing to challenge Kingston Council decisions will have their case heard by all 48 elected members in the future, under proposals by the new Conservative administration.

Council leader Councillor Kevin Davis wants to scrap the council's scrutiny panel amid plans to shake up the authority's committee structure following last month's elections.

The scrutiny panel currently meets infrequently to challenge decisions made by the council's committees.

It deals primarily with resident call-ins - where the public submits a petition calling for a review of a committee decision.

The Conservatives now want to shift the function to full council instead.

Coun Davis said: "If you look at how often the panel was meeting, it was eating up an allowance for somebody that wasn't doing anything. If we really want to engage with residents than putting them in dark committee rooms at 10.30 at night is not the way to do that.

"I want more debates with all councillors present. I want someone to come to full council and feel there point has been heard and discussed by everyone at the council."

Liberal Democrat leader Liz Green said: "Full council doesn't currently allow for public participation. So are they going to change full council and say it is now allowed?

"It currently just isn't set up to deal with this sort of work."

Labour chairman Laurie South said: "Scrutiny is a bizarre thing for the Lib Dems to worry about, because there was very little scrutiny before.

"Even when we had a scrutiny panel, it was hard for the public to get things raised.

"There are opportunities to find different ways to scrutinise without the scrutiny panel, but the question is how and what kind of scrutiny will the Tories introduce?"

Comments (1)

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7:45am Fri 13 Jun 14

0753waterloo says...

A Scrutiny panel is there to primarily deal with COMMUNITY call ins, and it's the community that will loose out here. It provides checks and balances, and makes sure decisions are well thought through and transparent. Hearing possibly complex matters in full council is just not good enough.

Of course the real reasons for this change are politically motivated. Tory PPC James Berry, who attended the Conservative Group meetings, celebrated the removal of scrutiny as a way to stop the Lib Dems Blocking change.

Kingston Residents have had some of there ability to engage in local government removed and this is saddening.

As for the Tory Councillors, who spent years complaining about lack of transparency, you should be ashamed.
A Scrutiny panel is there to primarily deal with COMMUNITY call ins, and it's the community that will loose out here. It provides checks and balances, and makes sure decisions are well thought through and transparent. Hearing possibly complex matters in full council is just not good enough. Of course the real reasons for this change are politically motivated. Tory PPC James Berry, who attended the Conservative Group meetings, celebrated the removal of scrutiny as a way to stop the Lib Dems Blocking change. Kingston Residents have had some of there ability to engage in local government removed and this is saddening. As for the Tory Councillors, who spent years complaining about lack of transparency, you should be ashamed. 0753waterloo
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