To receive a report from the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee on the work undertaken by the Management Committee and the associated Overview and Scrutiny Committees over the past year.
RECOMMENDATION: That the report from the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee be noted.
The Council considered the annual report from the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee and the Overview and Scrutiny Committees, set out at Agenda pages 45 to 66.
It was proposed by Philip Houldsworth and seconded by Malcolm Richards that the report be noted.
Philip Houldsworth thanked the Committee and the Officers who had supported them and residents for their contribution. He also thanked Councillor Batth for chairing the Committee for much of the municipal year. Philip Houldsworth stated that scrutiny was changing and that they were determined to make it more effective. He referred to the grounds maintenance report and the scrutiny of 21st Century Council.
Malcolm Richards referred to the training that Members had had in order to stay updated.
Lindsay Ferris commented that he believed that there had been a major improvement in overview and scrutiny over the last 18 months and was pleased that cross party Chairman’s briefings took place. Whilst there was still a long way to go, he felt that scrutiny was now in ‘the foothills.’ Lindsay Ferris referred to areas for scrutiny over the coming year including the budget. He suggested that there needed to be more effort and training put into scrutiny.
Andy Croy was of the view that overview and scrutiny committees should provide balance or counterweight to the Executive. He felt that it had been difficult to get specific items on to the agenda or on the agenda in a timely manner. He referred to the scrutiny of the Wokingham Market Place works which he felt had not been carried out in a timely manner. Andy Croy stated that with the collapse of Dawnus he had been pressing for proper scrutiny of Peach Place and other construction contracts that the Council had. He went on to emphasise that it was important that Members asked questions and were properly briefed and engaged.
Gary Cowan stated that it was interesting to see what had not been scrutinised and referred to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme and the Members Allowance Scheme. He suggested that more policies should be considered by overview and scrutiny prior to their adoption.
Upon being put to the vote it was:
RESOLVED: That the report from the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee be noted.