Sunday, 27 May 2012

What Are The Options?

Overview & Scrutiny Panel meeting Tuesday evening and all but one report available. Unfortunately that one report is the one Ive been most keen to see: the Scrutiny Arrangements report. A quick recap of OSP on the issue which led to this.

Labour's majority on the Airport Working Party last year got some recommendations through to OSP (along with Council as a separate motion) where basically the recommendations would block Manston Night Flights. There was a big argument at the time whether such a motion would be pre-determination on Labour's side, having pledged in their manifesto to say no to Night Flights.

When it appeared before Council the motion was refused due to legal advice, causing outrage from Labour. OSP put the recommendations through but when they appeared before the Conservative Cabinet, they were rejected outright.

OSP minutes from October made a point while considering this about the lack of resources available to OSP in order for it to do its work. A meeting took place in January and the Options paper was supposed to have appeared by now. This report is the one that Ive talked about in previous blogs with regards to its new Chair, Ian Driver. This has potential implications for the relationship between Cabinet and OSP and will likely have financial costs too, seeing as Thanet has little outlay on Scrutiny, compared to other authorities. Any spending on this will be un-budgeted.

So what's likely to happen? Well, the Panel is now majority Alliance, so basically whatever Driver wants, as the Conservatives even with Tom Kings support, cannot block the Alliance at present. In terms of issues to appear before the Panel, we can see from one of the other agenda items Driver wants to see "Review of the Universal Credit Scheme/Welfare Benefits Reform", "Social Housing in Thanet" and "Development of a 'public call for scrutiny'" along with a lot of work on the next Budget process. Add to that the inevitable item of the Major Trauma Review and we already have a pretty heavy going Work Programme. I understand the OSP wants to be broad in its outlook but this is over-extending its reach. 

No comments: