Tuesday, 7 August 2012

How Far Should OSP Go?

If you haven’t already read it, I posted last night a look at the various TDC Overview sub-Groups which will be approved at tonight’s Overview meeting kicking off at 7pm in the Council Chamber tonight. 

After much waiting, Scrutiny Arrangements will be debated tonight at Overview. Four options on the table and yet for all the reports attached to the item it’s a fairly simple judgement to be made. How far do Overview want to go with the programme they’ve set out and how far is Cabinet going to help in making that a reality?

OSP will want to bid for as much as they want, naturally, but asking for numbers of specially employed staff to help with research is likely to find it getting in Cabinet's way, especially with the Budget in the forefront of their minds and isn’t going to happen. My feeling is that ultimately there will be some kind of compromise along the manner of Option B, but OSP might feel bolder. Certainly at the last OSP meeting Driver seemed to be quietly confident about this one so perhaps I'm missing something. Problem here is that as much as its about money, its also about the Panel considering how much it can take on, this being a point made by a number of Members.

Challenging Cabinet for pots of money wont be easy, should they go for it. With the Food Safety Plan the hope was for extra staff 3.5 FTEs and Cabinet went with less, I believe 1.5. I really can’t see OSP being placed as a higher priority than food safety in Thanet.  Given the Labour talk of an increased Council Tax a couple of weeks back in the local papers, OSP's going to have to put together a pretty smart argument to persuade serious spending. Perhaps we can fund some staff from the apprenticeships scheme?

A petition on Manston is up next, where out of way over 2500 signatories less than a third count! A moot point months late. Night flights are not gonna happen any time soon.

Housing Intervention will have its moment too, where we get to see a bit more flesh. Still a fair way to go here before giving judgement but the explanation on the collaboration is reassuring. Loose but as commented before, they wont want to go too deep here with legal agreements and contracts.


Michael Child said...

James, I have been trying to work out if scrutiny is effective at the council. Do you know if they have ever called a decision in and caused it to be reversed?

James Maskell said...

OSP keeps an eye on the Forward Plan and can ask for items to be added to future agendas, which cuts down the need to call-in. A lot of items appear on agendas as a matter of course so the lack of call-in isn't necessarily because OSP isn't effective.

Last call-in I have was Relocation of RNLI Lifeboat Station back in February last year and was discussed by OSP in its March 1st meeting for which there are detailed minutes.