Scrutiny in a Cold Climate

Times are changing in local government and it is getting pretty uncomfortable. Here in Gloucester we are facing big questions over the next few months, about the shape and nature of what the City Council do, attempting to anticipate the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Before Scrutiny Committee this week Councillors attended a short training session on the Three Year Money Plan. Then during the meeting we agreed the recommendations of the Budget Task and Finish group which has proposed a strong role for Scrutiny in the budget process. I am really pleased about this because we have to be open, transparent and democratic.  A real understanding of how decisions have been made about where cuts will fall will benefit us all.

Now, I am not suggesting that there will be no political differences between us when it comes to Budget Day – but we all can agree,  I think, that we want to know that our money is being spent effectively and on things that really make a difference to Gloucester. As a Labour Group we will continue to argue that the cuts being forced upon us are too savage, too swift and that they are more damaging than they need be. We will be asking the Lib Dems to face up to the price that we are paying for their participation in the Coalition. We will remind the Tories that there is no popular mandate for what they are doing.

However, we will not shirk our responsibilities to join with all members  on Scrutiny to be the ‘critical friend’, to understand the problems faced and to positively engage with the Cabinet and with the public to reshape local services in a cold climate.  If we do any less then we will be doing the electorate a great disservice,  I hope that we can meet that challenge.

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  • Joe K  On August 4, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    I do wonder if the council, either one, will continue to blame the government for not allocating enough funds..?

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