Sunday, October 11, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy!

A big week, which has included a key Cabinet meeting, chairing a Talking Together event on revnewable energy, lots of leafletting and a major street surgery in Springfield on Friday, so apologies for not posting until now. And that's before AJ's all-day chess tournament in Newcastle on Saturday!

Thanks especially to James, who has helped keep the debate on the Food Fair and the Echo/Town Crier going against stiff odds.

Regular contributor Paul Cain wonders whether this is some special avoidance technique hoping that the issue will "move on". Nothing quite so cynical, Paul, and I hope my later comments will address some of the points of concern.


ianh said...

Ultimately this whole sorry mess must bring about questions of responsibility and accountability.

You have predictably pointed to the failure of the Scrutiny Commiittee to raise concerns at the appropriate time.
As i stated on Mikes blog last week:
"I am however concerned that the scrutiny committee model means that the ruling party can in effect make the opposition complicit in their actions.
IE, without (apparently) having full access to the facts , the all-party scrutiny committee failed to effectively bring dbc to account at the time of the mistakes.
Now, several yrs on the mistakes and incompetence have again been highlighted but dbc fall back on the fact that the scrutiny committee did not act at the time.
This is true, but surely this brings into the question the appropriatness of the Scrutiny system when dealing with details involving legal contracts etc."

Irrespective of the above, the ultimate responsibilty must lie with the elected cllrs who get paid, via their allowances,to take responsibility for their portfolios.
Ulitmate responsibilty must then lie with the council leader, who on a number of occassions has now shown that he is incapble of getting the big decisions right.

As far as i am aware, no-one, cllr or officer, has taken responsibility for their mistakes, or proved that they are accountable for their actions.

ianh said...

oops, wrong thread!

I am responsible for getting this wrong....not my secretary or my staff, it was my mistake and I am happy to be held accountable for this regrettable lapse on my part.........

Darlington Councillor said...

I'm arranging the firing squad as I speak...

This might seem like I'm splitting hairs, but I'm not making any kind of attack on scrutiny - the committee I referred to was responsible for shortlisting and then selecting the contractors.

I mentioned it only because (according to themselves) the Tories have assumed god-like powers of foresight all of a sudden, and apparently would have been able to pick up on the problems in advance. Well, from what we can see from the committee which awarded the '90/10' contract, Tory members are just as fallible as Labour councillors.

There is a whole big debate about accountability and where it lies that is very prevalent in national government too - you tend to find that in opposition, parties (of all colours) call for ministerial heads to roll, but then have a change of tack when actually in office themselves and difficulties with detailed contract management come to light.