Thursday, March 04, 2010

Leisure comes to Barkingside

This is an interesting development. Since the year 2000 Redbridge council has operated a Cabinet system of government. Each Cabinet portfolio has a Scrutiny committee made up of rank and file councillors which supposedly scrutinises the activities of their relevant Cabinet member. These meetings have, up to recently, been held at the Town Hall. But last December the Council’s Planning and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee held a meeting at Ilford County High School when a major agenda item affecting this area, the Regeneration of Barkingside Town Centre, was to be discussed.

We now learn that the Leisure Scrutiny committee is to hold its next meeting at Fullwell Cross library on Wednesday 24th March 2010. We are wondering why? The agenda has not been published yet so we don’t know what local issues may be discussed. It does say here that “Items on the agenda include an update on a new swimming pool and library in the borough” but those are Seven Kings issues. It also says that the “Public are permitted to ask questions to the Members if they register in advance”.

However, most committee Chairman do allow the public to comment if it adds to procedings as did the firm but fair Chairman of this committee, Bob Littlewood, in allowing me to speak at an earlier meeting when I had not registered.

Of course this could be an unpublicised initiative to get these scrutiny committees out into the communities they serve, and if this is the case it should be applauded. These committees do a lot of good and vital work and any move that encourages residents to attend, participate and scrutinise the scrutineers is very welcome.


  1. This is not such a new event.

    In the period September 2000 to May 2002 I was Chairman of the Resources Scrutiny Committee. We had a review of halls lettings charges on the agenda. I was anxious to engage the public in the process - particularly groups who were hiring the halls.

    I wanted to hold two meetings - one at the Town Hall for those in the south and east of the borough, and one at the Hawkey Hall for those in the west and north. Officers suggested all kinds of spurious "reasons" for limiting the process to a single Town Hall meeting.

    I insisted on doing it my way. Result? A significant measure of public contribution to the process and mucher greater feeling of satisfaction on their part.

    Councillors exist to serve the public - not the other way round. And officers should fall in line with what councillors wish to do if it is legal.

  2. Maybe not new, but also not common?

    And "I insisted on doing it my way"
    I didn't know you were in the Rat Pack, Morris.

  3. Don't be so cheeky to your elders!!

  4. Au contraire, Morris.
    I was fascinated, and impressed, reading about your exploits when I was in Primary School.

  5. Come off it, B21 - not even YOU were that slow a learner.