What happened last night at the Overview and Scrutiny Committee

28 Sep

Last night the EDDC Overview and Scrutiny Committee decided to set up a Task and Finish Forum (TAFF) to examine the workings of the East Devon Business Forum (EDBF). Members of the public spoke at the meeting to express their worries that there was undue influence being exerted on the Council, and that there might be inappropriate behaviour by Members of the EDBF who are also Councillors.

A TAFF is an informal subgroup of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee which has the remit to examine some aspect of Council business and report back to the Committee for decision about future actions. Members of the Committee volunteer to be on a TAFF if they have a particular interest or skill in the issue being examined.

Tellingly Graham Brown assumed that he’d be on the TAFF, even though one of its purposes is to examine his own various roles in the EDBF, the Council and as a property developer.

Here are just three concerns raised by the public:

1. Why don’t Councillors officially declare their interest in the EDBF?

2. Can EDBF Councillors act impartially on Planning applications from other EDBF members?

3. Are EDDC officers compromised because Councillors on the EDBF represent both their own business interests and the EDDC? Are they talking to their boss or a consultee?

Were you there last night? Tell us what you thought of it.

3 Responses to “What happened last night at the Overview and Scrutiny Committee”

  1. Richard THurlow September 28, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

    What many of the Councillors and all those speaking in support of the EDBF failed to understand is that whilst everybody supports the idea of a foum of business people to advise EDDc of Business community issues, many people regard the seemingly close affiliation between the Forum and the Council with suspicion.

    Lobby groups are a valid and universal method of trying to influence political leaders, but they are NOT subsidised by the body that they are representing to, nor do they have senior officials and political leaders of that body in their membership.

    In the case of EDBF, the Chair is a Councillor who has extensive business interests which might benefit from decisions taken by EDDC and there are many people on the EDBF who wear two hats.
    It is essentila to develop the EDBF to be independent, and also not have members who are on EDDC.

  2. Claire Wright September 29, 2012 at 2:04 pm #

    It was disappointing for me to see that some councillors appear to be in denial about EDBF’s influence and several disrespectfully dismissed people’s valid concerns.

    And others reverted to their favourite phrase of “but we must provide jobs for our young people.”

    The only way of providing jobs of course, is to build industrial estates!

    Actually Roger Tym’s report states that the more land allocated for industrial land the more likely you are to flood the market, which will have a negative impact on economic growth …

    It is good that a task and finish forum has been set up. It is important that the EDBF review is wide-ranging, rigorous and free from political interference.


  1. Chairman makes decision to postpone next Business TAFF meeting | Save Our Sidmouth - August 27, 2013

    […] 1. What happened last night at the Overview and Scrutiny Committee  (28 Sep 2012)   https://sidmouthindependentnews.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/report-from-overview-and-scrutiny-committee/ […]

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