Archive | April, 2013

“The work of scrutiny…”

25 Apr

..is made clear in a report that was on the agenda at today’s Devon County Council meeting (25 April) .

A SIN correspondent notes:

The meeting which was (as usual) webcast, included item 12: “Scrutiny Annual report 2012/13”.

There are a few interesting comments in the written report emphasising the value to DCC of an effective and independent scrutiny function (eg p7 “Scrutiny is not just about a Cabinet Member of Officers turning up to present a glowing report of progress……..”)

Cllr Brian Greenslade, when discussing the report, said: “The work of scrutiny doesn`t stop just because an election is taking place.”

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Who gets your vote on 2nd May?

25 Apr

There’s nothing like a chance to meet the candidates, to make up your mind! So Vision Group for Sidmouth has organised a hustings (evening of 29th April, Kennaway House cellar bar) , with those standing for the Sidmouth/ Sidford Division in next Thursday’s County Council Elections. Details today at http://www.saveoursidmouth.com

Axminster Town Council refuses to be recorded

24 Apr

View from newspapers publish an account of an Axminster Town Council meeting where a councillor (Paul Hayward) suggested that meetings should be recorded and offered to purchase the recording equipment himself and do all the trials.  However, the offer was refused by a 5-4 vote.

Which makes us wonder what is happening to the decision to record EDDC meetings.  Councillor Ian Thomas put a lot of effort into proving that a small outlay (very, very small in the tens of pounds) would mean that council meetings could be recorded and posted to the internet.  Councillors were reluctant to give it the go ahead until the next annual council meeting, which is now due in May 2013.

Let us hope that what was agreed goes ahead.  If not, we have to find people with an eidetic memory  (being able to perfectly recall images, sounds or objects – thanks Big Bang Theory ) for future council meetings!  Or lean on Eric Pickles who has said time and time again that it is our right to have recorded meetings and to be able to blog and tweet about them but who has not codified his advice into law (yet).

Chancellor can veto fraud investigations

24 Apr

Article in today’s I newspaper HERE:

….. George Osborne has a secret veto over large and potentially politically sensitive fraud investigations, The Independent has learnt. Under a government agreement the Serious Fraud Office must get permission from the Treasury to launch any complex new inquiry which comes on top of its normal budget. But controversially the Treasury can keep its decisions secret – potentially allowing it to veto politically sensitive fraud inquiries, either before or midway through an investigation, without public scrutiny. Ministers have now become the final arbiters of which major financial crimes are investigated as a result of 25 per cent cuts to the SFO’s budget over the past three years, Labour warned. …..

What price relocation?

24 Apr
A correspondent writes, “Has anyone else noticed that on 16th March the Herald published a statement saying EDDC had spent about £244,000 on relocation but by last week the Herald figure had gone up to £255,000.”
£11,000 in about 3 weeks? I wonder what this is being spent on?
On the same topic, another FOI request that has not been answered is referred to in this email from the WhatDoTheyKnow team:

East Devon District Council have delayed.

They have not replied to your FOI request Breakdown of relocation costs of the Knowle promptly, as normally required by law.

Click on the link below to send a message to East Devon District Council reminding them to reply to your request.

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/c/iq57dxq1m7oponnty0u

Leader’s crystal ball

23 Apr

Paul Diviani’s election leaflet has infuriated voters, it seems.

Already sent out, the leaflet  has a photo with the caption, ‘Paul attended the opening of the new play area in Stockland in April this year’.

A hopping-mad local resident  says, “This is quite a feat as the event does not take place until this Saturday (27th).  I find it sad that he has to mislead people in this way about a project that involved a lot of hard work by village residents.”
The current EDDC Leader is standing in the Honiton St Paul’s Ward, for the Devon County Council Elections on 2nd May.
SIN readers may like to be reminded of two earlier posts  Misleading Leader (31/10/2012) , and Questions to EDDC Leader (03/11/2012)

East Devon Alliance shows how it is done

22 Apr

Each meeting of the East Devon Alliance draws more and more enthusiastic participants.  At its latest meeting on Saturday, officers were elected (very transparently and without trauma), a constitution was agreed (with only one small, very sensible and totally agreed change), and all the administrative hurdles that attend the creation of a new group were dealt with politely and democratically.  No secret meetings, no “mine’s bigger than yours”, no party politics, no whips.

What a refreshing change!