Thursday, 23 April 2009

Executive Board Erases the Past

They were busy at the Executive Board the other day. Also on the agenda was the housing allocations disaster and specifically the Standards Committee's discussion of the Audit Commission's recommendations for 'moving forward'.

Now first of all class I'm going to set you some revision. Look back, not so much in anger but despair, at my previous musings on the Committee's consideration of this embarrassing episode. There may be a test later.

Finished? Right, lets get back to what the Executive Board said about it.

" RESOLVED that the content of the minute extract be noted.

Reasons for the above decisions:

To enable the Executive Board to be updated on the Standards Committee consideration of the Report of the District Auditor on aspects of the City Council’s allocation of housing properties between 2003 and 2005, to the Council’s acceptance of the District Auditors recommendations in their entirety and to actions for the Authority which were either in hand or already completed arising from the recommendations and to receive the Committee’s comments and observations on the matter."

Interesting because the Standards Committee's advice wasn't to accept the Audit Commission's recommendations in their entirety at all. In particular they rejected the recommendation to draw up a protocol requiring councillors to register potential conflicts of interest when advocating on behalf of constituents. However, prior to the this on 9 February the full Council did formally accept all the Audit Commission's recommendations on pages 5 and 6 of their report. Which said a protocol to -

"Ensure there are mechanisms in place that require councillors to register any potential conflicts of interest when seeking to advocate on behalf of local constituents."

Should be introduced.

I'm not sure where this leaves us. In theory the full Council decision holds sway but why then was the Standards Committee asked to look into it if it wasn't still up for grabs? My hunch is that it means that all the right noises on 'accepting recommendations' get into the papers while the awkward nuts and bolts of actually increasing councillors' accountability is kicked into the long grass.

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