Thursday, 26 August 2010

Barnet council's new relationship with residents: don't ask us any questions

I thought this might happen. Until recently, Barnet residents were able to raise any matter of council business under public questions at a number of council meetings, including the Cabinet, the body that takes all the big decisions. Then the Cabinet got bored of answering our questions - why, as much as 30 minutes of their precious time had to be given over to this part of the agenda!

They changed the rules so that we could only ask questions on a topic that was being discussed at the meeting in question. Since the public had to give eight clear working days' notice of what we wanted to ask the Cabinet, it made it impossible to ask any questions at all, because the agenda for the Cabinet meeting is never available that early.

So they have now changed the deadline. We can ask questions on any topic discussed at the meeting, and must give two clear working days' notice of what we want to ask. You now have till 10am on Thursday 2 September to submit your questions for the 6 September Cabinet c/o

I have only just found out about the deadline change, so I and a number of other people have submitted questions to the Cabinet which we now find cannot be asked. I would love to have a list of those questions - if anyone wants to send me their question, I'll publish them here.

The upshot of it is this - unless it is on the agenda of the Cabinet meeting on 6 September, Barnet residents cannot ask questions about:

- Mr Meakins
- Future Shape/easyCouncil
- councillors' allowances
- Brent Cross
- sheltered housing wardens
- Connaught
- Catalyst
- academies and free schools
- Icelandic banks

Well, you can make your own list of pressing concerns in which Barnet residents have a vital interest. I'm about to look through the agenda of the Cabinet meeting on 6 September (594 pages) to see what we can ask questions about. Hm, what can we do with this little lot, and can I get paid for this?
Report of the Business Management Overview and Scrutiny Sub-Committee
5. Recycling and Waste Minimisation
Reports of the Cabinet Member for Housing, Planning & Regeneration (and of the Business Management Overview and Scrutiny Committee in respect of item 6a)
6. Local Development Framework – Core Strategy – Publication Stage
6a Comments of the Business Management Overview & Scrutiny Sub-Committee on the LDF Core Strategy
7. Local Development Framework – Development Management Policies
8. Local Development Scheme
Report of the Cabinet Member for Customer Access and Partnerships
9 Strategic Library Review
Reports of the Cabinet Member for Education, Children and Families
10. Barnet’s Corporate Parenting Strategy
11. Investment Strategy to meeting demand for Primary School Places
Report of the Leader of the Council
12. Audit Costs relating to the external investigation of the sale of land at Underhill
Report of Acting Democratic Services Officer
13. Referrals from Council

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Shame that Brent Cross is off limits.

What was the question going to be?