We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Room for improvement at RCT Council

November 28, 2013 3:30 PM

The agenda for the Council meeting of 27th November included a debate on the Audit office improvement assessment letter. A dry enough sounding topic, but nonetheless important as the Auditor is tasked with keeping a close eye on the finances and activities of the Council.

Unfortunately there was no representative from the Auditor's office present at the meeting to answer questions, and despite the letter commenting upon actions carried out by Officers on behalf of the Labour administration nobody was willing to comment or answer any questions on it.

The auditor picked up on what many members of the public have already figured out, that despite the amount they spend on it the Council isn't actually very good at communicating with the public.

On page 12 the letter reads

'The Council considers the Corporate Plan to be a technical document, and therefore of limited public interest. However, the two-page summary does not contain sufficient information to provide a general readership with a fair and balanced overview of the Council's priorities and improvement objectives.'

Surely the Corporate plan should be the basis for the strategic direction of the Council and of huge public interest. Or is it the case that the administration feels that if they do not tell the public what their plans are and how they intend to achieve their outcomes then they cannot be held to account?

Page 15 states:

'The Council is to carry out a fundamental review of all Council services and will put forward detailed proposals for service change and efficiencies to address the budget shortfall in due course.'

It would be good to know whether the Auditor approves of the strategy the Labour administration have embarked upon in relation to this, whereby rather than setting out proposals and options across the board they have embarked upon a piecemeal approach. What happens if, following consultation, public opinion comes out strongly against the first phase of cuts and the administration actually decides to listen and not go ahead with them, where does that leave the while budget planning process?

Cllr Mike Powell