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Holding Decision Makers Accountable

July 3, 2014 by  

Why hasn’t Rochford District Council made  Press Releases  or given prominent publicity on its Web Site or in Rochford District Matters to  “Holding Decision Makers Accountable”?

We are going to run a series of posts over the year to tell you how the powerful Review Committee will be holding Council decision makers accountable.  It is led this year by the Green and Rochford District Residents Group i.e. US!

The Review Committee of Rochford District Council is empowered by Law to question elected members who sit on the Council’s Cabinet, Council employees, and representatives of other organisations involved in carrying out the Council’s responsibilities.   Review Committee is able to investigate any issue which affects the local area, or the District’s inhabitants, whether or not it is the direct responsibility of the Council’s Cabinet.

Members of the Public are welcome at most Review Committee Meetings and may be invited by the Chair to speak if they wish to. We will advise you when the “big issues” are in play so that your point of view may be reflected.

Hot Off the Press it has been recommended that the Committee will also look at the Council’s Budget proposals on 2 December in order to get direct feedback from residents and “To put rigour into the proposals”!

So what is this powerful Committee going to look at this Year?

  1. Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA): changes in policy and the Council’s annual usage of RIPA.

The Council often works in partnership with Essex Police, and this will sometimes involve the use of CCTV. CCTV evidence can be used as long as the correct procedure has been followed. RIPA applies to covert surveillance, whereas the Council will generally use overt surveillance to address any persistent/on-going issues around, for example, fly-tipping. Covert surveillance can be used, once authorised, if this approach is unsuccessful.

  1. Car parking charges

A  review around whether there has been a change in income as a result of increased charges and to see if Budget expectations at the time charges were increased have materialised.

  1. Rochford District Matters (RDM)

Information generated by an internal Council review of RDM to be available to the Committee prior to the review taking place.

  1. ICT Contracts

A  review to include any contracts within the overall service, including an assessment of value for money and any issues that have arisen within the main contract.

  1. Building control

A review to cover the future of the service,  including the options of shared services with neighbouring authorities, withdrawing the service altogether or offering just a residual service.

  1. ECC financial contribution to cutting verges

It was agreed to wait until October to see if there is any change in the remuneration the Council will receive from ECC before commencing this review. (In addition a review the possible pollutant and blockage effect of Council Grass Cuttings adversely affecting surface water drainage has been requested.)

  1. Highways/Potholes –

An invitation to County Highways to attend either the September or October meeting of the Committee.

  1. Treasury Management Review
  2. Community Safety Partnership (CSP)

This is scheduled to take place at the November meeting; specific invitees from the Police.

  1. Dog Fouling – (Review to be scheduled.)

The next Meeting will be on 8 July in the Civic Suite in Rayleigh when the Review Committee will be receiving a Report on ICT Contracts – “A  review to include any contracts within the overall service, including an assessment of value for money and any issues that have arisen within the main contract.” from Shaun Scrutton. Members will be asking an initial set of fact finding questions in order to decide how to take this review forward.

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