Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum by Liverpool City Council (LGA 28(a))

  Cllr Brant has kindly forwarded to me the comments that he has made to your Select Committee.

  In most cases the suggestions agree with the submissions that I made:

  1.  That we should be able to allow all items to be called in as with our previous system of call in. This is precluded by legislation.

  2.  That scrutiny is the weakest area. Cllr Brant will not know that we took decisions jointly with his Labour colleagues on 31 April to try and strengthen the scrutiny role. You should be aware however that last year the controlling group offered the opposition parties chairs and deputies of scrutiny in proportion to their numbers. This was not proceeded with. A meeting has been arranged between the two Party Leaders to try and resolve this issue for this year.

  3.  Full Council. The Council does not have a few items reserved to it. The legislation insists on seven main strategies being subject to Council approval. In our case we have lengthened this to 28 strategies all of which must be approved by full Council. This goes further than any other Council. Because we believe strongly that there should be the maximum powers reserved to Council we send everything to it that we can. In both the cases suggested by Cllr Brant we were advised by the Monitoring Officer that this was how the items must be dealt with and could not be reserved to Council.

  4.  With effect from the last meeting of the Council all delegated decisions made by officers are subject to the same key decision rules as those made by Executive Members and can be called in on the same terms.

  5.  There are no proposals to do away with the right of five members to call a Council meeting. We are however, increasing the rights of opposition members to raise items in Council by introducing from the Annual Meeting of the Council a system analogous to the adjournment debates in the Commons.

  6.  There will be staff dedicated to the scrutiny role. We are currently advertising for a third tier officer to fulfil the leadership of this function.

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