IT hitch puts coun­cil­lors on the spot over fi­nances

Glamorgan Gazette - - Your Views -

gov­er­nance was not be­ing fol­lowed.

Con­ser­va­tive group leader Tom Gif­fard sec­onded the re­quest, say­ing the cor­rect pro­to­col had not been fol­lowed and, as a re­sult, coun­cil­lors hadn’t had time to prop­erly scru­ti­nise the re­vised pro­gramme.

Changes in the cap­i­tal pro­gramme which needed ap­proval in­cluded an ad­di­tional £200,000 for the con­struc­tion of the £10.8m Pen­coed Pri­mary School, an ex­tra £170,000 for the planned ex­ten­sions to Porth­cawl and North Cor­nelly ceme­ter­ies (now £530,000), and a fur­ther £70,000 for a new class­room at Cwm­fe­lin Pri­mary School (now £235,000).

It also in­cluded £1.6m to pur­chase re­place­ment high­way main­te­nance ve­hi­cles, and al­most £350,000 to buy new com­put­ers.

Coun­cil­lor Ken Ed­wards (Llynfi In­de­pen­dents) asked the coun­cil leader to give as­sur­ances there would be more time to con­sider changes in the cap­i­tal pro­gramme when fu­ture re­ports were pub­lished.

Of­fi­cers said there was very lit­tle change to the cap­i­tal pro­gramme agreed in Fe­bru­ary 2018 and the re­port was sim­ply pro­vid­ing an up­date and sum­maris­ing key changes.

Coun­cil leader Huw David (Labour) told coun­cil­lors they could “ef­fec­tively scru­ti­nise” the pro­pos­als dur­ing the meet­ing.

He said an iden­ti­cal re­port had been scru­ti­nised by cab­i­net mem­bers the day be­fore and as a re­sult it had been avail­able in the cab­i­net pa­pers for the pre­vi­ous seven days.

He said: “There has been op­por­tu­nity for mem­bers to ask per­ti­nent ques­tions over the last week. I do un­der­stand the con­cerns and the mon­i­tor­ing of­fi­cer has al­ready apol­o­gised over the glitch which meant they did not ap­pear on the full coun­cil pa­pers.”

Chief ex­ec­u­tive Dar­ren Mepham said the ur­gency pro­vi­sion within the agenda ex­isted pre­cisely to al­low the coun­cil to do busi­ness “in a timely way”.

Cab­i­net mem­ber Charles Smith (Labour) called the re­quests to post­pone the re­port for fur­ther scru­tiny “grand­stand­ing”.

And Coun­cil­lor JonPaul Blun­dell (Labour) said the full coun­cil meet­ing was the place to scru­ti­nise the re­port, adding: “To put this off and hold the coun­cil to hostage is wrong.” In the end Cllr Clarke’s re­quest to de­fer the re­port was voted down by 26 to 21.

A fur­ther de­bate then took place over the fund­ing changes and coun­cil­lors unan­i­mously ap­proved the re­vised cap­i­tal pro­gramme as it ap­peared in the re­port.

Fur­ther dis­cus­sion will take place when the cap­i­tal pro­gramme is ap­proved in Fe­bru­ary as part of the an­nual bud­get-set­ting process.

DAVID WIL­LIAMS

Brid­gend County Bor­ough Coun­cil of­fices

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