At tonight’s People’s Scrutiny Committee we debated the Corporate Priorities and targets for 2015/16.
For background, once a year the Administration has to set it’s priorities and targets for the forthcoming year. They basically say what they are prioritising and what they deem to be acceptable targets for the council to achieve in a number of areas.
This year, some of the targets are so weak, that a paper that usually goes through without challenge, just had to be questioned. And question it I did!
The portfolio holder for Children and Learning being unavoidably absent (get well soon Anne!), I was unable to ask some of the questions I wanted to, but nevertheless the responses I got regarding our targets being so weak for our young people in Southend were not good enough.
Therefore I decided that Cabinet needed to think again. Fortunately two members of the Independent Party, forming the lion’s share of the Administration, decided to vote with me and my fellow Conservatives and asked the Administration to think again.
It is also noteworthy that no Lib Dem voted in support of their Administration. I’m not sure what the two Labour members did, I think they were too busy being directed by their quick thinking Group Leader from the other side of the room, to ensure that the Administration did not lose the vote on something that can only be considered one step in importance down from getting their budget passed.
He failed, and lose the vote they did, badly, but he managed to ensure his two members (completely independently minded and not whipped at all – honest guv!) referred the matter up to the full council to try and save the day.
I’m sure before next Thursday Ron Woodley will bully his dissenting Party members into voting for his Administration.
Perhaps if, instead of moaning about the previous Administration and setting weak, easy to achieve targets, they set themselves robust challenging targets, like the Conservatives always used to, Ron Woodley and his gang of misfits wouldn’t find themselves in this position and be able to carry themselves and their backbench members through a pretty important vote!