The council’s scrutiny function is not well understood by many residents but plays a significant role in the council. Scrutiny meetings challenge the executive and hold it to account. It is also the way that new councillors learn their way around the council.
On paper cuts to scrutiny look proportionate. £55K out of £193K or 28%. The reality is much worse as one of three officers is going but the manager role will look after all of the committees from now on, not just the scrutiny committees. As a result the number of scrutiny panels will reduce from 9 to 5 or 44%.
This might seem like a technical change but it means that the council and councillors will both be worse by a long way. The Labour back benchers have been obdurate in their unwillingness to see their allowances cut. This change will mean that not only do they not want to share the pain but also they will have less work to do. They already have a reputation for not turning up to meetings, now they won’t have to.