Wednesday

Up early to be at the BBC radio Cambridgeshire studios for 0750 to talk about the allowance for members.

Then back for a 0900 final budget prep meeting before the budget workshop at 1000. This is a really important workshop where politicians and officers thrash out some of the detail around the budget and key policies. A really good meeting and one that is usually a pleasure to chair. This was no exception. We are blessed with excellent senior officers and an active and engaged Cabinet.

A quick lunch was followed by some admin. Then onto the Resources and Performance Overview and Scrutiny Committee where Ian Bates and I were being questioned as a result of a Call-In of Cabinets LPSA reward grant decision. It was a shame that this call in seemed to be politically motivated by three Lib Dems as scrutiny is not normally political.

It was interesting that the public benches were filled with charities and that Councillor Bourke seems to be playing to them like an 1970s American court room drama lawyer. He had failed to grasp a number of the key facts which effectively invalidated the call-in. He also spent at least four shots at trying to overturn the Chairmans view that the charities should not speak. This decision seems sensible as we all would agree that charities are good, that the ones present were valid and worthwhile and that they would be able to spend as much money as we could give them.

That was not the point of the call-in which seemed to be about the definition of projects in the Cabinet paper, and if that meant all projects or some of them that could have completed. It failed to convince the committee and sent entirely the wrong message to charities. I was able to reaffirm my desire to work with the third sector more not less, where services can be delivered better or more cost effectively. It felt like the charities were being used as a political football which is not right. I apologised to a number of them afterwards.

My final meeting of the day was a 4pm with a Venture Capitalist. Understanding what is happening in this area is important so that we can better support the growth of business.

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