Cabinet started with me proposing that an item to be dealt with after the public had been excluded should be heard in public. Cabinet supported this view. The issue was our response to the local government ombudsman who found a case of maladministration in our handling of the transfer of responsibility for the education of a young man with a statement to another authority. Mistakes are never good but when made need to be recognised publicly, when ever possible, so we can all learn. This is the first time we have failed, like this, since 2004. Mistakes happen. We need to learn and put in place the right systems to prevent it happening again.
It was good to hear from a petitioner who spoke with feeling about road safety in Ely. As a result the cabinet member has agreed to have a site visit to explore the concerns. On the face of it the concerns seem well founded.
It was interesting that when the Ely crossing item came up the only person who doesn’t want to see option B was the local Liberal Democrat member Councillor Bell.
81% of local people, who responded to the consultation, the district council and the MP’s all support option B yet for some reason Councillor Bell has decided that local views are not important. He wants an underpass which only has the support of 4% of people, would be difficult to manage during construction, is liable to flood and leaves us with the current problem of vehicles hitting the underpass supports which is a safety issue. How odd!!!!
The item on Civil Parking Enforcement was also a little odd. The previous government thought it would be sensible to centralise this work under the County Council. District councils have indicated they don’t want it and the general population frankly don’t have a strong view but can’t really see the point in the change.
The Liberal Democrat speakers never once talked about CPE but for some strange reason tried to turn it into a debate on consultation process. All very interesting but not on the agenda. It looked feeble and was irrelevant to the item for discussion. I suspect me pulling them back to the item in question ruffled a few feathers. CPE doesn’t feel like something we should be getting involved with. We have enough core business of our own to worry about.
The integrated resources and performance report demonstrated excellent financial management by our team. We really are blessed with sharp financiers led by Councillor Steve Count who has grown into this role brilliantly.
Other items included alterations to a school in Hardwick, the building of a County School in Wisbech, the future of the park and ride service and delivery of public services in the new town of Northstowe.
Reflecting on contributions. A good petitioner, strong contribution from Labour but a consistently weak performance from the Lib Dems. This concerns me as such a weak opposition is not good for democracy.
All in all a good cabinet,