So not quite 666 when the next Colchester Borough Council Full Council meeting will assemble at the Town Hall later this week.
Better the Devil you know, etc.
It’s another hefty agenda sheet [PDF.] But y’never know with these meetings. A large part of the agenda pack is simply bumph. It’s recycled #localgov twaddle talk, mainly from the #localgov twaddle talk of Cabinet last week.
Here’s hoping that all those agenda packs have been printed on re-cycled paper.
But aside from rubber-stamping the work of Cabinet, the Full Council meet of 6th December *could* be something of a Christmas crackers for the Sunny Colch councillors.
Don’t fancy pulling yours much, blah, blah, blah.
It would seem as well that Christmas Sunny Colch style is best celebrated at the ACE Christmas Store in the old JJB building. It may not have the most sustainable business plan all year round, but the budget breaking Chrimbo theme is also a large part of the Full Council agenda.
Like turkeys voting for Christmas [OUCH] Full Council will be voting on Thursday on the level of allowances that are paid to each level of councillors in the #localgov political food chain.
First things first – being a local councillor is meant to be a voluntary role. It is accepted however that it is incredibly time consuming. A ward councillor however is *not* a careerist move.
But then you start to make your way up the greasy Town Hall pole [Ooooh] and an increased level of workload is thrust your way on all of that recycled paper. There comes a point where you can just about make a half-decent wage out of being an elected official.
That point is probably at Cabinet level, although raising your hand once every month or so as part of the Planning Committee can be a nice little earner as well.
And so with Have Your Say out of the way at Full Council [we think we just have...] and then it’s straight into the Member’s Allowance Scheme for Full Council to consider.
The Independent Remuneration Panel (they’re independent; they remunerate. They probably like keeping ledger books…) has submitted it’s annual review. Scroll down to the conclusion and essentially it’s a case of as you were.
A slight rise in inflation has been factored into the allowance for each level of democratic accountability in Sunny Colch. Point of order: when was the last time that anyone working in the public sector was granted such a wage rise?
But wait! What’s this?
Pity the poor members of the Licencing Committee. If they’re not playing the non-alcoholic Scrooge around Sunny Colch then they are having their allowances halved.
Half measures, etc.
Chin, chin, Comrades.
The Independent Remuneration Panel notes:
“The Panel had received information that indicated that the workload of the Licensing Committee was not significantly greater than for other Panels / Committees.”
You get what you pay for – which if you are the Leader [Ooooh] of the Council then you can expect to trouser – or skirt – £18,950.92. It’s not quite at the same ridiculous level that favours a Cabinet of careerists elsewhere around the country, but like we said – you can probably scratch out a half-decent living.
Cabinet members are rewarded to the value of £11,360.90, whilst yer bog standard head nodding backbencher can pick up £6,316.97.
Money well spent?
The anonymous comments submitted by CBC councillors make for interesting reading though:
“The basic allowance is too small, £6000 is low if this is all you are receiving. In my ward we put out a bi monthly newsletter at a cost of £225 and meet a significant amount of our election costs and send out a professionally produced Christmas card.”
“The only thing I noticed was on page 4 under Subsistence Allowance, it states that teas are provided, whereas this hasn’t been the case for some time.”
Talk about having your cake and eating it, Comrade.
And so with the Member’s Allowance scheme safe in the bank, Full Council will then move on to formally rubber stamp the decisions that were already made back at Cabinet last week. The Fundamental Service Review of Customer Contact, Revenue Budget, Capital Programme and Financial Reserves [£248k gap] and Localised Council Tax Support 2013/14 – it’s all there, folks.
As is the Future Use of the Magistrates’ Courts Task and Finish Group. A Bistro is looking a decent bet for the Old Library down the back of the Town Hall.
Hang on – Bistro? Tea and cake? Joined up thinking, Comrades?
Moving on and here’s where it all starts to get SIX-ey.
Or even SEXY:
Review of Anti-Fraud and Corruption, Whistleblowing, Anti-Money Laundering and Benefits Fraud Sanctions Policies
Whistle while you work, etc Comrades.
The 2011 policy has been updated. Um – anyone care to leak a copy to The Chronic?
Out there in the public domain however is the 2,000 plus signatures on the petition that the Defend Sheltered Housing group in Sunny Colch will then present to Full Council.
And good luck with that one, Comrades.
Lead Petitioner [aha!] Andy Abbott is expected to hand over the petition, stating:
“We the undersigned oppose the closures of Joyce Brooks House and Abbeygate House, and note that a further five sheltered accommodation schemes for older people are “under review” of closure. These actions make it clear that the future of publicly owned sheltered housing is under threat from council policy, and that a privatisation by stealth is planned. We call on the council to guarantee the future of all publicly owned sheltered housing.”
Fine work fella in triggering the debate, even if the Joyce Brooks petition didn’t quite manage it [handy get out clause for CBC - that particular petition was received *after* the axe had swung. And so that makes it all right then...]
And that should be lot from CBC Full Council, 6th December, 6pm.
SIX and stones, etc.