25 May 2022
Chris Rigby, one of two Green Party Councillors for Winton East, and Leader of the Bournemouth Independent & Green Group on BCP Council, says:
"Yesterday evening I attended my first Place Overview and Scrutiny (O&S) committee, this alongside the new Corporate and Community O&S have replaced the O&S board I've sat on since I was elected in 2019.
"Both of these new committees are now chaired by Conservatives, both of these committees will meet 5 times a year, both of these committees will have two items on their agendas. That's 20 items per year.
"The previous board was chaired by an independent member, met 20 times a year, most often with 3 items on each agenda (enquiry days reduced the number of items, when for example I called in Wessex Water) so up to 60 items could be looked at per year.
"This is why there was so much disruption by Conservative members to the April full council meeting leading it to be adjourned, why Greens, Lib Dems, Labour, and Indies combined our voices to say this is an attack on scrutiny. This is what led to the vote of no confidence.
"I've now four more meetings before the 2023 elections where I'll be able to scrutinise and hold administration decisions to account. 8 potential topics, where we have 14 left over from the previous board to address!
"These are important issues like severe weather emergency protocol (SWEP) which addresses how and when BCP council gets rough sleepers off the streets and into shelter when we're hit with severe weather.
"We've had 1 of 5 meetings, by the middle of June we'll have had 2. This leaves 3 meetings (6 items) between July and May 2023. There will likely be no meeting in June, followed by summer break so maybe a meeting in September, December and March. One can only wonder what policies will make their way onto the cabinet agendas in the missing months.
"This is why I've said that our current administration is not fit for purpose, and why we should be changing to a committee system so that BCP council decisions are fair, accountable, transparent and in the favour of all residents.
"Help make a change and get more Greens elected in 2023 so you get the council you deserve."