Scrutiny committee cull plan by Brent Council goes against government advice

Cllr Muhammed Butt is the leader of Brent Council (Pic credit: Myron Jobson)

Cllr Muhammed Butt is the leader of Brent Council (Pic credit: Myron Jobson) - Credit: Archant

Brent Council has ignored advice issued by the government in a bid to push through proposals to consolidate existing overview and scrutiny meetings into one “stronger” body.

The Local Government Act 2000 provides that the council must have regard to guidance set by the Secretary of State for larger local authorities to have more than one overview and scrutiny committees in operation.

However, in direct violation, the current Labour administration, which won a landslide victory at the local elections, has unveiled plans to merge the six existing committees, including an ad hoc call in committee, into one sole group.

The proposals will be discussed when the new council meets for the first full founcil meeting tomorrow (Wednesday).

Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of the council, said: “The current committees needs a refocus. We are bringing them all together to provide a stronger, more effective and responsive unit, which helps maximise existing resources.”

“This will be a major plus for residents because topical issues would be discussed more quickly than if you had separate meetings, because you would have to wait a couple of months for that specific committee meeting, in comparison to just one month with this new stronger single body.”

Under the proposals the will seize to exist in favour for one super committee which will host eight members co-ordinated by a single chair according to Cllr Butt.

Most Read

The chair will be given the power to form sub-committees and task groups to explore specific issues, and invite members of the “established” members of the public, such as headteachers and doctors, to sit in these subsidiaries.

Cllr Butt continued: “I have always said that residents need to be at the forefront at what we do. This is about bettering communication between the council and residents.

“I have been elected by the residents of Brent, they hold me into account, but this also provides them with a platform to be an integral voice in key decisions.”