|The 'Why' Is More Important Than The 'How', 'What', or 'When'|
Local councillor Sam Hearn writes a blog about his week
Friday 16th September: At the Sky Campus for an early morning meeting of the Chiswick Business Forum. James Cracknell chaired the meeting with his usual forthright charm. Attendees made the most of being able to grill Greg Hands the Minister for International Trade about the implications of Brexit for local businesses. For him the key issue is the need to drive up productivity and catch up with our international competitors. In response to questions he said that he was relaxed about the impact of tighter immigration controls on West London’s world beating creative businesses.
Saturday 17th September: At the Civic Centre for a well-attended event held for individuals interested in being selected to run as Conservative Candidates in the 2018 Local Authority Election. This is the first of these events and at least one more will be held before selection begins in earnest. At the end of the meeting one of the ‘hopefuls’ confided in me that he had hoped to hear more about Conservative values and with hindsight he was quite right. An important lesson learnt. The “why” of being a councillor is ultimately far more important than the “how” “what” and “when”.
Sunday 18th September: The papers for next week’s Audit Committee meeting are full of some complex items so I read the papers for a second time, this time making detailed notes and marking up significant passages. An interim Head of Internal Audit has been appointed to manage the service that we now share with two other Boroughs. We need to ensure that commitments made by the previous Head of Internal Audit can still be delivered. This will be the first opportunity for us to test the mettle of Price Waterhouse who were appointed in June to carry out much of the internal audit programme.
Monday 19th September: Catching up on issues that residents raise by email e.g. unemptied street litter bins and uncollected garden rubbish. Also checking emails received that relate to the agenda for tomorrow evening’s Area Forum. I am nervous for two residents that I have advised to speak at the Forum who have never attended such a meeting before.
Tuesday 20th September: Chiswick Area Forum: With the best will in the world we could not do justice to the jam packed agenda. The Chairman has decided that meetings of The Forum will not extend beyond the official end time of 10.00 pm. In practice he allowed an extension to clear some uncontentious items. Even so several reports have had to be carried over until November’s meeting. Considerable time and energy is expended on considering three planning applications that have been called in by individual councillors. This allows contentious matters that would otherwise be decided by officers to be given a public airing. In practice however the real decisions are still made elsewhere. Approval is given for residents to be consulted on the various options for alleviating the rush-hour traffic chaos in Stilehall Gardens and Wellesley Road. As Sir Humphrey would say all the likely options are “brave”.
Wednesday 21st September: To Hounslow Arts Centre for a meeting of the Executive of the Constituency-wide Conservative Association. The constituency boundary changes raises some thorny practical issues that require a great deal more thought. If as snap election were called in 2017 (as Momentum seems to think that it will) the existing boundaries will apply. Good to see that the Association’s membership has increased significantly since the referendum and that fundraising is in good hands.
Thursday 22nd September: One of the better Audit Committee meetings that I have attended. The Committee Members are working as a team and we cover a great deal of ground. Councillors are concerned that several risks are now judged by the Corporate Leadership Team to be red risks. Concerns are raised that other risks are still only ranked as Orange. Lampton 360 and the new Waste Management arrangements were discussed at length. I am perturbed but not surprised to find that the previous Head of Audit’s commitment to bring a fraud risk profile for LBH to the meeting (for the first time) has been delayed until the November meeting. The annual accounts for 2015/16 are approved along with wording of the Governance Statement and the Annual Report of the Chair of the Audit Committee.
September 28, 2016