Tim's Council Diary: Commitpool and Ottertee

1 Sep 2023
Westernhanger Castle [Ian Knox, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons]

After Councillor and officer holidays over August, meetings have really commenced in earnest again this week. It felt like a steep enough reintroduction to formal meetings to make your head spin, but in reality I've been at my desk for the last three weeks: having regular conversations, a ton of email, the day job, council casework, helping organise the Sandgate Sea and Food Festival (went brilliantly, thanks for asking!) and more.

There was an “Owners / Members” meeting for Otterpool (led by the leader, as portfolio holder for Otterpool Park) looking at the management, structure, accountability, funding and targets of Otterpool Park and the LLP set up to run it. This is likely to lead to a series of reports and discussions and decisions through the Autumn which will reshape the oversight and financing of the project and clarify its impact on the budget for coming years.

There was also a Working Group meeting on Thursday towards the May 2024 introduction of a Committee system for the District Council. A Committee system is, in effect, the same system as used in Hythe Town Council and all Town and Parish Councils: decisions are made by full Council, or delegated to a Committee, or delegated to officers.

This is a move away from the Cabinet system, where many decisions made individually or collectively by a cabinet of people appointed wholly by, and at the whim of, the leader and with no requirement of political proportionality. I'm pleased that the meeting agreed (albeit narrowly) that future meetings would be webcast live, and agreed a number of recommendations to the proposed structure of the Council committees and how it would work for our consultant to use as a guide to come back with some of the key starting points for a new constitution.

 

Larry Ngan and Lib Dem Campaigners on The Leas, Folkestone

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Larry Ngan, Daniel and Fry with "Build More Houses" t-shirt on The Leas, Folkestone

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