Thursday, 20 November 2008

Meetings - and thinking about meetings

Two very different meetings this week. On Tuesday I, and other councillors, went to a meeting for Regulation 33 visitors. This is basically a regulation involving montly unannounced visits to children's homes. They are done by elected members who then write a report. It's part of making sure we provide a good service to our looked after children. I used to do this a few years ago and stopped for a while, but am re starting now and will be visiting Prescot Drive (which provides short breaks for disabled children) again. A good meeting I felt - lots of useful information but not too much. We heard from some councillors who had done a recent visit and from staff at the various establishments.

Then yesterday I had Corporate Services Select Committee (I am one of the three exec members reporting to this one). If we are ever to achieve a meeting of a reasonable length we all, and I include myself, need to be a lot more disciplined about our contributions. I had to leave early but even then we had been going for more than two hours. I suspect the problem is there is too much on the agenda. There is not a lot the chair can do about this as councillors have the right to put things on in addition to the items of business that have to come there. And to be fair Andrew makes a good job of making sure people feel they are included and they can speak. I do feel however that long meetings without a break are simply not effective when you get towards the end. We are just starting a review of the Scrutiny Processes and I expect some of the councillor feedback to be around this point.

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