Thursday, 4 March 2010

Full Council last night

Last night was the last Full Council before the May elections. The minutes will be published at in the councillors, meetings and agendas section.

Here's my take on it though

The last one before an election is always a bit fraught, and last night was no exception. There were however some really nice moments as well as the shouting!

The Lord Mayor made a point of name checking the Councillors who are standing down. Three of them made short speeches and I was really struck in particular by what Paul Clark (County ward) said about his time on the Council, the value of public service and the sacrifices that everyone (whatever party and whatever position) makes when elected.

A very eloquent young lady addressed Council (we have a system where members of the public can make a short speech at the beginning about an issue) about public transport to Hope University. I am on the Merseytravel Advisory Panel so I will certainly raise this at the next meeting (at the same time as pursuing the issue of bus drivers and lack of change!)

We then had question time which was, well more like a load of men shouting at each other. The microphones weren't working properly but that didn't appear to make any difference to the volume. I actually like question time but no one had put any questions in for me so I wasn't able to answer any.

We had some constitutional stuff to discuss, including the Liverpool Commission. Cllr Radford had some problems with this as he thought the Commission should have discussed things like proportional representation. I made the point that the Commission discussed things we actually have the power to change in Liverpool. If we're able to act on all the recommendations I believe we will be a lot more democratic and open - maybe not next month but certainly in years to come. Among the things we'll be doing are - more mentoring schemes to give people a chance to see what being a councillor is like, work with employers to persuade them to welcome their employees' desire to take part in public service, webcasting of council meetings to make things more open and plan english in council documents.

Every Council meeting has motions. A lot are sent in and so we have to choose which to discuss. Last night's included motions on crime and antisocial behaviour, Council Tax and Gardening Fees. The Leader of the Council and the Leader of the Opposition have reserved slots for motions, but they can delegate these. Last night I got the Leaders motion, which was a bit scary.

Full Council is quite tiring, even more so if you go out for drinks afterwards. I am shattered today!

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