Monday, 9 January 2012

Public Speaking Protocol for Overview and Scrutiny

Cllr Shona Johnstone has recently reported back to all County Councillors that the Overview and Scrutiny Management Group has recently concluded it's review of public participation in the Overview and Scrutiny process and published a document regarding Public Speaking at Overview and Scrutiny meetings.

There is a lot in this document that's good. It does tend (slightly) towards the overly bureaucratic - I have yet to attend an Overview and Scrutiny meeting where a member of the public raising their hand in the public gallery and being called by the Chair wouldn't have been a sufficient notification for public speaking but this document is at least a step in the right direction.

I would have preferred there was an opportunity for written statements as well; once again the County Council seems to be working to actively discourage people who have a job from engaging in the political process. I mean it's pretty rare that people care enough about these meetings to attend in person but to expect people to take a day off work as well is just a non-starter.

The published guidelines are available here (word document).

So the next step is over to you ... Do you care enough about what's being done in your name to turn up and speak at these meetings? If not what would we have to do to encourage you to participate?