York’s Conservative Council Group has criticised the waste of time and money involved in York’s Lib Dems refusing a minor constitutional tweak by the council’s leading legal officer to get rid of the Deputy Leader report at Full Council. The Deputy Leader report is a legacy of two council coalitions, but even then had a dubious benefit given council accountability is based on Executive Portfolios, the Deputy Leader hat it simply worn when that person deputises for the Leader, who of course is at Full Council and deliverers a report.
At the last Full Council the Labour Group said they intended to stop the Deputy Leader report and this was supported by the Conservatives and others. The change could have been done through a simple officer tweak, as planned and suggested subsequently by the Monitoring Officer, but the Lib Dems have insisted the possible change goes through the Council’s Audit & Governance Committee, meaning a Deputy Leader report saying nothing will have to be delivered and ‘discussed’ at September Full Council before various officers spend their time preparing reports to go to Audit & Governance to then be debated there and then go back and forth to other meetings before eventually being looked at by Full Council.
Cllr Chris Steward, Conservative Group Leader said ‘There are so many things we could and should be discussing and council staff working on. It is ridiculous that the Lib Dems are keen to hear from a Labour councillor on a defunct report and / or simply waste time with documents about the report itself and then more discussion on a report of no relevance to residents and which anyone aware of the facts would want rid of. The situation is made even more absurd by the fact that Full Council is time limited and essentially always runs out of time so key issues that actually affect residents will not be able to be discussed due to this.’
Cllr Steward continued ‘It is extremely ironic that the Lib Dems are complicating this minor governance change with vast bureaucracy when their administration was riddled with governance failings, non disclosed interests, secrecy and a high profile Public Interest Report.