Quis Custodiet

YThe Watch Dogesterday I attended the inaugural meeting of the Babergh & Mid Suffolk Joint Audit & Standards Committee. The first substantive item of business was to approve the Committee’s Terms of Reference (TOR). The TOR is nice document, well written, reasonably unambiguous and for the most part fit for purpose. It is however written by officers and lacks sensitivity to the needs of the tax payers’ and residents.
Readers of this blog will be aware that I often feel that the information and opinions given to us at Babergh are often not as robust as I would like. I’m also conscious that some of my Councillor colleagues are reluctant to challenge and hold the executive to account.
So in a cross group collaboration I suggested that the TOR should be invigorated with the following additional duty:
To peruse, review and comment upon the non-salary expenses of the officers of the joint councils.
You would think that this was a no brainer – but no – the Chairman dithered and at one point suggested that such oversight could be unnecessary. None the less the item was put to the vote and approved (but not unanimously).
Already I can hear the Sir Humphreys in Corks Lane telling me that the new requirements will be too complicated, too expensive, and (I expect) too controversial to implement..
But the outcome will be that our employees will be fully accountable for their travel expenses etc., and we will enjoy a greater degree of transparency.
There’s nothing like the disinfectant of sunlight to force out sloppy practices.

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