Another busy week with lots of meetings as usual. Some of them we all go to, especially local ones, and others reflect the different positions we hold or interests we have.
Keith started the week at the Council House working on a report into guns & gangs in Birmingham. This will be presented at full Council in April. On Tuesday it was time for the Equalities & H.R. O & S Committee which he chairs. This included a report on the use of consultants by the Council.Most of use resent any money spent on consultants as they get a high rate and we don't always understand what they do for the money. They do however provide the Council with expertise it does not itself have. The trick is to keep the spend to as low a level as possible and learn as much as we can from them so that we do not need them in the future. Over the last year we have halved the amount spent on them and are working to continue this trend. One thing that did come up was the fact that former Councillor Steve Bedser is a consultant. He is now of course standing in Kings Norton for a Council seat, having been rejected as the PPC for Erdington. Thats 2 rejections now for Steve and he is going for a hat-trick in May.
Also said at the committee was that the Council employs a multitude of Press-Officers. This is another fallacy, we employ 6, the rest include copy-writers, printers, admin staff etc. The number is to be reduced by one as he has been tempted to join Halfords with an increase in salary of £20.000 pa. So much for over-paying staff.
Sue has attended meetings of the Licensing Committee and Adoption Panel as well as meeting of Ward & Constituency Chairman, Sue is Deputy Chairman of Northfield Constituency. She has also been at meetings about young people, worklessness, the police and others. Ken is busy with Housing, he is the deputy Chairman of the Housing Committee and very involved with the regeneration of Longbridge.
Two of the meetings when we all attend is the Ward Advisory Board when we seek advice on how to spend Community Chest money, the Housing Liaison Board and this week the Egghill Development Group. This has been overseeing the plans to redevelop the estate. These plans collapsed when the credi crunch came upon us but there are now plans to build 58 houses in the first phase. These have now received planning permission and Cabinet approval but the residents will believe it when the JCB,s roll into action. The sooner the better.