• Call for public speaking at Devon County Council scrutiny meetings

    15th December 2015 | News | Claire
  • Many residents were heckling because they were angry at what some of the health service representatives were saying.

    Since then, there was a coach load of people from Ottery, who came to hear the view of the scrutiny committee on the closure of its hospital.  Although there was no heckling, feelings were certainly running high and people were frustrated that they could not address the committee.

    People have the option to email the committee but this is, of course, informal and there is no guarantee that councillors will read or respond to such messages.

    I spoke to Devon County Council leader, John Hart about the issue during the summer and he said he would talk to the scrutiny chairs.

    This meeting, which I attended and spoke at, was last week and an officer paper proposed a reasonable way forward.

    I am pleased that the response from the scrutiny chairs was very positive. The proposals will now need to be considered by procedures committee in January and full council in February.

    Scrutiny exists to investigate matters of public interest so it is absolutely vital in my view that there is a formal function to hear from members of the public in the process. If procedures committee and full council are in support, the new more inclusive rules will be introduced in the spring.

    The speaking rights at cabinet and full council were relaxed last year following a proposal from me, after young people were prevented from addressing full council on budget cuts, in 2014.