No size increase for scrutiny committees - but attendance record of some councillors is criticised

County Hall Lewes ENGSUS00120130213161538
County Hall Lewes ENGSUS00120130213161538

East Sussex County Council has opted not to increase the size of its scrutiny committees despite concerns around attendance.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the governance committee on Tuesday (April 23), where members considered increasing the size of the council’s place and people scrutiny committees by two members each.

Previously there had only been a single scrutiny committee, with the current two-committee system set up last year.

Deputy council leader David Elkin (Con) said: “I think if it’s not broke don’t fix it.

“I think the recent changes to scrutiny are just starting to bear fruit and we should stick to what we’ve got.”

While the increase was refused on a majority vote, it was supported by Liberal Democrat group leader David Tutt.

He said he would support a larger size as members of his group had raised concerns about the attendance of some of the meetings being ‘insufficient’.

However, he acknowledged that committee attendance was a problem for all groups – with the exception of Labour, which Cllr Tutt said had a 100 per cent attendance at the committee.

Other committee members, however, did not agree that increasing the committee size would improve committee attendance.

The attendance of some members also led to criticism from Conservative council leader Keith Glazier.

Cllr Glazier said: “I’ve been through all of the councillors on this authority individually and seen how many times people – and this is across the board – don’t even have the courtesy to send an apology.

“We all sign up to be county councillors, nobody breaks your arm or twists it up the back. You are here because you want to do the right thing.

“If you take on the responsibility then you should turn up.”