Will commissioned services reduce elected Councillor oversight, public engagement, accountability and transparency?
In my local Council I can:
Vote every 2, 3 or 4 years;
Contact my local elected Councillor to act for me on an issue
Stand as a Councillor at elections;
Inspect papers, agendas and minutes before committee meetings;
Attend committee meetings and ask questions publicly (which have to be answered)
Submit Freedom of Information (FOI) questions;
Inspect the accounts every year and ask questions;
Exercise my statutory rights to appeal wrong doing to the District Auditor.
Q1. How will this Council ensure that commissioned services maintain good governance and protect the democratic access and rights we have now?
Q2. If a service is commissioned into a limited company, then will the Companies Act supersede the Local Government Act, as has happened in South West One, where information access was barred, as the Freedom of Information Act only applies to public bodies?
Q3. Will elected Councillors be free to participate in the governance of commissioned services without a conflict of interest barring committee oversight back in the Council (as happened with South West One)?
Q4. Will elected Councillors participating in the governance of commissioned services require publicly-funded indemnity against consequential losses etc (as happened with South West One)?
Q5. If commissioned services are exempt from elected Councillor and public oversight, could that impact on public engagement and election turnout?
Q6. How will the public sector service ethos be maintained, when Council employees are transferred to a commissioned service provider?
Q7. How will Trade Union recognition rights and participation be maintained, when Council services are transferred to a commissioned service provider?
Q8. How will statutory duties, regulator inspections and all of the associated risks be transferred to commissioned services providers?
Q9. Will commissioned services be required to submit performance metrics for councillor and public oversight?