From the Chamber - Great Expectations

25 Jan 2024
Andrew Mickleburgh

Our wonderfully diverse residents share common expectations of our Councillors and Council.  For instance, meaningful and effective local democracy, efficient delivery of services, and for the Council’s decision makers to be held to account.

I am proud to have contributed to the strengthening of overview and scrutiny within our Council, and the cross-party involvement in this ongoing process.

The neuroscientist Abhiji Naskar warned that criticism is often the weapon of the shallow, but that scrutiny is the tool of the wise. Olympic athlete Paula Radcliffe has noted how scrutiny and success go together.

I wish to pay tribute to the vision and leadership that former Independent Councillor Jim Frewin brought whilst Chair of The Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee between May 2022 and May 2023. I was Jim’s vice-Chair and remain committed to ensure that we build upon his legacy. A new and more constructive approach to overview and scrutiny has been encouraged and welcomed by the Lib Dem Executive, and viewed very favourably by many residents.

We were very grateful that the Centre for Governance and Scrutiny agreed to observe our overview and scrutiny in action during June 2022. Their comprehensive report contained many observations and recommendations.

One was that more could be done to engage earlier with Executive Members through early constructive challenge to help shape and improve policy, supporting Liberal Democrat desires to add value to the work of the Executive. I have served on the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee for five years, including as Chair since May 2022. The vast changes in our engagement with the Executive, including our Committee’s significant, early stage input into policy and programme formulation, is now a feature of all of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees.

Our Councillors continue to support efforts to increase the involvement of our residents in overview and scrutiny. For example, in the committee that I Chair, I am delighted that we now have two community representatives and that more residents are using the opportunity to ask questions at our meetings.

I believe that our Councillors are working well together with Officers and residents to support a positive culture change, that I hope we will all continue to build upon.


Cllr. Andrew Mickleburgh sits on Overview and Scrutiny Committees and a is a Liberal Democrat ward member for Hawkedon.


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