There is concern among councillors and the public after the Chief Executive of BCP confirmed that there will be no review into the actions of the Conservative Group which led to the April council meeting being abandoned on Health and Safety grounds. This is despite Cllr Vikki Slade and Labour Councillor George Farquhar asking for the Health and Safety Executive to be notified.
The 26th April Full Council session was adjourned a little over 2 hours into the meeting because of alleged health risks. Opposition members had just won a vote, an unusual occurrence in itself, but what followed was even more bizarre. Two members of the administration, whose apologies for absence had been announced at the start of the meeting, suddenly appeared in the council chamber which meant that the administration now had the numbers to win any further votes. However, the Chairman adjourned the meeting following discussions with the Chief Executive, Monitoring Officer and Council Leader but gave no reason. A degree of mayhem ensued and eventually members were told it was because of a potential health risk but no additional information could be provided because of data protection.
The adjourned meeting was rescheduled for 10th May and would take place before the Council’s Annual Meeting which was already scheduled for 7.00pm that evening. In the intervening time several members submitted a Motion of Confidence which required an Extraordinary Meeting of Council to be scheduled and, yes, you’ve guessed it, it was also scheduled for the 10th May. There were now three separate meetings due to take place, one after the other, with the first, the adjourned meeting commencing at 6.00pm.
There were two notable outcomes from this meeting: the vote won by opposition members at the previous meeting was overturned by the majority administration and a motion submitted by opposition members supporting Ukraine gained unanimous support following a short debate. Several other proposals, including a house building programme and the restructuring of housing services, also gained full support.
The Extraordinary Meeting involved a vote of no confidence in the Council Leader. This was the third such vote since the formation of BCP council and was based upon several issues including bringing the council into disrepute, excessive borrowing (almost £855 million), spending beyond the Council’s means, and failure to deliver the transformation programme. When put to the vote the challenge was defeated, so the Leader retains his position.
The Annual Meeting was less controversial. The current Chair and Vicechair were voted back in, the political balance and committee places were agreed so the Council can now move forward into the 2022/23 year. The meetings finally ended just before midnight!