H.R.A PRESS RELEASE: 01-07-2020
Updated: Feb 20
Back in February, Havering’s Residents Associations (H.R.A), not including Harold Wood
Residents Association, put forward a budget to council that included a £167,000 saving to
the Members allowance budget by making changes to the Councils Scrutiny Committee
This was voted down by the Conservatives and Harold Wood Residents Association.
Opposition parties have regularly argued that the Scrutiny process in Havering needs to be
more robust and streamlined. However, the Leader of the Council, Councillor Damian White
has a different view and has forced various changes through the Council Constitution to
curtail scrutiny, including preventing Councillors “calling in” decisions for further
examination. That is up until now.
The Leader of the Council, Damian White, has now decided that opposition members should
have the opportunity to scrutinise the in year budget changes before the Cabinet makes a
decision. Why now when for the past two years he has resisted any opposition challenge?
Could it be because of the huge financial challenges now facing his Administration?
We are pleased that the Councillor Damian White now sees the benefit of scrutiny and trust
he will be supporting the H.R.A motion going to Full Council on the 9 th July requesting a
review of the Scrutiny Process in line with the our budget proposals. This would make the
scrutiny process robust, focused and money saving, for the benefit of Havering’s Residents
and the financial deficit.
In February 2018, a cross party group of members put forward to the Governance
Committee a report on changing the Overview and Scrutiny structure, in order to
provide a more efficient and productive system of scrutiny. In light of the budget
savings identified in the recent Council Tax setting meeting and the financial impact
COVID-19 will have on borough finances, this council calls for a cross party group of
members to re-visit this report and where appropriate provide further
recommendations to the Governance Committee to recommend to council for