Friday 20 January 2017

How to emasculate an audit committee

I had two audit committee meetings on Wednesday, an exercise in contrasts.

In the morning I attended Essex Fire Authority's Audit, Governance and Review Committee. This was a committee that allowed all to comment, that did not censor what members wanted to say or ask.

In the evening I was at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council's Audit Committee. Here Chair Davidson had a rather North Korean approach to running the meeting, deciding that censorship was the order of the day.

That her government is about to create "significant adverse impact on council services" is of vital importance, and yet she decided not to allow me to give voice to my concerns.

The risk as described above is labelled as "almost certain" and "catastrophic". Government policy is creating this situation, and must be challenged, despite what Tory Davidson may want or wish.

Censorship, especially and particularly at an audit committee, is completely unacceptable. Tory Chair Davidson edict on 'political' comments is an affront to democracy and a barrier to open debate. I have no confidence in her chairing and impartiality. Change your ways, Cllr Davidson, or resign.

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