LAMBETH UNDER FIRE 9: LABOUR COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN REPLIES – AND (EVENTUALLY) AGREES TO MEET PEOPLE’S AUDIT LAMBETH

Lambeth Labour Cllr Ed Davie, who chairs the council’s overview and scrutiny committee, has agreed to meet People’s Audit Lambeth to discuss their concerns.

His (eventual) agreement came at Thursday night’s meeting.

Kate Hoey asked him if he asked if he was perfectly compliant that the People’s Audit was a cross-party group.

Ed: “If that’s what people say then I’m clearly prepared to say it.”

Kate: “Is that yes or no?”

Ed: The Green party Facebook page says it was arranged by the Green party (When News From Crystal Palace searched Lambeth Green party Facebook we found this today (Monday): “Lambeth Green Party added an event. 4 February at 08:10 · Kate Hoey MP to chair ‘Introducing the Peoples’ Audit’ Thursday, February 22nd, 6.45pm-9pm – Ed.)

Kate: “Have you ignored the People’s Audit for the past year and refused to meet them when they were met by ministers?. “What was so dreadful about People’s Audit that Lambeth council refused to meet them?.

“Whether you like it or not there’s a perception that residents are not getting value for money.”

Ed: “We did invite Cllr Scott Ainslie (Green) to join the overview and scrutiny committee. “He declined.”

Kate: “How many decisions have the overview and scrutiny committee overruled in the past year?”

Ed: “We’ve made dozens of recommendations on everything from the Garden Bridge to Cressingham Gardens. “Many of them have been quite controversial and many have been accepted.

“Someone said earlier about the question of the people. “When I got involved with scrutiny I looked into the inquest of Sean Rigg.”

Kate: “What people want to know is what do you think about all these issues?”

Ed: “We’re all elected.”

Kate: “Do you accept there’s a problem?.

Ed: “I accept there’s a massive issue. “No-one can say the way Lambeth have delivered housing management is perfect. “It’s still very, very far from delivering. “Repairs have improved.”

Cllr Davie had begun by saying no-one from People’s Audit had ever requested to meet with him or discuss what he called the scrutiny function.

But if he thought he was going to get an easy time from Labour MP Kate Hoey as she chaired the meeting he was in for a rather nasty surprise.

Kate: “But you must have read the reports?

Ed: “Yes we’re elected by our residents to look into the issues they ask us to. “I work for a charity….” (drowned out)

Kate: “You can tell people are frustrated. “There was a time when I raised anything about People’s Audit I’d get a lot of abuse from some councillors. “There’s a genuine feeling you could be working, engaging with them.”

Ed: “I think I just made that offer Kate. “We are very willing to work with any residents.”

He said the example he was trying to give was where they had worked with residents and reduced psychiatric admissions by over 60 per cent.

“I’m very willing to meet with Peoples Audit and discuss some of the issues around housing. “There are things that I just think are a fundamental misunderstanding for example they talk about massive growth in officer pay only all of that is for head teachers in the borough that the council has no control over.- it’s decided by Government.

Ed: “Cllr Imogen Walker has repeatedly…”

Kate: “Not repeatedly. “Only recently. “We have a commitment from Ed Davie that he’s going to meet with People’s Audit. (Applause. Finally.)

Kate Hoey then threw the meeting open to questions from the audience.

Further reading: Lambeth overview and scrutiny committee 23 October 2012: Inquest into the death of Sean Rigg. Report to Lambeth overview and scrutiny Committee from South London and Maudsley NHS FT

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