Thursday, September 13, 2007

Overview and Scrutiny

Today was the sort of day I most dislike about being a councillor. Normally I try to keep Thursday for visiting my mother and mother-in-law, both severely disabled and elderly, doing shopping with them and generally helping out. However, I'd been persuaded against my better judgement to go to the first annual Scrutiny Conference in NE England. A car-sharing arrangement was worked out so that we didn't all drive to Sunderland in separate cars so I was picked up at 8 this morning. By 9 we'd arrived at the Stadium of Light. By 11 I had a raging headache, partly caused by the noise of the air conditioning unit in the ceiling above my head. Having decided to use my new handbag I hadn't transferred my usual paraphenalia into it so didn't have any paracetamol. Football stadium doubling as conference centre doesn't have useful shops so it was a case of soldiering on without.
The talks for the first half of the morning told me nothing I hadn't heard half a dozen times before and the second half confirmed my early impression of the government's bright idea for Community Calls for Action - any councillor worth their salt is doing that sort of thing anyway! Lunch was uninspiring but at least there was the option of some nice fresh fruit for pudding. Then the afternoon session could have been condensed into one half hour slot - yawn, yawn I'm afraid. It was all the more frustrating because I knew that others were at the Fairtrade Town Conference which would have been a lot more interesting and useful. I just hope they come back with loads of good ideas.
One minor bright spot is that the local paper seems to want to run a story about the change in the hospital phone number which Julia highlighted to them last week. I did a phone interview with the reporter in the lunch break, though thanks to my head I'm not sure it was the best I've ever done.
Meanwhile lots of work to do in the ward, including more on our Small Environmental Improvements budget, more on inappropriate ball games especially this time on Hindhead and more on planning including the new application to convert the Riverside Lounge into flats. Hey ho!

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