At last night's Westminster City Council Full Council Meeting, Knightsbridge & Belgravia Councillor Tony Devenish highlighted his concern about how Council actions would face scrutiny from the public and councillors, especially given the circumstances around the bankruptcy of Labour-controlled Birmingham City Council.
Tony is also the London Assembly member for West Central London, which includes Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea, as well as Westminster.
You can watch their exchange above or read the details below.
Cllr Tony Devenish asked,
"Thank you. My question is for the Leader of the Council, but Councillor Coleman is not here.
"So, Councillor Hug, what work have you commissioned, Councillor Hug post Labour Birmingham Council's bankruptcy to reassure yourself that this council is not at risk of a similar equal pay claim?"
Cllr Adam Hug, Labour Leader of Westminster City Council, replied,
"Thank you very much, Lord Mayor, and thank you very much for that question, Councillor Devenish.
"I have spoken to the Chief Executive of the Council, who has reassured me that work has already been undertaken under your administration in the wake of the Birmingham finding, which is, I believe, 11 years ago now, to ensure that we have no outstanding equal pay claims here.
"And it is obviously something that we are monitoring with the work that we are doing going forward to ensure that we're treating all of our members of staff fairly."
Cllr Devenish followed up,
"Of course, a Labour Council would go bankrupt.
"Will you reflect on the need for robust public scrutiny and relook at your proposed changes to scrutiny on this Council in light of what Donald Rumsfeld called ‘the unknown unknowns’, we may face as a council in the future?
Cllr Hug replied,
"I'm loathe to take advice from Donald Rumsfeld, given his track record.
"It's not one that we would wish to emulate.
"As I believe will be discussed later, we have commissioned an independent review of the council scrutiny from the leading scrutiny experts in the country.
"That has then been passed forward to a cross-party group of councillors who supported the recommendations and work is ongoing to ensure that we bring scrutiny in this Council into the 21st century and tackle some of the real challenges that we've had in scrutiny over the years to make sure that it's working for all councillors and getting and making a real contribution to the life of the Council.
"We really appreciate the work that councillors have done over many years in scrutiny, but it has been extremely variable over how it's been administered and I think we want to improve that and that's why this, this independent process was underway and, and obviously, the work is ongoing, led by the Chair of the Scrutiny Council."