LETTER: Spending scrutiny

Readers may well remember Cllr Adrian M Lee (Con, Denne) pronouncing in these pages last year (5.11.15, p34) about the importance of going to council meetings.

For a new councillor it is ‘to learn about these mechanisms... to participate, be involved, attend meetings and learn about the role of a councillor’. He said, ‘I attend as many of the meetings as possible.’

Following this ‘grand’ statement I obtained through an FoI the details of Cllr Lee’s decidedly mediocre attendance at council meeting and you printed my findings.

Cllr Lee in his letter last year also denied that there was a cabinet ‘cabal’ operating at Horsham District Council whilst going on to lash out at Cllr Conner Relleen (Con, Horsham Park) and Cllr Dr David Skipp (LDem, Horsham Park) for their efforts in speaking up for democracy by pointing out that a great number of Cabinet Advisory Groups had been kept secret from backbench councillors thus prohibiting them from being able to attend and contribute.

I read the notes of the Business Transformation Advisory Group (AG) held on 14 January 2016 (horsham.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/30297/160114-BTAG.pdf) with concern.

The notes of that AG record that some £60,000 is now to be spent on outside consultants to advice on ‘digital technology’ or in simple English sounds like the council wants to purchase another very expensive IT system.

The notes of the AG record that for ‘ the future model of the organisation, in order to take advantage of digital technology… innovation consultancy called Ignite will be appointed and the Advisory Group agreed to the delegated authority for use of the Business Transformation Fund for £50k plus £10k to fund back-filling arrangements, in line with the procedure agreed by Council in 2012. The aim was to bring the Business Case to Council for decision in May 2016.’

At times of continued austerity and now council tax rises coupled with increases in car parking charges no issue is more contentious with the public than when this council spends money on outside consultants.

Here was an issue that I anticipated Cllr Lee after all his assurances, would take a real interest in and be at any HDC meeting considering the matter.

Imagine my surprise, disappointment to learn that Cllr Adrian M Lee didn’t attend this important committee of which he’s a member and his apologies were recorded.

Having written to the newspaper in November last year about the importance of going to meetings Cllr Lee really ought to practice what he preaches and attend the meetings he’s mandated to attend – particularly to scrutinise the expenditure of some £60,000 of tax payers’ money on ‘innovative consultants’ – and that’s before the IT system itself is procured.


Tennyson Close,



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