We have all assumed that the (wholly Conservative) EDDC Cabinet was involved after all, that is what they are for. But there is an intriguing sentence in (Cabinet Member) Ian Thomas’s critique of the project on his website:
” … Recognising that the relocation project has been in the stewardship of the Executive Group of just four senior Members since 2013, I proposed to Cabinet remaining Members should be invited to inspect the underlying model, figures and assumptions, in an informal session in advance of a final decision to be made by Full Council on the 25th March, to ensure that the best possible decision is reached.”
Now, Councillor Thomas is a Cabinet member and his responsibilities are listed as:
Economy Portfolio Holder
Asset management forum
Budget working party
Capital Strategy and Allocation Group
Seaton regeneration programme board (Chairman)
Representative on outside bodies:
Exeter Science Park – board (Director)
Exeter University Innovation Centre Board
Now, if someone as senior as this says he was excluded fron discussions and decision-making on this multi-million pound spend, what does this say about the Cabinet style of managing the district? It appears that there is an “Inner Cabinet” of only four Conservative councillors which excludes not just backbench councillors but also other cabinet members, including the Economic Portfolio Holder, from its secret discussions.
This is obviously an urgent matter for the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Which begs the question: how can they be a check and balance on the Cabinet when the Cabinet is so flawed?