Councillor Jayne Cowan, first elected to Cardiff Council in 1999, represents the Rhiwbina ward and sits as an Independent Councillor. Cowan is widely regarded as one of the hardest working councillors in Cardiff. In an exclusive post for Cardiff East Councillor Cowan offers a unique eye-witness account of the council meeting that took place on Thursday 27th January 2011.
The monthly Council Meeting was opened by the Lord Mayor at 4.30pm and was immediately suspended as the microphones were not working. The meeting was then re-opened by the Lord Mayor who asked a selection of Councillors and Officer to vacate their seats whilst the microphones were checked. After 15 minutes or so, the meeting was reconvened and the Chaplain opened the meeting with prayers.
The meeting agreed the minutes of the previous meeting, and the Lord Mayor made announcements. A few Councillors then submitted petitions to the Council for answer.
The next item on the agenda was a green paper on Citizen Focussed Scrutiny for Cardiff which prompted debate from across the Chamber. The paper was generally welcomed, although some Councillors had reservations about adopting non Councillors on to Council Committees. The paper was passed by the Council, although there was some dissent.
The next Item related to the Constitution Committee Meeting in January 2011. This item was passed with very little debate.
Nominations to outside bodies were passed with no debate. The next item was the nominations to the Corporate Parenting Panel and the Fostering Panel. There was one nomination from Plaid, but it transpired that the person already sat on the panel! No further nominations were received.
The first Notice of Motion was a Vote of No Confidence in two Executive Members from the ruling Liberal Democrat and Plaid Coalition. This was tabled by the Labour Group. An amendment was proposed by the Independent Group which changed the Vote of No Confidence into a Censure Motion. The amendment was won but the substantive motion was lost.
The second Notice of Motion related to the snow problems in the City and was tabled by The Conservative Group. Once again an amendment was tabled by the Independent Group. The Conservative, Labour and Independent Group all voted together, but they were defeated by the Liberal Democrat and Plaid Executive. On Twitter, however, after the meeting I asked Cllr Dixon, a Member of the Executive if the snow report commissioned by the Chief Executive could be brought before the full Council Meeting. He commented that the report will go to the Environmental Scrutiny Committee and we will see if they will refer it to the full Council. I will be writing to the Scrutiny Committee asking for this report to be sent to full Council in order for all Councillors, irrespective of whether they are on the scrutiny committee or not, can take part in the debate.
The final Notice of Motion was tabled by the Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru regarding the Forthcoming Vote on March 3rd. Before the start of the debate, The Conservative Group Leader stood up and said that as this item was not within the remit of the Council that his group would withdraw. The debate was opened and several Councillors from across the political divide left the Chamber. During my contribution, I said that I felt that the Notice of Motion was not relevant to Council Business, but following clearance from the Legal Department, it was important to stay and vote. The vote was won, although there was some opposition to the Yes Vote.
Questions to the Executive followed, with opportunities for Councillors who tabled the question to ask a supplementary question. Also one person from another group can also indicate to have the second supplementary question.
Questions and answers will be available shortly and can be accessed on www.cardiff.gov.uk
For more information about the Council Meeting please log on to www.cardiff.gov.uk/webcasting or visit your local library where hard copies of paperwork will be made available.”
Members of the Public are able to table a question at a Council Meeting and can obtain more information by contacting me – firstname.lastname@example.org, tel 029 2062 7757 or direct mobile 079 7001 3332. I can be followed on twitter also on twitter.com/jaynecowan