At the City of Edinburgh Council meeting on Thursday councillors deferred the decision on the future of Environment services until the next Council meeting due to be held on Thursday 24 November.

The officer proposal which they were considering is contained in a report published by the Council last week and which we mentioned in our earlier article.

Council Leader, councillor Jenny Dawe, said: “Due to the magnitude of this decision, it is important that the business case to deliver environment services in-house, in light of the significant volume of recently circulated supporting material, is considered thoroughly and properly understood by all councillors.

“I have also asked the Chief Executive to set up a public meeting, with an independent chair, on this matter.”

This is the text of the Administration motion approved at the meeting:-

Item 8.1 Alternative Business Models Review Programme

Council notes the report.

Council also recognises the Administration’s stated position (Administration Budget – 11 February 2010) that:

“this Administration instinctively supports public services and recognises the responsibility that local government has to provide for society fairly, equitably and progressively. However, Council recognises that, in its responsibility to Edinburgh and its residents, it is necessary to consider all approaches critically and objectively.”

Council, recognising that some Groups have already reached a decision on this matter, further recognises the recommendations in the Gateway Review (which was placed in the Data Room on Tuesday 25th October) regarding the information and assurances that require to be given to elected members to assist their understanding. Council therefore agrees to defer a decision on this matter for one cycle. In the intervening period, to allow Councillors to further appraise themselves of the information, Council instructs that the following actions be undertaken:

(i) Elected members should be provided with sufficient information to address the 9 areas of concern outlined in the most recent Gateway Review;

(ii) To ensure that it can be considered on a more equal footing with the recommended bid, an external review of the Public Sector Comparator be completed which examines its deliverability and any associated risks or benefits and which involves the unions, staff, management and elected members;

(iii) The Data Room (supplemented with the additional information requested) should continue to be available to elected members and the unions throughout; and

(iv) That the Chief Executive make arrangements for the Council to convene a public meeting, with an independent chair, on this matter.

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