Week thus far …

It has been a busy week thus far – here’s a resume of some of my activities:
* Monday – Council Committees – After the site visit to the Kelso Steps I advised of earlier, I held my Monday ward surgeries at Harris Academy and the Mitchell Street Centre.   Thereafter, I participated in City Council meetings.
At the Environment Committee, I welcomed the update about the cremated remains project at Western Cemetery that I have taken a close interest in.    I also raised the need for some environmental improvements at Balgay Cemetery and cited the concerns of an elderly lady who is concerned about the area around her parents’ grave.   I also queried targets for increased use of electric and other low carbon vehicles by Dundee City Council and have since had a useful update from the council’s Environment Director on the matter.
At City Development Committee, I was pleased to note progress towards ensuring the Rockwell site is ready for Harris Academy pupils next August but again highlighted the council’s failure to put the very significant decant tender out to the open market.   The tendered price submitted by the council’s Environment   Department is a very significant £843 578 and this should have been subject to competitive tendering to ensure best value to the Council Tax Payer.    It is reminiscent of the Dudhope Castle refurbishment I criticised earlier this year – £859 136 that was not subject to competitive tender. 
At Policy and Resources Committee, I supported the proposal for an all-party action group to see what can be done to help Dundee Remploy workers (I have also been in touch with the council’s Head of Economic Development about the very concerning situation affecting Remploy in Dundee).   I also queried progress with staffing arrangements for the delivery of the Scottish Welfare Fund from April 2013 and seconded a motion by Bailie Derek Scott, who rightly opposed a new second civic car – an extravagance that cannot be justified in the current financial climate.   
* Tuesday – On Tuesday evening, I firstly attended part of the Blackness Primary School Parent Council meeting at which Mr Ferrier, Head Teacher, gave a comprehensive update on recent school activities and a resume of PE and music provision at the school.
Thereafter, I took part in the monthly West End Community Council meeting – the best attended for some time, no doubt due to the discussion about the parking consultation in part of the West End.   The Courier report yesterday gives a good summary of the discussion.   At the Community Council, the shoppers’ prize draw and children’s window spotting competition winners from West End Christmas week were drawn – more details to follow!
* Wednesday – Scrutiny Committee – After yesterday’s photocall at Kwik Fit, I took part in the City Council’s Scrutiny Committee, at which, amongst other matters, I queried the scrutiny of performance in schools arising out of the inspection report on St Andrew’s Primary School, questioned council tax in-year collection targets, asked about the future of anti-fraud work given the moves towards the Single Fraud Investigation Service and also questioned fuel management arrangements.