Last-ditch bid fails

ADVISORY groups on South Cambridgeshire District Council have been disbanded. This was in spite of a last-ditch attempt from a number of councillors to keep the bodies. The council s Scrutiny and Overview committee decided on Thursday to axe the groups

ADVISORY groups on South Cambridgeshire District Council have been disbanded.

This was in spite of a last-ditch attempt from a number of councillors to keep the bodies.

The council's Scrutiny and Overview committee decided on Thursday to axe the groups after a recommendation from the council's Cabinet.

A recent Corporate Governance Inspection of the council said the advisory groups had an "unclear" in the decision-making process of the council.

There had been 14 advisory groups set up over the past six years - but FIVE had not met in the past 12 months.

Indeed, one advisory group had to be abandoned because of a lack of members while another did not meet die to a lack of business.

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The role of advisory groups will now come under the Policy Development committee and the Scrutiny and Overview committee.

In a report members were told that advisory groups created confusion and "unnecessary duplication" of work and in future will be replaced by issue-specific task-and-finish groups.

The report added that there will still be the opportunity for "close monitoring and review" of the council's work.

Cllr James Quinlan, who is a member of the Scrutiny and Overview committee, described the axing of the advisory groups as a "retrograde step".

And Cllr Susan van de Ven told the committee: "To abolish all advisory groups in one clean sweep is reckless and irresponsible."

Cllr John Williams said the move was "a further erosion of democratic involvement of councillors".