REPORT: Second Liverpool Mayor scrutiny committee - Mathew Street Festival, Hillsborough vigil, 'baffling finance reports', and LDL
I've just got back from the second Liverpool Mayor select committee.
There were a few announcements tonight by Joe Anderson.
Here they are summarised below:
Next year's Mathew Street Festival will be revamped.
Last week the we revealed a £400,000 funding blackhole in next year's budget due to the loss of European funding. The festival costs £800,000 to stage.
"There has been speculation about the festival," Mayor Anderson said. "No decision has been made, but it is going to be revamped. It's not going to be the same as last year."
He said within the next month the "exciting" events programme for the following year would be revealed.
He also announced the select committee will in future have a majority of opposition councillors.
He said: "It's about scrutiny and checking things, I am happy with that."
The council is due to have one of its bi-monthly meetings on Wednesday - the day of the release of the report by the Hillsborough Independent Panel.
Liverpool council has organised a vigil at St George's Plateau starting at 6pm.
Mayor Anderson announced that the 5pm council meeting would be put back to 7pm for council members to be able to attend the vigil.
He said: "Hopefully the Hillsborough Independent Panel will give what everybody has wanted for 23 years - the truth."
He also revealed that a health commission to be led by renown expert Prof Ian Gilmore had not started yet because of a prior commitment.
The mayor and Prof Gilmore are to meet next week to discuss when the commission might start.
For the past two years the Liberals have been involved in setting a joint budget with the ruling Labour group.
But Mayor Anderson said this was in doubt because ground rules had not been agreed and time was running out to do so.
He initially announced that Labour would be going it alone, but agreed to "reflect" on the situation after protests from Liberal leader Cllr Steve Radford.
In discussion about finance documents, Liberal Democrat Erica Kemp revealed she's baffled by some of the terms in the report like 'sweating an asset'.
Mayor Anderson joked that there is no need to feel embarrassed as 90% of councillors don't understand either.
Cllr Radford also urged the mayor to breakdown council contracts to allow small companies to bid for work.
He went on to say that some of the costs associated with the controversial £70m annual Liverpool Direct Limited (LDL) IT and call centre joint venture with BT were "astonishing".
Mayor Anderson said he would set up a seminar to allow councillors to ask questions on the subject of LDL.
He said many issues regarding LDL were often "taken out of context".
"There is nothing to hide here. I think it is a good idea there's a regular opportunity for members to ask questions."
The seminar will be chaired by the chair of the mayoral select committee Liberal Cllr Hazel Williams.