This morning we met to discuss the activities of the budget and performance committee in the coming year. In March we will be hearing from witnesses about the indistinct Olympic legacy - will East London benefit from new housing, a massive urban park and a glittering new economic settlement, or will we be saddled with a debt mountain and a collection of white elephants?
Subjects for consideration at later meetings were discussed but no final conclusion was reached. There was enthusiasm for digging into a number of matters:
Fare increases - would the rise in bus fares lead to a reduction in passenger numbers? If passengers were discouraged, how would they travel instead?
Policing - with the obvious shortcomings of using staff numbers as an indicator, how would we judge the performance of the Met in future?
Organising For Delivery - had the reduction in staff numbers at City Hall impaired the function of the core GLA?
Low income Londoners - how would services for the most needy be preserved in the newly cost conscious culture?
London Travelwatch - is London's transport watchdog providing value for money?
It is an interesting list, but very focused on the activities of the Mayor. Not unexpected, as the Assembly is responsible for scrutinising the executive arm, but our experience of Mayor led scrutiny during the 2000 - 2004 term was mixed. The 2004 - 2008 Assembly programme examined issues of wider interest to Londoners, and the Assembly was given greater credit for its effectiveness during that period.