At the beginning of August the council received a letter from our local regiment explaining the losses that they were suffering in Afghanistan. They wanted to set up a fund to help victims and families. I spoke to the council's cabinet and we agreed on a £5,000 donation. A small amount of money but a start - it would have been nice to get the money committed before the rest of the battalion returned home... and the head of the army has asked local councils to help welcome troops home.
I discussed it with my Lib Dem opposition who thought there was nothing wrong.
Skip forward to end September, after weeks of bureaucratic dithering, I'm told the donation is outside "policy" but that I, as portfolio holder, have the right to go outside the policy. So I approve the donation.
8th Oct (yesterday) - I am told that my decision is being "called in for scrutiny" by various Lib Dems and Independents - This will delay the decision until earliest November 16th.
Today, after begging for the decision to be scrutinised earlier, it is clear that the only way to make a quick decision is if I renege on my original decision and bring the whole issue to a full debate of all 59 councillors on Oct 18th. The Chief Exec is going to need to write a full paper for the full council.
All we wanted to do was send a message of support to our troops on the ground.... but even this is tied up in red tape, petty squabbling, time wasting and over-complicated protocols.