An excited Birmingham Labour Councillor tweeted yesterday that “members of the public are walking into the Council House asking for copies” of his Scrutiny report. It sounded like there were loads of them.
Knowing how tight money is currently at BCC, and that Council papers are no longer copied in the numbers they once were – with members of the public and others being expected to access them on line instead – I was puzzled as to why the Council was now apparently dishing out free hard copies of reports to anyone who asked, and if they were, which budget was paying for it.
So I made a few enquiries at the Council House today. It turns out I needn’t have feared for BCC’s finances. The number of people who came in and asked for a copy of the report was precisely one. I am told there aren’t lots of spare copies to give out and that in fact it’s business as normal with the latest batch of Scrutiny reports – with people expected to either access them on line, look at them in the reception but not remove them, or pay for a hard copy if they do wish to take one away.