All of Lewisham Council’s scrutiny committees are set to go back to “business-as-usual” in September.  

The council scrapped all scrutiny meetings other than a monthly meeting of the overview and scrutiny business panel after lockdown came into force, drawing some criticism and concern.  

At the time chief executive Kim Wright said the council was trying to “strike a balance” between allowing “well-scutinised decisions” to be made and “ensuring that resources within the council remain focused on still delivering those critical services”.   

The meetings will resume next month, at a date yet to be set, after risk assessments are done and will likely take on a hybrid format with some attendees going in person and others online.  

At the latest meeting of the business panel on Tuesday (August 18), Councillor Liam Curran, who in May said that meeting once a month was more like “watching the history channel” than scrutiny, said “as the rest of our community gets back to a much more normal pace of life […] it’s important that the council does too”.  

He said he wasn’t sure “what the difficulty is”, given most committees “only have six members”.   

Cabinet member for democracy, refugees and accountability, Cllr Kevin Bonavia said he backed the idea of “moving towards hybrid meetings”.  

“It’s something I’ve been keen on before we had this crisis, because [accessibility] really is important, so that people can see and participate regardless of whether they can physically get to meetings or not,” he said.  

Cllr Bonavia said there will be some logistical, practical, and safety issues to deal with but said he had asked that the council is “ready to go as soon as possible”.  

Chair Cllr Bill Brown said the panel accepted this but wanted updates on any progress.