A mixed bag of Council meetings this week: On Monday I attended a training session for all Councillors. The subject was “The role of a Councillor in Corporate Parenting” .When I say all councillors it was a pity only around ten turned up.

When you become a councillor, you also become responsible for ensuring that the Council acts as the “corporate parent” for all children in its care. The role of the corporate parent is to seek for children in care the outcomes that every good parent would want for their children.

It made for an evening of sober reflection and was a million miles away from the usual tribal political warfare that passes for politics in Barnet. Much credit is due to Barnet’s social workers. They have a difficult task. The number of children coming in to care has increasing. Last week a family of five children were received in to care. There is a chronic shortage of Foster Carers. Hats off I say to all the staff.

Normal service resumed on Tuesday. A meeting of the Constitutional Review Committee, all two hundred and seventeen pages of it: The trouble with this Committee is that you want to go to sleep with boredom. But, if you nod off you can be sure you miss a change to the Constitution which may come back and bite further down the road.

An amusing discussion took place concerning a proposed change to the Constitution which would permit the Trade unions to speak at the General Functions Committee on employment matters. The Tory members did not like this. This was not first time it had come before the Committee. So whose idea is it? Step forward, The Leader of the Council. Any way a comprise was reached, the Constitution was changed so it will be possible for the Chair of the General Function Committee to use their discretion whether to allow the Trade Unions to speak.

The current Chair of the General Functions Committee made it plain that she did no agree with the proposed change so it will be interesting to see if she uses her discretion! Such excitement, I know. I told you it was boring.

But then we moved on to a curious item. The Government have introduced further changes to the way Councils are supposed to run. (Surely they have better things to concentrate on). From 2010, Councils will have to choose whether to have directly elected Mayor, or the more traditional Council Leader.

So far nothing new, but here is the rub, If it is decided to run with the traditional Leader then the Leader serves for the full four years of the Council! The current system has the Leader elected annually by the council I was wide awake by now. Wait for the response from the army of local bloggers.

We decided that we did not want an elected Mayor. So we are left with the Council Leader model. All of this will have to be agreed by the full Council. We were assured that nothing much change as the council will still be able to “sack “the Leader at any time. Remember you heard it here first!

Finally, on Wednesday we had the Planning Committee. The main item was an application from Middlesex University to expand on to the Town Hall site. We were told that the design had been described as “world class” I couldn’t see it myself. We were also told it was finely balanced on traffic grounds. The application got half hearted approval from the committee, but not before the expressions “world class” had been batted around. It had been a “world class” debate by “world class” councillors on a “world class” council. I couldn’t see that either!