Tuesday 26 January 2010

An interesting explanation

Yesterday, I referred to the way in which Carmarthenshire Council had apparently implemented the decision to allow people to park for free in the two weeks leading up to Christmas before the decision was taken. In reality, it was obvious that the decision had in fact been taken by someone outside the formal decision-making process, and that the Executive Board had merely rubber-stamped the decision.

I have now been told about the council's 'explanation' for this curious state of affairs. They claim that the Executive Board didn't actually take the decision at all. It may - and probably will - come as a surprise to most members of the council to discover that all decisions on whether to charge, or how much to charge, for car parking are considered to be 'operational' matters and thus delegated to the council's relevant officer. There was, from a legal perspective, no need for the Executive Board to even discuss the proposal, let alone approve it.

That might clarify the legal position, but as with so many of the council's 'explanations', it raises at least as many questions as it answers.

For starters, if the officers had already taken the decision, why did they then submit a three page report to the Executive Board, setting out the implications of the proposal and stating that the key decision required was "That Executive Board approves the introduction of free car parking after 10.00 hours in all towns in the two weeks leading up to Christmas 2009"?

Or why spend time discussing the matter in the Executive Board (with the relevant members of course claiming credit for their generous and wise decision), before formally minuting the decision as "UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the introduction of free car parking after 10.00 hours in all towns in the two weeks leading up to Christmas 2009 be approved."?

This is an authority which claims to be desperately cash-strapped and facing severe cuts in front line services, but they apparently have enough member and officer time available to go through a complete charade of producing reports with recommendations in them, debating what to do, and then solemnly minuting a decision, when the whole process was completely and utterly unnecessary.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Be nice if they stopped closing off a road with disabled parking to allow the French or Italian markets in town, they are to expensive anyway, but when this market comes the whole disabled parking in town is removed. and Christmas we disabled also like to shop