Monday 25 January 2010

Jumping the gun

I mentioned last week that Carmarthenshire Council had got themselves into a bit of a tangle over how and where a decision was taken. Another example has been highlighted this week by one of the Plaid members on the council.

The council announced in its propaganda sheet, published on 25th November, that it would again be providing free parking for a fortnight before Christmas, as it has done in previous years. A praiseworthy decision, and one supported by councillors of all parties. The decision was duly implemented on 10th December, with notices placed in all the car parks advising motorists that there was no need to pay.

It was only when the minutes of the Executive Board meeting on 14th December appeared that it became clear that the decision wasn't actually taken (in the sense of being formally taken at a properly convened meeting under the terms of the Local Government Act, 1972) until 14th December - four days after it was implemented, and nine days after it had been publicly announced in the newsletter.

So, what actually happened? Clearly, the real decision must have been taken at an earlier date, although apparently not at any formal meeting convened under the terms of the Act. So, when, and by whom was the real decision taken? Whilst the council's formal decisions are officially taken in meetings open to the public and properly minuted, it is increasingly clear that much of the real decision-making happens in secret – the open meetings are just a rubber-stamping exercise for decisions which have already been made.

That was not exactly the intention of the relevant legislation. The process would be more convincing if they got the rubber stamp out before implementing decisions.


Unknown said...

So much for local democracy!

neil said...

The Independent party have been leading Carms since 1999. At best that makes you complacent at worst.... well just look at the recent record!
This latest gaff on top of others makes the Ind/lab leadership look sloppy and tired with at touch of panic creeping in.
Time for vision thing from Plaid.