Local Government Should Be Open And Transparent

PUBLISHED: 13:56 30 April 2009 | UPDATED: 10:51 04 May 2010

WITH reference to Jackie Petts letter of April 23 and her assertion about how much clearer could it be, unfortunately, quite a lot is the answer. Local government has a duty to be open and transparent in its decision making. The best polices are going to

WITH reference to Jackie Petts'letter of April 23 and her assertion about how much clearer could it be, unfortunately, quite a lot is the answer.

Local government has a duty to be open and transparent in its decision making. The best polices are going to carry public support where there is publicly-evaluated evidence to support them. When developing a major plan of any sort it would seem wise not to treat the public with disdain and a 20-year vision needs to proceed on a basis of informed consensus.

The original Masterplan questionnaire was a masterpiece of crass leading questions with no real options, the options having been filtered our earlier. The strong advice on those options has come from a steering group that was not properly constituted as a sub-committee or working group of the council. Consequently, its meetings were not subject to the code provisions on the declaration of interests, or subject to the council's rules of procedure for its committees, sub-committees and working parties.

The cancellation of the original Masteplan and subsequent re-examination by a new working party, meeting in public with broader priorities, would simply not have happened without my intervention, which was based on the information that was made available at the time.

I would welcome the publication of the full report in which the word 'exonerate' does not figure but in which the council is recommended to give careful consideration to the issues that have been raised as a result of the investigation.

I hope this makes things slightly clearer for Cllr Petts and gives the local population greater confidence in their council, which again, I hope, will, in due course act on the information in the full report.

CLLR IAN ALLEN.

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