Restricted View

Restricted View 009

After yesterday’ s story about the Standards Panel meeting to be held on 15 June we questioned whether openness and transparency would prevail in the matter of this particular councillor Code of Conduct complaint . And true to (bad) form Wirral Council have today published the laughably named ‘public reports pack’ on their website.

First of all you will see that Agenda Item 4  is what can only be described as Kafkaesque as the press and public are excluded from presumably discussing whether the press and public will be able to attend the rest of the meeting !  I think we all know the answer to that already don’t we boys and girls?

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/documents/g6133/Public%20reports%20pack%2015th-Jun-2017%2017.00%20Standards%20Panel.pdf?T=10

Agenda 5 is concerned with an investigation report and its 12 appendices which are allegedly attached. Needless to say they’re not – all we get is pages 45-211 marked either Document is Restricted’ or ‘This page is intentionally left blank ‘ .

We imagine some town hall power abuser (take your pick!) rather enjoyed instructing some lowly , downtrodden clerk to upload every single page marked in this way rather than just state that Wirral Council will not publish the documents before the meeting.

We can imagine this pathetic power trippin’ specimen looking in the mirror of the town hall bogs and fist-pumping as if to say : “That’ll show ’em who’s in charge”. It’s just such a shame the vainglorious vampire wouldn’t be able to see their own reflection!

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‘Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this sun of York…..’

 

That’s decided  – we’re moving to York!

We say this as we followed up our story Wirral Council – Where Transformation Means More Of The Same  by watching coverage of the City of York Council’s Audit & Governance Committee meeting held yesterday.

As you can see their meetings are webcast so that the people of York can see how the council makes its decisions. The aim is to promote openness and accountability, and to support greater participation in local democracy. ‘A Protocol for Webcasting, Filming and Recording of Council Meetings’  on City of York Council’s website usefully sets out the operating procedure for filming/webcasts. This includes the Chair , at the start of each meeting, making the following statement : – ” I would like to remind everyone present that this meeting will be broadcast live to the internet and will be capable of repeated viewing.”

If Wirral Council wanted to promote openness, accountability and greater participation in local democracy surely they’d ditch Wirral View and look to how York conducts its business .But then again considering  openness,accountability and democracy have never been a top priority for Wirral Council we suspect that John Brace won’t be out of a job any time soon!

We suggest to our readers that they spend the duration of their favourite soap opera and watch the first half hour of the video. We think they will find it most instructive. However – call us sad- we watched the entire 3 hour + as it was morbidly fascinating and as described by one of the councillors , at times  ‘Kafkaesque’.

As you will surely witness as Wirral languishes metaphorically in the depths of winter , the councillors and citizens of York set out to prove that sunlight is indeed the best disinfectant .

We were sat here loudly applauding at Leaky Towers as councillors actually tried to hold slippery council officers to account and as concerned citizens asserted their democratic rights and reminded these callow council officers exactly who they were accountable to.

Glorious indeed!

They made our councillors ( of all political persuasion) look like the rank amateurs they are when it comes to scrutiny and reminded us how Wirral Council manage to get away with what they do because many local people are so politically disengaged. What we need are a few more Gwen Swinburns!

However we live in hope that ,like Storm Doris, it will pass and one day Wirral will get its day in the open and transparent sun . Meanwhile it would appear the council taxpayers of Wirral are still stuck in a nuclear winter of discontent when it comes to public accountability.