Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Just what are councillors for?

There has been a very angry meeting at County Hall today with officers answering questions about the so-called office vision.

The anger stems from the lack of information being given to members by officers on the subject. I accept that there should be a strategic review about where our offices are, but am aghast at the lack of information being given to councillors on the subject. An attempt to call-in the original decision was denied by officers and today's meeting was a substitute to allow questions to be asked by ordinary councillors. Unfortunately, officers and the Cabinet member are still refusing to give any real answers.

Yet again today, officers refused to share with members the list of offices that are proposed for disposal or any details of the vision that underlies their thinking. After members from across the political spectrum had all made similar requests, the Director conceded that he, and the Cabinet, would think again about sharing the list with members on a confidential basis. Previously they had said they would only share information with local ward members about offices in their ward - a sort of divide and rule strategy. I hope that we will get a change of heart on this because otherwise we will have meetings like this time and again.

Once again, Jeremy Rowe asked why the Higher Trenant office had been separated from the rest of the 'vision' and received no proper answer.

Other members made the point that Cornwall doesn't start at Bodmin and that a 'vision' for the most easterly hub to be 30 miles into the county was extremely flawed. Officers promised to look at the options for Bodmin and to talk to local members in the East but there was no real acceptance that I could pick up that perhaps the East should be better served.

This all leads to the view that officers are keeping councillors out of the loop on a key decision which affects many thousands of jobs and local businesses. So what are councillors for if they cannot be trusted with key information?

No comments: