Thursday, 26 September 2013

Question to the Execuitive . . failed.

I made a request to ask a question of the executive a month ago and asked if permission to film would be given.

Both were agreed.

Today I got to ask my question. Cllr David Lee was ill so Rob Stanton stood in and I was impressed by his chairing. Disspointed I was not allowed to express the reasoning behind my concerns but he let it go on for a while.

My Question.

Why have planning and scrutiny meetings been left off the list of those that may be filmed by the public?

If the Council is concerned about misrepresentation then this is true of any meeting. They can arrange for the filming to be recorded themselves. If you choose not to then have the added benefit your legally protected from misrepresentation and have the means to publicise against those that do. 

The public however have no evidence, save the proceeding of these meetings should they feel that Cllrs have said one thing and done another. At present the minutes go through weeks of approval and I have noticed missed out disconcerting points from public forums.

I was going to add a link to the verbatim minutes. But since they are far from verbatim I have just provided a link to the video. Run this in another window and read on. Links to the agenda and minutes are in the video description.

The response was as expected. They are nervous and thinking about it.

I ab libbed a bit at the beginning of my response. I was in the presence of a group of people controlling probably 3 billion pounds worth of development who were effectively reducing transparency until after the deals have been made!

Non-verbatim minutes and scrutinized by those of their choosing? No. I simply reminded them they they are obligated under the constitution to support transparency unless is it clearly in the public interest not to do so, badly as you will see in the video.

My action planned follow up question.

"I have made no effort to hide that I fear there are corrupt relationships between the local elected and employed council and local businessmen specifically developers. (pause)

I guess corruption is a hard word. Some may simply call it jobs for the boys or helping a friend. Nether the less there is no way of proving intent or otherwise, and this is not good for democracy.

There is most definitely motive.

Outside of creating and controlling government contracts the primary motive is the value of the land increasing when permission is granted to build. Taking that increase at an average of 100 thousand pounds per dwelling, and with 13 thousand dwellings"

This is about where I got cut off. Not in a rude way bust asked if there was a question and I stated that I have four constitutional proposals that I would ask them to support. They said I can submit them tomorrow in some way. I'll update this when I can reference the video. And regarding the point that they are constitutionally bound to support further transparency the answer was a repeat of the first and did not actually touch on that point.

This is what I did not get to ask.

" in in the SDl’s alone that is £1.3 billion pounds of motive to ensure the local community do not get the lion share and most definitely ensure that the national policy for house building does not result in, present value compulsory purchases of their family and friends speculative assets.

But how would I provide ROI as a crony councillor other than deciding who can look at the contracts.

Firstly I would make consultations uninteresting. This can be achieved with word only invitations that do nothing to engage the reader or expose that which might be objectionable, to put up no large poster on the Wellington House displaying what was being considered back in 2007 and provide no advance notice of planning change on Elms field.

Secondly. Anyone interested enough to find their way to the dreary consultation website should be presented with an illogical bombardment 1000’s of pages of pdfs with no single concise or engaging summary.

Then I will bury the evidence and draw conclusions that have no bearing on what was said.

I may even ask a friend, to ask a question in public, at a key moment designed to imply support where there is none.

Yes. Were I earning my crony keep this is how I would do it.

I therefore ask my follow up question. Will you support these constitutional changes that will reduce the impact of cronies in local government if any should ever get in.

1.To call for and vote in favour of a motion that no consultation period can start until a single document that contains the most important points and can be understood by the target audience in under 10 minutes is made available as the primary point of reference. Further detailed information will be available as links from that document.

2.To call for and vote in favour of a motion that no consultation period can start until  a transparent on line discussion forum is made. This could take the form of a Facebook group but must be open. A link must be in a prominent place on the consultation web page.

3.To call for and vote in favour than no consultation period can start unless it is is suitably publicised. This should include the provision of public information boards at the entrance to supermarkets, front page coverage in the local paper, a banner in the locality and in all instances include a layout image.

4.To call for and vote in favour of a motion that a separate 100 random constituents consultation is conducted to gauge if vested interests may be influencing the responses.

Thank you.

The chap who was supposed to ask the following question from the Agenda right after me never showed up, I guess my computer is being monitored as he was accounted for in my question. Alex Forrest you bugger!

"What is Wokingham Borough Council currently doing to show national government that Wokingham Borough Council is on top form and keeping in line with its proposals for implementing national strategy at a local level?"

At least their gamesmanship is transparent.

I would like to remind everyone that in the UK there is a right to film in public.

Erick Pickles has given clear guidance to Councillors to allow filming of all public meetings to be used how the blogger sees fit, the normal laws surrounding misrepresentation sufficient to act on abuses.

So our execuitives have given nothing. The have simply gone from not as transparent as they could be to a bit less.

There is one important point here. Enshrined in the constitution solely for the purpose of limiting the potential for corruption.

They must act in favour of transparency unless it is clearly in the public interest not to do so.

It would appear that each and every member of our Executive are in breach of the constitution.

What happens next? Don't leave it to me. Please. I'm tired.

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