Monday 19 September 2011

Petitions now closed...but my efforts continue..

Just to say that my two petitions to the Welsh Assembly closed today. As I have mentioned, numerous times, one was to require Councils to webcast public meetings and allow members of the public to film and record meetings. The other was for local authorities to 'Publish spending details over £500'. Many thanks to all who signed. Both will be considered by the Petitions Committee at the Senedd on the 27th September. Hopefully the meeting will be live-streamed by Senedd tv so I will be able to see what is said - a good advert in itself for the first petition.
Whatever the outcome of the petitions I would like to say that theAssembly Petitions Office have been very helpful, have hosted the petitions well and even promoted them on Twitter towards the end. Kudos to them and perhaps our Councils could now consider hosting epetitions on their sites? as per the requirements of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009?

Hopefully, if nothing else, the issues over filming meetings and publishing data will further promote debate and action with regards to all aspects of transparency and accountability throughout Wales. Councils differ in their approach and levels of openness but of course I speak from the experiences I have had here in Carmarthenshire. Which, to be honest, is dire.

There are no signs of any improvements either. My previous post, 'Carry on Council - the farce continues' mentions today's Executive Board meeting (19th Sept) where, yet again the Constitution is being tinkered with, giving further powers to the Chief Executive, there are also changes to the delegation of power to the Head of Planning (I have heard further rumours of the present post holder's imminent retirement, but have heard this before...) and the referral of planning applications to the Planning Committee - this has been expertly covered by Y Cneifiwr here.

As many Welsh Councils make tentative steps to open up meetings, decisions, spending, etc it appears that our entirely unaccountable and officer-led Carmarthenshire Council is reverting to the Dark Ages. I also note that my latest Freedom of Information request, mentioned here, is now delayed, apparently they will answer it when it is 'practically possible'.

My efforts to bring transparency, accountability and democracy to Carmarthenshire County Council shall continue.

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