Saturday 18 April 2015

A date for the diary

You might recall, in the dim and distant past, that the Welsh Local Government Association carried out a 'peer review' concerning the dire state of governance at Carmarthenshire County Council.

The review was required following the libel indemnity and pension scandals relating to the chief executive Mark James, reported by the Wales Audit Office. The remit, which included the council's own target to become, apparently, the 'most open and transparent in Wales', turned out to be fairly comprehensive and the report it made 39 recommendations and, importantly, recognised the toxic culture which exists in County Hall.

Last year a cross party working group was set up to implement the findings of the review, under the watchful eye, of course, of two of those responsible for the mess in the first place, Mark James and Linda Rees Jones...

Anyway, it looks like the deliberations are nearly over and a date has been set for an Extraordinary Council meeting on Wednesday the 17th June to;

"consider the recommendations of the Cross Party Constitutional Review Working Group established to consider the recommendations contained in the Carmarthenshire Peer Review Report."

The  agenda will appear nearer the time and some clues as to what's in store have already emerged including the ridiculous recommendation over the public filming of meetings and, on the insistence of Mr James, we've already seen the severe curtailment of debate in the Chamber with the removal of committee reports.

Amongst the desperately needed changes to the constitution, I hope to see defeat finally admitted and the permanent removal of the unlawful 'libel clauses'. Viewed by some as nothing more than a slush fund to silence criticism, the clauses were 'suspended' the last time Carmarthenshire Council held an Extraordinary meeting;

Whatever happens, I remain of the view that no amount of tinkering with the constitution will change the toxic culture, that will remain as long as the unholy alliance of Mark, Meryl, Pam and Co remain in post.
All the same, we will be watching with interest...and so will the Wales Audit Office I'm sure.

Previous posts also include;
Wales Audit Office reports - a year old today, January 2015
The governance working group - cats and pigeons, December 2014
Carmarthenshire Council governace 'in disarray and not fit for purpose' - Sir David Lewis, August 2014

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