Thursday, 30 April 2015

Members and Minutes

Somewhat inspired, I have to say, by a recent post from Pembs councillor and blogger, Old Grumpy, 'Name-calling', I'm now wondering why Members in Carmarthenshire aren't named in the minutes of meetings when, and if, they make a contribution.

Currently, only those who pose a question, or put forward a motion at full council only are named along with the member who is supposed to respond. It appears however that the situation is not unique to Carmarthenshire.

Carmarthenshire's Constitution is quite clear, the minutes will be written "without attributing views or opinions to any members by name".

In fact, the minutes usually refer to members only obliquely, for example "In response to a question...Officer XYZ informed the committee...".

Unless every meeting is going to be webcast or recorded, it might be interesting for residents to actually read the views of their own councillor on important issues.

Although minutes are not supposed to be a verbatim record, Carmarthenshire's have been deliberately 'lean' and on occasion, biased and economical with the truth. The WLGA Governance review recognised the failings and recommended, albeit politely, that the council should 'review its approach to producing minutes of meetings' although fell short of a proposal to identify speakers.

I can see no reason at all why members who contribute to a debate cannot be named in the minutes. Pembrokeshire's officers couldn't come up with a valid reason either it seems and were forced to compromise and propose a three month pilot. Following which, any 'administrative implications' which arose would be considered. They appeared vague as to what those 'implications' could possibly be...
Although the more vocal members might welcome their names and comments being recorded for posterity, as Old Grumpy suggests, such a move would expose the Trappists in the ranks who rarely, if ever, speak up for their constituents or county.

He also mentions the fact that this matter has been rumbling along since March 2013...and if you think Pembrokeshire Council is skilled at kicking things into the long've seen nothing until you come to Carmarthenshire....

Still, with Carmarthenshire's stated aim of becoming the 'most open and transparent council in Wales' you never know....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

'Carmarthenshire's aim ar becoming the most open and transparent council in Wales.' You have more chance of Mezza landing on the moon and Marky Mark giving half his wage to charity.