Lack of transparency worrying
Scott Dickinson, the Leader of Labour’s County Councillors in Northumberland, has raised questions about transparency and democracy on Northumberland County Council after the Conservatives altered the format of scrutiny processes. These sweeping changes have not received cross party agreement and are extremely concerning.
Writing in his monthly newsletter Scott has said:
New rules designed to give the Tories ultimate platform with a total democracy blackout came into force. Annual reports of Scrutiny and Service areas were presented with a 10-minute slot for questions with only 1 question being asked per Councillor. Now with the best will in the world if 67 Councillors wanted to ask a question that time limit does not allow, it didn’t even facilitate a handful this month and it excluded opposition Councillors from holding people to account.
In addition to these new limitations, they also scrapped debate on these reports to really limit/cancel out participation.
The announcement slot has been highjacked as a political broadcast, clearly all these actions demonstrate the desperation and concern they have for forthcoming elections and absolutely they should. Having said that the Council needs to function and cannot be run in this dictator style regime.
The lack of transparency and scrutiny of Council decisions is extremely worrying.