Thursday, 5 January 2012

Pointless I know...

I know that such attempts at engaging with our democratically elected members is a hiding to nothing but I have sent the following email to the members of the Audit Committee which is meeting tomorrow to discuss, among other things the District Auditor's 'Jobs Plan Review' report -

"I am writing to you as members of the Audit Committee to ask that you reject the recommendation to discuss the 'Jobs Plan Review' report in private and to agree to the report being made public.

From the Annual Audit Letter it is clear that the District Auditor contains some serious criticisms of the way the Future Jobs Fund was administered and it is overwhelmingly in the public interest for those criticisms to be made public.

The Leader of the Council has already quoted directly fro the report for his own political purposes and for him to be able to do this without the public knowing the full contents of the report really is an insut to the people who voted for you and to democracy itself.

If you choose to vote in favour of the report being kept private I challenge you to reply to me to give your reasons why so that the public can understand your thinking. I would be intending to make such replies public.

Lastly, can I point out that I have requested a copy of the report under the Freedom of Information Act and, even if you do vote for the report to remain private under s.100A of the LGA 1972, this will not necessarily mean that the Information Commissioner would conclude that the report is exempt from release under the FoIA. As such, in time it is likely for the report to be made public eventually."

I am under no real illusions that any of them will take the slightest bit of notice but you have to try.

Addendum - Perhaps not completely hopeless, I did get one helpful reply back.

I won't name the member involved but they did say that they hadn't yet been given detailed reasons why the matter should be discussed in closed session. But the Post has a council spokesperson saying -

"...that "open circulation" of the report might lead to defamation of those identified within it and prejudice the initial stages any standards committee hearing."

So it looks like the PR team are being briefed before councillors who are charged with making the decisions. Not good.

Check that Post article for a brilliantly comedic quote from Hassan Ahmed as well at the end.

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