Posted: Mon 18th Nov 2019

Updated: Wed 26th Feb

Anger over cutting of meetings

North Wales news and information
This article is old - Published: Monday, Nov 18th, 2019

Denbighshire Council has been accused of downgrading meetings and stifling debate by councillors.
The cancellation of December’s meeting of the full council means there will have been no such meeting since October, with the next one due to take place on January 28.
There is a special meeting of the full council tomorrow but most of this will be held in secret as councillors discuss appointing a new finance officer for the authority.
The full council is where final decisions are made by all county councillors in public, it is also an opportunity for members of the public to turn up and question councillors on their actions.
The last normal full council meeting was held on October 15.
Prestatyn North county councillor, Paul Penlington, said: “Denbighshire’s timetable of full council meetings is increasingly reduced and agendas are often taken up with reports presented for information only. There is little opportunity for many councillors to have a direct influence on county decisions with many decisions taken by the Tory led cabinet with no opportunity for public debate. Local democracy is suffering as councillors and the public are cut out of decision making processes.
“We are about to look at the budget for 2020, to date councillors have received no information on the cabinets plans, such an important topic needs lengthy and robust scrutiny from all members if we are to truly represent our communities.”
Another county councillor who did not want to be named argued that the lack of meetings meant that the county’s leadership was avoiding scrutiny.
He said: “There is no opportunity for the public to ask questions and see what we do, during the winter. This isn’t a council so much as a cabal of eight people mismanaging and avoiding scrutiny.”
A spokesman for Denbighshire County Council said: “Full council meetings were held in July, September and October, bringing the total to eight full council meetings so far in 2019. A further special full council meeting will be held on November 19 and a full council briefing was also held in November.
“No full council meeting will be held in December as there is no formal business for the December meeting requiring a decision. As the meeting falls within the pre-election period and there was no essential business, the meeting was cancelled.
“There are full council meetings set to take place in January, February and March 2020.” ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

By Shane Brennan – Local Democracy Reporter ‌​‌‌​​​‌‍‌​‌​‌​​​

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