Friday, 1 June 2018

Do afternoon Cabinet meetings reduce accountability?

I thought that the early timing of the first Cabinet meeting of the new administration was deliberately fixed to allow a General Purposes Committee (with almost the same personnel) to take place afterwards, but the next Cabinet meeting is at 4pm on June 18th.

This switch to office hours clearly makes it easier for officers, and perhaps reduces costs, but at the same time restricts the ability of the public who are in employment or have school age children to attend to watch proceedings or make representations. The same must go for backbench councillors who work.

The last Cabinet meeting only lasted about 20 minutes as major items were rubber-stamped and it is likely that Cabinet meetings held at 4pm will routinely be over by 5pm.

This may be a small point but is part of a gradual erosion of transparency when it is even more important that a council with a very large majority and a tiny official oppositon is held to account.

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