Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Brent Council's statement on 'secret' Scrutiny meeting on Poverty Report

Following concern expressed by myself and others on why a Scrutiny Committee Meeting on the Brent Poverty Commission Report (published yesterday) was not being held in public I asked Brent Council to respond to this question:
There is considerable public interest in the Brent Poverty Commission following the publication of its report yesterday and your Press Release on that.  Can you explain why the ‘Briefing’ being held today for members of the Scrutiny Committee is not open to the public?

Can you comment on why No 5 of the 7 Principles of Public Life does not apply to this meeting:

No 5 of the 7 Principles of Public Life 5 Openness Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.
This is the Council's response:
A briefing is taking place today with Scrutiny Committee Members about the Poverty Commission report which was launched yesterday. This was not a formal Scrutiny Committee (which is not a decision making body) but a chance for members to hear about the report before it is referred on to Cabinet for formal consideration in September. The decision about how the council will respond to the Poverty Commission report will be made at the Cabinet Meeting and this will be open to the public to view as a live web stream.

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