Labour cries foul over Wyre plan to reduce number of meetings

Rob Fail
Rob Fail

A politician has criticised a plan to reduce the number of full council meetings over the year.

Wyre Council’s Labour group said the proposal would effectively reduce the chance of councillors have to question Cabinet members over key 
issues.

Garry Payne chief executive of Wyre Council

Garry Payne chief executive of Wyre Council

Coun Rob Fail (inset), leader of Wyre’s Labour group, claimed proposed meeting dates for 2019/20 have been reduced from eight to six, and two of those sessions would be sessions in which the most senior councillors, who hold areas of responsibilities, are not questioned.

He said that leaves just four full council sessions where they could be quizzed.

Wyre Council Chief executive Garry Payne confirmed a reduction from eight to six meetings was being considered, but did not give a reason.

He also criticised Coun Fail for speaking out ahead of the plan being finalised, but he did not.

Coun Fail said: “The proposal that full council meetings are reduced to bi-monthly is a step too far.

“In the last couple of years, Wyre Conservatives have limited public involvement at planning meetings, attempted to silence councillors on social media, and reduced minuting of full council meetings to a point where they verge on being worthless.

“Without scrutiny of these proposals, councillors are now facing only being able to ask questions at four full council meetings a year.

“This proposal massively weakens the ability for this council to be held to account by councillors and the public.

“If this goes forward to December’s council meeting there won’t even be a vote on this, councillors will have to sit there and watch as democracy is further eroded before their very eyes.”

Coun Fail says he has now written to the Chief Executive.

Mr Payne said: “The current draft report of proposed meetings, which commences at the start of the new municipal year (May 2019) for meetings of full council, is proposing six meetings between May 2019 and March 2020.

“I am required to consult both the leader of the ruling party and the leader of the opposition.

“I am disappointed that information has been shared before the report has been finalised.”

He added: “A full audio recording of each full council meeting is uploaded to our website so every word is captured verbatim, negating the need for extensive minutes.”