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Bonkers Blog June 2015

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29 June (Part 3) - Secrecy has no boundaries

It’s a whole month since Bexley council announced that the public would not be allowed to be present at their Boundaries Commission meeting. When pressed for the reason why the public couldn’t attend a sub-meeting of the General Purposes Committee the council came up with the novel excuse that this wasn’t a Sub-Committee meeting but a Working Group meeting.

Everything Bexley council does is governed by some law or other, or to be more precise in these particular circumstances, by their Constitution or possibly their Standing Orders.

The rules relating to Sub-Committee meetings are clear enough - the public can attend, but what about Working Groups? What does the Constitution (or Standing Orders) have to say about them?

A freedom of Information Request sought a copy of the relevant rule and the answer was…

There are no provisions in the Council’s Constitution for ‘Working Groups’ as they are not formal Committees or Sub-Committees of the Council.

So there it is in black and white. The council has handed over detailed discussions about the number of councillors who should represent each ward to an unconstitutional clique which meets informally down the pub, or somewhere - and you, the public, are not welcome. In the immortal words of councillor Linda Bailey. “We can do what we like.”


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