Behind closed doors

York City Tradingsecret decisions

Following on from our story about the remuneration of the Directors of Quangos in York, a Tory Councillor has announced in the media that any such payments, made to Council officials who run the City of York Trading, will cease. That is the right decision, but is has apparently been made without other members of the so called shareholders committee having had a meeting to discuss the issue.

The Executive meeting last week also singularly failed to specify under what circumstances, if any, Directors of publicly owned companies would receive remuneration.

It points to endemic failings in governance processes at the York Council.

The Council should agree to put details of the meetings of all shareholder committees (which are supposed to look after the public interest) in their calendar of meetings while publishing agendas, supporting papers and meeting minutes promptly.

They should also retrospectively publish the minutes of all shareholders meetings which previously have been held in private (which might help to lift the veil on why three Labour Councillors agreed to the financial inducements in the first place).

Make it York

closed doorsAnother concern is the method of operation of another shareholders committee which seeks to govern the work of Make it York – another wholly council owned Quango.

After pressure, that committee agreed on 6th July to meet in public and publish agendas and meeting minutes. Now, only 5 working days before their meeting is scheduled to take place on 5th October, the agenda and supporting papers don’t even appear on the Council’s web site.

 It was only after a Freedom of Information request had been lodged, that residents even got to know that the meeting was planned!

Neither of the shareholders committees are identified in the formal list of Council committees

The secret life of decisions part 2

secret-meeting-safe-picThe Council continues to decide issues without publishing agendas in advance of meetings, We have condemned this practice in the past although – because the decisions area generally minor – our view is that papers should be published in advance to allow written representations to be made by residents.

Examples of recent behind closed doors decisions include (click to view details):

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