Sunday, November 13, 2011

Shame on you Carmarthenshire

With reference to my last post I think that Carmarthenshire have had their chance to explain their position vis'a'vis excluding members of the public from their meetings. If the Chris Burns "assistant Chief Executive" and the Colin Davies "Democratic Services Manager" think that "rules is rules" is an adequate response then their grasp of reality is, at best, tenuous! Only following orders is never a reasonable defence.

I have written to all the AMs for this area and to our MP; still waiting to hear more than a postcard from Simon Hart but Angela Burns has written to me twice. The second letter enclosing a copy of the letter she got from Mark James although there seems to be neither a signature or even a typed name, funnily enough it is exactly the same letter as the acting head of the legal department sent to the Carmarthen Journal a couple of weeks ago, the only difference was that she signed her name!

I always thought that the councillors had to make the decisions about what went on in the council especially when it comes to excluding legitimate scrutiny of the council. I would like to know which Local Government Act gives officers the right to exclude me regardless of their undertaking about not filming, I have been reading through LGA1972 and all the subsequent acts until my head spins.

I sent a complaint to Carl Sargeant AM, Minister for Local Government and Communities on Sept 14th and received the reply below:

"Dick Bain dick@towy71.*******
5th October 2011
Dear Mr Bain
Public Access to Council Meetings
Thank you for your e-mail of 16th September to Carl Sargeant AM, Minister for Local Government and Communities. I am replying on his behalf.
Local authorities are obliged to allow the public entry to council meetings, unless the issues being discussed are considered to be exempt (in the main, confidential or commercial matters).
The process that a local authority follows to allow the public access to meetings is a matter for them, as they have to take into account the need for security in modern society.
I understand, however, that Carmarthenshire Council are due to vote shortly on public broadcasting of council meetings.
Yours sincerely *** *******
Scrutiny, Democracy & Participation Team"
It has got to the point were I feel there is nowhere to go; so I have now lodged an appeal to the Local Government Ombudsman.