Council must be held accountable

I FEEL I have to respond to Coun Barrie Crowther (News Post Leader, letters, May 26).

He blames the public for the proceedings and conduct at the recent AGM and highlights that it never occurred at Blyth Valley and Northumberland County councils.

Surely it’s the role of the chairman to control the proceedings.

Coun Crowther compares Cramlington Town Council with other councils who have a better governance structure.

One issue was the notice given for the AGM and blaming ‘the opposition’. At other councils there is a minimum two weeks’ notice given to councillors for agenda items for an AGM.

The opposition were simply trying to ensure there is good governance.

One sentence is perhaps indicative: “Does anyone really think the situation would have changed?”

Surely that is the whole point of the AGM – things might have changed.

These meetings are to ensure accountability so elected people serve and represent their constituents, otherwise what is the point of the AGM, or any other council meeting?

Coun Crowther bemoans the lack of decision making by the council over the last two years.

First year you can forgive – it’s a new council after all. But the second year? It’s your job to make decisions, and the chairman’s job to make sure it is done.

Coun Crowther talks about the duty of the council. It is the over-riding duty of the council to represent and serve the electorate, and being accountable.

However, it is implied we should not interfere in the business of the council and the only time they should be held to account is during elections.

This demonstrates a dismissing of genuine concerns and anxiety expressed by the public.

No wonder politicians are held in low regard.

To conclude, I believe all councils must be accountable at all times for every one of their decisions.

Other councils have executives but also have transparent Standing Orders and policies which limit what their executives can do, and even then the executive decisions are always subjected to scrutiny by the opposition.

Cramlington Town Council does not make these policies available – check out their website. And I have not seen any scrutiny committee.



Cramlington West Labour Party