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Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority agrees 2.99% council tax rise and its Chair Cllr Dave Hanratty announces he will be stepping down in May 2018

                                          

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority (Budget Meeting) 22nd February 2018 Part 1 of 2

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority (Budget Meeting) 22nd February 2018 Part 2 of 2

Cllr Dave Hanratty (Chair, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority) 22nd February 2018

Cllr Dave Hanratty (Chair, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority) 22nd February 2018

The author of this piece declares an interest as I am married to a person liable for council tax in the Merseyside area. I also declare an interest as the future closure of Upton Fire Station will lengthen response times to the area I live in. The piece was possible because of a collaboration with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ).


At yesterday’s public meeting of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Authority, after approving a 2.99%* council tax rise for 2018-19, the Chair Councillor Dave Hanratty announced that he would not be seeking re-election as a Liverpool City Council councillor in May 2018.
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Posted by: John Brace | 21st February 2018

Will council tax rise by 5.98% for Wirral residents from 2018-19?

Will council tax rise by 5.98% for Wirral residents from 2018-19?

                                                         

Budget Cabinet (Wirral Council) 19th February 2018 Part 1 of 2

Budget Cabinet (Wirral Council) 19th February 2018 Part 2 of 2

Councillor Janette Williamson left Cabinet Member for Finance and Income Generation middle Cllr Stuart Whittingham right Cllr Matthew Patrick Cabinet Wirral Council 19th February 2018

Councillor Janette Williamson left Cabinet Member for Finance and Income Generation middle Cllr Stuart Whittingham right Cllr Matthew Patrick Cabinet Wirral Council 19th February 2018

The author of this piece declares a financial interest in that my wife is liable to pay council tax to Wirral Council for a residential property we both live in on the Wirral.

The piece was possible because of a collaboration with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ).

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the overall increase was 5.2%, when it is in fact 5.98%. This was corrected at 19:22 on the 21.2.18 by JB.


Wirral Council’s Cabinet on Monday morning (19th February 2018) agreed to recommend a 5.99% rise in the Wirral Council element of council tax for 2018-19. You can watch video clips of that public meeting above.
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Why is Registrar Worth asking this blog to unpublish Wirral Council’s Grounds of Appeal about keeping the Hoylake Golf Resort contract secret?

                                   

Hoylake Golf Resort contract cover page

Hoylake Golf Resort contract cover page

I declare an interest in this piece below as the person who made the original information request. I have completely obscured the names and partially obscured the email address of the solicitors for the other parties (ICO and Wirral Council) dealing with this matter.
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Wirral Council’s Cabinet expected to recommend 5.99% council tax rise for 2018-19

                                          

Cabinet (Wirral Council) 18th December 2017 L to R Cllr Bernie Mooney Cllr Angela Davies Cllr Chris Jones Cllr Phillip Brightmore

Cabinet (Wirral Council) 18th December 2017 Left to Right Cllr Bernie Mooney, Cllr Angela Davies, Cllr Chris Jones and Cllr Phillip Brightmore

The author’s wife has a liability for council tax for 2018-19 for a property on the Wirral, so I declare that as a financial interest in the below piece.

I would like to also thank the Bureau of Investigative Journalists (BIJ) for their help in the area of council budgets and this piece.
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Are Wirral Council councillors trying to restrict the filming of public meetings again?

                                 

(L to R Cllr Chris Meaden, Cllr Steve Foulkes, Cllr Moira McLaughlin and Cllr Ann McLachlan) 30th March 2017 Cllr Moira McLaughlin is Chair of the Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee

(L to R Cllr Chris Meaden, Cllr Steve Foulkes, Cllr Moira McLaughlin and Cllr Ann McLachlan) 30th March 2017 Cllr Moira McLaughlin is the Chair of the Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee

I’ll declare at the outset that I regularly film public meetings of Wirral Council.

Wirral Council’s Standards and Constitutional Oversight Committee next meets on the 27th February 2018 starting at 4.00 pm in Committee Room 3 at Wallasey Town Hall.

Item 5 on the agenda is a proposed revised “Protocol for the Filming of public meetings”. Although most of the changes relate to Wirral Council filming meetings public itself, there are changes proposed to policy that are in relation to others filming public meetings at Wirral Council.

The planned changes involve each time Wirral Council films the meeting that the Chair states at the start, “I would like to remind everyone present that this meeting will be broadcast live to the internet and will be capable of repeated viewing.”, as well as signs up inside and outside the meeting room for the public meeting stating,

WEBCASTING NOTICE

Please note: this meeting may be filmed for live or subsequent broadcast via the internet – at the start of the meeting the Civic Mayor / Chair will confirm if all or part of the meeting is being filmed. You should be aware that the Council is a Data Controller under the Data Protection Act. Data collected during this webcast will be retained in accordance with the Council’s published policy. Public seating areas will not be filmed by the council. Contact Officer: Civic and Committee Services Manager – 0151 6918559”

The changes proposed to be added to the public filming the meeting include, “A designated area shall be set aside for members of the press/public who wish to film or secure a sound recording of the Council’s public meetings. Any disruptive behaviour or distractions will result in the person(s) being asked to leave the meeting.

So does this mean I can’t clap, smile, frown, sneeze, cough, change batteries, zoom or pan as this may be deemed a “distraction” and I’ll be possibly asked to leave before I even had time to turn off the camera? And if I answer no thank you, would that be used as further evidence of a distraction and then I’d be forced to leave?

If one person filming a meeting is classed as distracting, then councillors and officers need to learn to concentrate better without getting distracted by distractions!

As if to prove my point, here is their sample text for agendas!

Audio/Visual Recording of meetings – sample text for Agenda Front Sheet

Everyone is welcome to record meetings of the Council and its Committees using whatever, non-disruptive, methods you think are suitable. If you have any questions about this please contact Democratic Services (members of the press please contact the Press Office). Please note that the Chair of the meeting has the discretion to halt any recording for a number of reasons including disruption caused by the filming or the nature of the business being conducted. Persons making recordings are requested not to put undue restrictions on the material produced so that it can be reused and edited by all local people and organisations on a non-commercial basis.“

Wirral Council hasn’t consulted with myself on the proposed changes to its filming policy. The Chair can stop Wirral Council filming if he or she wishes, but if the meeting is open to the public they have no legal powers to stop filming and would just rely on goodwill!

If you ’d like to express your views on this proposed policy before the Standards and Constitutional Committee meets on the 27th February 2018, email contact details for the 9 councillors who are on it are below.

Cllr Moira McLaughlin (Chair) moiramclaughlin@wirral.gov.uk
Cllr Paul Stuart (Vice-Chair) paulstuart@wirral.gov.uk
Cllr Ron Abbey ronabbey@wirral.gov.uk
Cllr Bill Davies billdavies@wirral.gov.uk
Cllr Brian Kenny briankenny@wirral.gov.uk
Cllr Chris Blakeley (Conservative spokesperson) chrisblakeley@wirral.gov.uk
Cllr Gerry Ellis gerryellis@wirral.gov.uk
Cllr John Hale johnhale@wirral.gov.uk
Cllr Phil Gilchrist (Liberal Democrat spokesperson) philgilchrist@wirral.gov.uk



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