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These questions start at 10:24 in the video above.
Council (Wirral Council) 14th October 2013 Questions to the Cabinet Member for the Governance and Improvement (Cllr Ann McLachlan)
Cllr Lesley Rennie asked, “I’ll put a question really regarding the freedom of information item on your report because it’s rather unfortunate really that the Administration does appear to try to deflect the Council’s well documented inability to deal with the number of Freedom of Information requests that we’ve actually received from a number of people by in some way trying to imply that in some way that it’s members of the public’s own fault that they ask far too many questions really. Would the Cabinet Member agree with me that if in fact local people were able to trust the Council and that in fact the Council was more honest, more open, more trustworthy and transparent then members of the public would not need quite clearly to avail themselves of going down the route of Freedom of Information requests and also I hope that she would also agree with me that some of the information that indeed Members have to ask for should be freely available to Members of the Council to the elected Members to carry out their elected Member duties?”
Cllr Chris Blakeley asked, “The Cabinet Member will be aware that on the 16th July the Chief Executive sent an email out to the councillors. ‘It has come to my attention that a number of freedom of information requests have been made by elected Members for information relating to Council FOI and corporate FOI procedures. Members of course have a right to make FOI requests but I felt it was … in my view that… that I’d be very happy to… I’ve always more than happy to provide a written response personally to any information request.’
In the end Cllr McLachlan, on the 22nd August when I made a request of the Chief Executive for information, I was told that request was unreasonable and therefore had to submit a freedom of information request to which I received an answer in the prescribed time. Perhaps the Cabinet Member could persuade her officers to be more open and transparent and then maybe there won’t be as many freedom of information requests?”
Cllr Bill Davies asked, “My question for the Cabinet Member for Improvement and Governance would be regarding section one of your report on the Improvement Plan, is it too soon for the Improvement Board to consider leaving?”
Cllr Jean Stapleton asked, “Ann, regarding section three of your report on information governance, can you advise if elected Members will be affected by this please?”
Cllr Ian Lewis asked, “Cllr McLachlan, under item two under performance management you make reference to Member development training. On a previous question to a previous Council meeting, I asked you if Members had been appointed as assistant Cabinet Members and you replied in the minutes of the last meeting you said that the Labour Group had appointed assistant Cabinet portfolio holders, they were not within the constitution but the appointments had been made by the Labour Group to assist their Members in training. You say they’re not within the constitution, but on page 239 of the constitution, item F it states that assistant portfolio holders are within the constitution. Can I therefore ask you again to publish the names either in written form after the meeting or now of those assistant Cabinet Members please?”
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