Wirral Council’s Cabinet to decide on whether to have public meetings on Monday mornings from 2016
There are many decisions on the agenda of Thursday’s Cabinet meeting and many are about changing how Wirral Council does things to be more like how they’re done at Liverpool City Council.
I’m going to write about one proposed change that could be described that way and explain the problems it might cause.
Item 9 with the exceedingly dull title of Executive Arrangements and Pledge Champions (the latter doesn’t mean some councillors are pledging to stop drinking alcohol) proposes that from next year instead of Cabinet meeting in the evening, Cabinet meetings will be on Monday mornings at 10.00am.
From a public relations perspective I can see why they’d do this. For example each year for the past years I can remember, a rabble rousing trade union representative has turned up to a Cabinet meeting with a lot of supporters (I think one year so many it had to switch to the Civic Hall) which would be nigh impossible to do if your trade union members were at work on a Monday morning.
If Cabinet meetings had been on Monday mornings when a decision was made about Lyndale School, that would’ve meant the staff (including the headteacher) or the children affected couldn’t attend the meeting where politicians decided about their school.
On the plus side, public transport during the day means councillors would able to get to and from meetings without relying on taxis, but that’s not the point as strictly speaking public meetings are for the public not for the councillors.
Essentially having a Cabinet meeting on Monday mornings will rule out the public turning up or at least the ones with jobs. Of course some councillors have jobs too, but their employers have to give them paid time off work for this sort of thing.
Now the decision states that the Leader can decide to change the time of the meeting away from Monday morning. However if the agenda is published, the date and time of the meeting is set, then a topic on the agenda kicks up a fuss with large numbers of Wirral residents, how will it be possible to change the time of the meeting without confusing people as to when the meeting is?
Of course going back to public relations, a meeting on Monday evening would mean reports of Cabinet decisions could make the next edition of the Wirral Globe. I would be interested to hear people’s thoughts on changing Cabinet meetings to Monday mornings as there may be issues with this change that I haven’t thought of.
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