Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Undertanding how local government works. A lesson in making secret decisions

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Let me introduce you to the Association of West Yorkshire Authorities (can link to their website but it was down just now):

The AWYA is an association of the five West Yorkshire metropolitan local authorities – Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield. It was established in 1993 to provide a forum for the discussion and co-ordination of matters of mutual concern and interest.

The AWYA acts as the local government voice of West Yorkshire, promoting and lobbying for its interests and identity. It provides a means for the five Councils to reach joint views on proposed legislation and other matters of concern to West Yorkshire, and to express these views to organisations such as the Yorkshire and Humber Assembly (YHA), Local Government Yorkshire and the Humber (LGYH), central government and other appropriate bodies.

The AWYA also works to secure greater accountability and effective working relationships with bodies which impact upon the sub-region, such as the Government Office for Yorkshire and the Humber (GOYH), Yorkshire Forward, Yorkshire and Humber Assembly (YHA), the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), and the Strategic Health Authority (SHA).

This is a decision-making body, funded from the public purse. Just minutes ago I got an e-mail from a colleague saying this:

I have contacted the association they do not publish minutes or agendas

So I rang them and was told that the AWYA:

Does not meet in public so doesn't publish its agendas and minutes.
If we ask for them we can be sent them but they can't publish these papers because there is a "resourcing issue". However, when pressed, they told me that they have never published agendas or minutes.

So this organisation - chaired by Bradford's Labour leader - can make decisions, for example about £850 million of possible transport spending, in secret and without the decision being published.

Transparency?
 
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3 comments:

Henry Crun said...

This morning on Sky News a Libyan man was saying how he wants Libya to be like Britain.

I thought: That's the last thing the Libyans need.

Phil said...

I guess putting them on a freely-hosted blog is out of the question...

SadButMadLad said...

I bet the web site is down because they can't organise a web manager. To busy talking about spending other peoples money than spending their own.