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21.9.09 Cllrs Unrest

CNJ Letter 17 Sept 2009

AT Monday’s council meeting, elected representatives of Camden were asked by council officers to note that a decision by them was being excluded from usual democratic processes of scrutiny.

By that time I had already formally written to council officials asking to see the details of the decision, but had been refused permission.

So at Monday’s meeting I questioned the absurdity of councillors being asked to note a decision, the details of which they were not allowed to know.

In response, the elected representatives were told that they were merely being asked to note that a piece of business was being removed from democratic accountability. It was explained this was a way of affording councillors, the ability to keep tabs on council officers.

Should it interest you, the piece of business related to the council’s decision to settle a legal dispute with a litigant.

I wonder how many of Camden’s residents realise that their elected representatives are regularly refused access to information held by the council, in their name?

Ironically, the leader of the council is a Liberal Democrat, whose national party claims that they want to open up government to the people of Britain by allowing freedom of information. Another example of the Lib Dems saying one thing, but doing another.

Cllr Keith Sedgwick
Conservative, Gospel Oak ward