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Panel should meet in public

Letter to Herne Bay Gazette, 1st May 2014

Last Thursday, councillors gave their support to changing the way our district is run. Council overwhelmingly backed a motion calling for a committee system – which would mean an end to the executive-style of local government in the Canterbury.

This motion now goes to the council’s political management member panel for consideration. The panel is made up of councillors and key council officers. It usually meets in private, but on this occasion there are strong arguments to support it meeting in public.

As Professor Jan Pahl put it in her speech to the council:

“If we want a system which is more open and democratic, it is important that the process of getting it should also be open and democratic.”

I quite agree – as do many fellow councillors, who called for the panel to avoid meeting behind closed doors. In fact, one of the panel’s main responsibilities is to “enhance public involvement in decision making”. What better way to enhance involvement than holding the meeting in public?

Cllr James Flanagan (Lib Dem), Fitzroy Road, Whitstable

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