Democracy and Transparency at East Devon: further steps

“The new administration intends to address these fundamental issues around process at the Council.”

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The District Council has appointed a portfolio holder for democracy and transparency:

Our cabinet members and portfolio holders – East Devon

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The VGS news pages have reported on initiatives:

Democracy and Transparency at East Devon – Vision Group for Sidmouth

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And at last night’s Cabinet, questions were put on the issues:

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… The new administration came to power largely due to an exasperation with this attitude – whether over the lack of transparency in compiling the Local Plan, or the deliberate obfuscation over the Knowle relocation project, to name but two key examples.

It is clear that the new administration wants to change the culture embedded at the heart of the District Council – a culture created by many decades of reluctance to engage with the public, to be straight with stakeholders and to provide information where it is needed.

The new administration intends to address these fundamental issues around process at the Council – which I would hope will have a profound and positive effect on the quality of decision-making and delivery of services – which is actually what these changes are surely all about.

And now that the new administration has signalled its determination to move into clear bright waters with the appointment of a Portfolio holder for Democracy and Transparency, I would like to conclude by asking you what kind of measures you are looking to introduce to bring about greater transparency and democracy at the District Council.

Public Questions at EDDC Cabinet, 28 October 2020

Agenda for Cabinet on Wednesday, 28th October, 2020, 6.00 pm – East Devon

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It is understood that these ‘measures’ will be publicised over the coming weeks.

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Interestingly, two days earlier, a decision notice was reported on in the local press – involving a tussle between the Portfolio holder for Democracy and Transparency, back  when he was just an ordinary member of the Council, and the CEO:

Exmouth councillor ordered to apologise for ‘personal and derogatory’ emails | exmouth.nub.news

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There has been an extraordinary amount of comment over the last couple of days in support of the councillor, but very critical of the CEO:

Exmouth councillor ordered to apologise for ‘personal and derogatory’ emails | East Devon Watch

A Correspondent expresses surprise over Mark William’s “thin skin” | East Devon Watch

Another correspondent on: just how “thin skinned” is Mark Williams when dealing with members of the public? | East Devon Watch

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And, indeed, the Futures Forum blog provided its own comment back in 2014:

Futures Forum: Ex-Cllr Graham Brown, the East Devon Business Forum and the District Council’s CEO’s pre-emptive strike against the Business TAFF

Futures Forum: “Scrutiny committee set up to look at the East Devon Business Forum, which Mr Brown chaired, should now reconsider its scope.”

 

Politeness and respect are very important towards those you are working with but also towards those you are working on behalf of. It is something to look forward to, as the Council and the Officers work towards a better relationship, that the attitude to the public will become less confrontational.

   
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