When we send emails to the local council, asking for things to be discussed in a meeting and you ask that it be distributed when the email is addressed to ALL MEMBERS, would you expect the following things happen?
- You get no acknowledgement you ever sent the email in the first instance despite asking for it.
- Your request to distribute is just simply ignored without any notification.
- Your email is edited and added to the agenda with no information for councillors or the general public, as to what the question is all about.
- You only find out that your correspondence has been edited when you receive the meeting agenda.
- You are told that they do not distribute public question correspondences to councillors and they don’t supply email contacts for all councillors on their website.
This raises some very serious concerns. Firstly, how on earth can a chamber of councillors take account of a question put to them when they have not seen the correspondence. Secondly, If anyone sends an email to a councillor via the town hall, how do we know they will see it at all. Someone in the town hall is acting to keep information from councillors.
Someone at Spennymoor Town Council is making the decision that information is to be withheld from the general public and councillors.
Officers advise the Council. They work for the council. They are paid by the council. They do as all employees do. They do as is reasonably requested. It is the responsibility of the Committee Chair what goes on the agenda. Below is the full email correspondence.
“For the attention of : The Town Mayor, Chair of Policy and Resources Committee, Interim Town Clerk and all members.
It has been said many times that Spennymoor Town Council supports local businesses. After conversations and with very much appreciation of detailed explanations from Mr Dixon, the consultant accountant, I would ask councillors to consider my question and suggestion.
I am sure councillors will agree that when making purchases for this council, consideration should be made, where possible, to support local businesses and the local economy. In the financial year 2015/2016, the sum of £800,696 was spent with suppliers to this council. Of that only £46,165.74 was supplied by companies in the Town Council area. That councillors, is only 6.02% of the spending. I am sure councillors would agree with me and local business owners that this is far below what, in a world of social, economic and environmental consciousness, is unacceptable and that this needs to be addressed. I believe local businesses offer the highest standards of service, workmanship and reliability. Local businesses are in my opinion and experience also highly competitive in the market place and able to offer this council considerable benefits.
My suggestion to councillors, given my understanding of the council policies, that in light of the recent closure of The County Durham Registered Traders Scheme which ended on 31 May 2016, and taking into account that the interim town clerk of this council under standing orders has the permission to spend up to £60,000 without bringing that spending to council, that a framework be put in place to use local suppliers that carry the national recognised trust mark or other relevant trade appropriate quality assurances where necessary.
My question to council is: Would this council consider putting in place a framework for purchasing from local businesses, consider an annual microeconomic analysis of the councils spending, publish such findings in the public domain, take steps to increase spending with local businesses to support the local economy and use annual analysis as a performance indicator of this council?
And this is what they let the general public and Councillors see.
I am total believer in open, honest and accountable local government. The constant hiding of information from the public is one thing but, I had confirmed by member councillors of both Labour and Independents that until I wrote personally to every single councillor at STC, the ones I spoke to, had no knowledge of the full correspondence.
Whilst the present ruling elite in the Labour Group have ultimate control, the integrity of Spennymoor Town Council is under question. Trust has gone. Honesty does not exist. We must remove these people from their positions of power at the next election and reform the town hall to work for the people of Spennymoor.