12 Sep 2012

Green success: Council to go public!


St Albans Council has voted to open all its meetings to the public by default. The meeting of the Full Council tonight (Weds 12th September) voted unanimously to support my proposal which aims to make the Council more democratic.

To watch my 3 minute speech click on video above.

Up to now, two out of every five Council meetings and working groups have been held in private, only making themselves public if the members chose to. I argued this situation should be reversed, with meetings being public unless there was a good reason for them not to be, such as confidentiality.

I also called for meetings to be much better publicised, with a clear invitation to residents to attend.

I wanted to open up our meetings to the public so that people can see, understand and scrutinise what we do, but also to show that we are open.

Conservative councillors initially expressed doubt about changing the rules on openness, saying that many meetings were already open to the public. But after forceful speeches from other parties in support of the proposal, it was carried unanimously

This is a very healthy move for our Council and for local democracy. I do hope more people will come along to see what their local council is doing, and join in with discussions where there is an opportunity. It will help to improve the quality of our debates and decision-making.

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