Rochford District Council – How are decisions made?

June 1, 2007 by  

CEO Paul Warren has said  “I’m not convinced the public are that interested in the processes of the Council – what they’re interested in is outcomes!!” 

There was no surprise when every seat on the powerful Executive Board was reserved for a Conservative.

I attended a “training session” run by Paul Warren (CEO of RDC) who advised Members how this was going to work and what non Executive Board Members could not do.

Non Excecutive Board Members could attend but could only speak if pre-sanctioned by the Chair of the Executive Board.  But he added that that he had already advised the Chair not to do this because once you have let one speak then it will be impossible to stop the others.

The Executive Board is like a company board meeting.  There is no debate.  Debate will be before the meeting behind closed doors in political group meetings.  And remember no other Members can speak.

Many of the decisions of the Executive Board will not be subject to sanction by Full Council.  If you want to know which ones, I was told curtly to look in the Constitution.

Paul Warren almost gleafully advised that such decisions wouldn’t even be on the Full Council Agenda for noting (so no opportunity to ask questions).  The Executive Board Chair would just report on what the Board had done.

So with Full Council Meetings only being ceremonial what is the point I asked.  Full Council will be the main debating forum for Members he said. Debate on what I said.  The Full Council Meetings will no doubt be over by 7.45 on an Agenda which had nothing on it.   

Paul was however in for a bad surprise.  The Independent Standards Board Committee Member asked if all Members were aware of the way it would work.  I said that I had not known this before tonight and indeed had an email from an RDC Officer which was contradictory.

“The Executive Board meetings are open to the public and you are welcome to attend. They are held in Committee Room 4 at the Civic Suite and as a Visiting Member you would be able to sit at the Committee table and the practice is that the Chairman of the Executive Board will call both Members of the Board and Visiting Members to speak in turn during the debate. The only thing that you will not be able to do is vote at the Executive Board meetings.

Agenda item No 2 on the Executive Board Agenda is for Non Members attendance at the meeting to be recorded.”

Paul wanted to know who it was.  I would not tell him because lack of training of council employees is his fault not the fault of the employee who clearly had not been advised either.




One Response to “Rochford District Council – How are decisions made?”
  1. Mike Nobes says:

    This statement is for Mr Warren. Your comment regarding the public not wanting to know about how your decisions are made says it all. This comment shows you have no idea what the public want. Yes, we are interested in outcomes, however there are many of us who are also interested in how you reach decisions. This is even more important now that it has come to light how you run meetings and how the top jobs are distributed. I read somewhere that local councils are now not about the residents of this district but more about playing party politics. The more I read and talk to other people the more I believe this to be true. There are many grassroot councillors who want to represent their residents to the best of their ability. Please let them get on with the job and stop indoctrinating them to toe the part line.

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