South Gloucestershire’s Conservative Cabinet members have given confusing information about past decisions, and when put on the spot seem uncertain about the number of individual decisions ahead, according to the district’s Labour Group.
At the Council meeting held this week, Labour asked Cabinet members to quantify the number of ‘in portfolio’ formal decisions they had made outside of public Cabinet meetings, and how many they were scheduled to take to the end of this year. Labour says that the answers received back were confused or inaccurate.
The figures given for past decisions included those made jointly by a number of Cabinet members – but each individual recorded them in their personal total, leading to considerable double counting.
And the figures given for future decisions appear to include some not due until 2019 when checked against the published Forward Plan.
Labour Group Leader Councillor Pat Rooney comments:
“When the Tories forced us back to the centralised Cabinet system last year they claimed that it would make the decision makers more transparent. Of course this has not happened.
When asked simple questions this week, our Cabinet members appeared confused about their own decisions, providing double counted data and an inflated figure for the coming few months. This is the opposite of transparency.
When put on the spot some Cabinet members claimed that the number of forthcoming decisions was ‘fluid’, but this is nonsense: there is a formal schedule and it is clear that Cabinet members simply do not know what is looming on their desk.
Under the circumstances it might be better to abolish ‘in portfolio’ decisions altogether and take everything to Cabinet meetings where at least the public can monitor what is on the agenda.”