Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Funny goings on at County Hall

Earlier I reported how Cornwall Council’s Waste Panel supported a recommendation to the Cabinet that the high recycling approach to waste management, presented by the Cornwall Waste Forum at a meeting today, be independently assessed as a matter of urgency.

But the following email has just been sent around to members of the Panel.

Dear Councillor,

I write with regard to this morning’s meeting and the proposed recommendation to Cabinet made within Agenda No. 4 ‘Alternative Methods of Waste Disposal- Presentation’. Unfortunately, I must advise that this resolution of the Panel is not valid.

Following the meeting I sought advice regarding this issue and it transpires that a decision making body of the Council cannot take any decision as a result of a verbal report or presentation.

Ultimately, a Committee or Panel cannot take decisions without all of the appropriate information before them and having considered all options. A verbal report or presentation does not allow Members to make informed decisions having given regard to all of the relevant facts, nor does it provide an audit trail of why such a decision was made. In addition, in the absence of a written report, no account has been given to any legal or financial implications which may arise from such a recommendation and there has been no opportunity for either Members or the public to consider any implications in advance of the meeting – a requirement of the Access to Information Act.

While I appreciate that this news will be frustrating, it is of the utmost importance that the Authority takes its decisions within the law.

Please therefore note that I will be recording the views of the Panel within the Minutes … but that these will not be recorded as a formal resolution and will merely highlight the concerns raised along with the suggestions highlighted at the meeting.

I am presently seeking assurances that the Cabinet will nonetheless consider our proposal at its earliest opportunity.

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