In last night’s meeting of the Vale of Glamorgan Council, a motion to publish the attendance records of all councillors and put them on the Council website was carried by just one vote .
Like a previous motion on publishing council votes, the motion had come from Cllr Kevin Mahoney (Independent Sully) and Cllr Christopher Williams (Independent Dinas Powys).
Cllr Mahoney said his motion would require that “All councillors attendance records at full council and all other committees of which they are members be clearly displayed on their members’ page on the Vale of Glamorgan council website, and updated monthly.”
Cllr Mahoney told members that he always put his attendance records on the website every year adding “most other councillors have, themselves….not” . Very many other councils however did publish the attendance records of councillors . It was always accepted – he said – that councillors could not make every engagement.
For the second time last night Cllr Ian Johnson (Plaid Buttrills Barry) came to the support of Cllr Mahoney. He said it was “fairly normal ” for councils to display the attendance records of councillors . The details should be quite simple to find – and he thought that the information should be updated after every single meeting.
However Cllr Johnson said “attending a meeting , in itself, although you are able to participate and vote, does not mean you actually do anything”. Cllr Johnson said that every single meeting of the full council and its all committees should be broadcast to the public. Currently the committee minutes only indicated that “a member” had said something – but didn’t identify the speaker.
Cllr Johnson said that “democracy doesn’t come cheap” but the Vale of Glamorgan Council was responsible for spending £200,000,000 a year and electors and taxpayers “should be able to see what we do and judge us accordingly” . He had a message for councillors seeking re-election next year “if you are scared of being broadcast or having your attendance record scrutinised then perhaps you are in the wrong position and should consider where you are in May” .
Cllr Richard Bertin (Court Ward Barry) supported the need to make proceedings more open and transparent. The information should be put clearly on-line and not “concealed in minutes”.
The result of the vote – which was unrecorded and by show of hands – was 22 FOR and 21 AGAINST.