The Labour-run Penarth Town Council – which last summer decided to whittle down membership of its influential committees to just a handful of selected councillors – is now to open them up to ALL members of the council.
The council has been criticised – even by its own members – for excluding the majority of elected councillors from the key committees.
The Labour council’s committee policy ended up with the unprecedented situation of even the Mayor of Penarth – Cllr Ken Lloyd – a highly experienced councillor with many years of public service behind him, being kept out of every single one of the committees. [ Labour councillors also stayed away from the Mayor’s charity fundraising coffee-morning] .Cllr Lloyd is a Conservative councillor for Cornerswell Ward.
Last year’s decision to cut-down committee membership lso meant that many newly-elected councillors (both Labour and Conservative) found themselves excluded from council committees.
Meanwhile, when the cut-down committees DID actually meet, there was often a scramble to ensure that meetings were quorate [ i.e. that there were sufficient councillors present to permit the meeting to legally proceed].
There has also been criticism of the council for its tendency to form secret ad-hoc groups and working parties on which selected non-councillors are invited to sit – but which aren’t open to the press or public and are not open to public scrutiny.
The council’s so called Democratic Services Committee has also now decided that what it calls “appropriate stakeholders” will be “offered opportunities to engage with the Town Council’s Vision for the future of the town” .
The committee has yet to indicate whether it will allow anyone who is critical of the town council – and its “Vision” – to participate in the decision-making.