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0 votes
Godmanchester Town Council changed the names of all their committees (apart from Personnel) to Porfolios several years ago. No info on dates of meetings or minutes are on their web site. Councillors are appointed and not voted onto membership. No public access. All meet in secret but still make recommendations on policies. in the same way as committees.

One Portfolio has been responsible for making recommendations on the uses of C. £1.5M of the CIL transferred to the town from our District Council who have advised me that it is entirely up,to the town council how this is spent.

I have been subjected to two vexatious complaints for asking questions about the CIL uses.

Has anyone else heard of a council behaving in this un-democratic way?
by (120 points)

4 Answers

0 votes
What is a porfolios? I know of PC's that use working parties and task and finish groups specifically to avoid the requirements of a committee ( same as a PC meeting with openness to public and recording and notice of agendas of meetings and minutes.
by (26.5k points)
Maybe they are trying to run a 'cabinet' system like a district council. Many years ago our PC tried that until I made a fuss and it stopped.
0 votes
My PC was upset because they didn’t like the public knowing what a working party was discussing so they claimed that they didn’t take minutes!
Do the portfolio groups make decisions or do they make recommendations?

Do they have terms of reference?

Are their recommendations available for the public to see ?
by (11.5k points)
0 votes
I too am making the assumption that the term "portfolio" actually refers to working groups or task and finish groups which are not uncommon.  The main difference between a working group and a committee is one of transparency as working group meetings don't have to be held in public and nor are they required to publish agendas or minutes.  However, they cannot make decisions on behalf of the council but can make recommendations.  They can be useful in undertaking background work, for example, on a proposal but in my experience can go off topic a bit unless there are clear terms of reference.  The important point is that they can never make decisions or commit expenditure and must report back to the body that set them up (whether a committee or full council) with their findings/recommendations which is where the public scrutiny can take place.
by (18.5k points)
Completely agree, in my experience decisions are often made based on inadequate information often based on the Clerks personal opinion with little or no chance for Councillors to properly consider the matter
On my particular Council legal advice was withheld from Councillors on the grounds that it was confidential even though it did not relate to an individual
They’ve now fallen flat on their faces after committing time and money to a project which has collapsed because of inadequate scrutiny
0 votes
Who made the vexatious complaints?  If they were from Cllrs I would complain about them to the District Council monitoring officer.  Who "appointed" Cllrs to these "portfolios"?  The appointments constitute decisions which are resolutions that should be minuted.  Otherwise the appointments are unlawful.
by (34.9k points)

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