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Conservatives on Wiltshire Council reject transparency for volunteer-run Leisure Centres

May 24, 2011 4:19 PM

In last week's meeting of the full Wiltshire Council, the Liberal Democrats attempt to improve transparency at the council was shot down by the Conservative Administration. The motion called for the Council's flagship programme of volunteer-run leisure centres to take place with full public scrutiny, and not behind closed doors as Wiltshire's Conservatives wanted.

The Tories accepted the bulk of the Lib Dem suggestions, but refused to commit to future meetings being fully held in the open and subject to Freedom of Information requests.

Commenting, Leader of The Lib Dem Group Jon Hubbard said: "We're disappointed by the Conservative Administration's lack of commitment to transparency and openness. Yet again the Conservatives are refusing to practice what they preach."

"Why do they feel it's necessary for these Shadow Community Boards to meet in private, with little or no notice, and why are they refusing to make any commitment on future openness and transparency in their campus programme?"

"To say that it's too early to make these commitments just doesn't hold water, they've already committed to the spending of millions of public money, without being willing to say how the expenditure will be governed." "I am shocked and disgusted that the Conservative administration has rejected this perfectly reasonable request that the Shadow Community Operations Boards should be held in public. People will reasonably ask what the council has to hide. What dodgy decisions are they intending to make behind closed doors? It's a disgrace they they want to keep these bodies secret, their decision making away from the public, hidden from scrutiny."

Lib Dem Spokesperson for Finance and Resources, Mark Packard, commented: "Whichever way this vote had gone, it's worrying that the Conservatives had already committed millions of pounds of public money to their pet project, without deciding how it would work."

Note to editors: The Full Council Meeting was held on Tuesday 17th May, at 10.30am. Papers are available online here https://cms.wiltshire.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=130&MId=5619&Ver=4 Agenda Item 15a-Shadow Community Operations Boards. (Page 157)