Secret affairs


Dear Sir

On September 13 a secret committee of Rother District Council (RDC) met to discuss civil parking enforcement (CPE) in Bexhill and outlying districts such as Rye.

This elite unit of crack RDC Councillors is called the Civil Parking and Enforcement Task and Finish Group and in its infinite wisdom it decided to vote 5-3 against allowing the public to attend their future deliberations. Apparently, the CPE issue is so sensitive, grubby members of the public must be shut out of meetings and we will have to rely on whatever minutes the Committee chooses to make public to find out bits of what might have been discussed.

The issue of CPE affects all of us, but Councillors Oliver and Field were joined by just one other councillor to vote for open doors and full public scrutiny. 

Once again RDC has shown its inbuilt and massive democratic deficiency. Those five councillors who believe that Council Tax payers should be kept out of public affairs should hang their heads in shame. 

This secrecy is the sort of nonsense one might expect of South American juntas or cult religions. It is not acceptable in the UK.

Photo: John Minter

Image Credits: John Minter .

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  1. Was any reason given for the exclusion of the public? Rye News should report both sides of the argument, even if this is the Opinion slot.
    Why not name the councillors involved? Then people can decide whether to vote for them next time, if they are local.

  2. I’m possibly being dim but I can’t find any such minutes on the Rother DC website… No committee with a similar name seems to be listed nor does any meeting at all appear on the calendar for September 13th…

  3. Thanks to the link from Andy Stuart I found the minutes (well buried under the ‘Overview and Scrutiny Committee’ section – who knew?). Minutes say virtually nothing of substance – referring to absent appendices and, for example, saying someone ‘proceeded to outline the business case for Civil Parking Enforcement’ but giving no clue as to the actual substance of that case. Interesting to see that the decision to exclude the public was ‘to enable full and frank debate whilst the group was formulating its views’. On which basis I’m surprised all council meetings aren’t in camera. It doesn’t say what advice was received in this regard from the ‘Democratic Services Manager’ who was apparently in attendance…

  4. Thanks Andy. Why councillors feel that they cannot have a ‘free and frank’ discussion with the public watching is beyond me. To volunteer to be a councillor means that you are happy to be in the public eye, surely.


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