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Wiltshire councillors ‘banned from seeing confidential agendas’

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Wiltshire Independent Councillor Terry Chivers is challenging a decision by Wiltshire Council to ban councillors from receiving confidential agendas, unless they are on the committee that the agendas are issued for.

The rule has come to light after Councillor Chivers, who is a member of the Councils Standards Committee, was refused the papers to the Council’s Standards Working Party, The reason was given that the papers were confidential and they wouldn’t be issued to him as he wasn’t a member of the working party.

Cllr Chivers said, “I have spoken to the Group Leader of the Independent Group on the Council, Ernie Clark, who is far from happy with the ruling. He tells me this was a decision of a recent Group Leaders meeting.

“For Councillors to do their jobs, they have to keep a very close eye on all agendas in case there is something on the agenda that affects their own wards.

“This is a disgraceful, and outrageous rule, and a kick in the teeth for democracy in Wiltshire and it must be challenged. You can’t help but to wonder what the ruling group are trying to hide.”

Trowbridge Independent Councillor Jeff Osborn said, “In all my years in local Government I have never yet been refused any information. And within reason, Councillors should have access to all information. After all it’s our job to do so. As a member of an opposition group it’s our job to keep a close eye on the decisions made by the ruling group and challenge them if we think they are wrong.”