Council 'inability'

First published in Letters

Sir, We have both written separately before concerning the inability of Didcot Town Council to hold the leadership to account since the change in their rules last year.

Having both sat through the meeting on Monday, June 25, we agreed that things are, if anything, getting worse.

The Conservatives seem to agree that these meetings are now a waste of time as only four out of their nine councillors managed to attend, even though there are now only six meetings a year.

The root of the problem is that so many decisions are now delegated to committees and so there is nothing left for the council to decide.

At the May meeting, the leader of the council even tried to suggest that it was out of order for the council to discuss anything which had already been decided in committee; in which case, why report it to the council at all?

This all begs the question, what is the point of individual councillors in this system, especially those ‘independents’ who are not entitled to places on committees or those out of favour with their political grouping who are not selected to serve?

The one member of the council who is not a member of a political grouping tries to raise issues but is often subject to what would, in a normal workplace, be described as bullying.

At the June meeting one member told him that the debate was over and so he could not respond to her comments (surely a decision for the mayor as chairman of the meeting) and another used ‘Questions to the leader’ to criticise him for raising issues not relevant to the council. The matter concerned was the pay of council employees which you would think was highly relevant.

Why does this matter? It matters because the town council, according to its latest annual return, raised nearly £800,000 in tax; it spent over £2m and has fixed assets worth nearly £5.5m. These are not small sums and need to be properly policed and it is time that the council returned to monthly meetings discussing real issues.

David Rouane East Street Didcot Glyn Hall Barleyfields Didcot

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