Consultation Or Just A Sop?

Can you have a consultation process if the decision has already been made? This is just the question that needs to be answered following an email sent to all Councillors ‘asking’ for their ‘views’.

The views sort were those on the future of four panels; those being Parking, Planning, Waste and the Newquay Airport Development Panel. As any follower of this blog will know one of these panels, the parking one, was terminated (though denied by the leadership) on the first of April and I only found out on the fourth by accident.

The words of that consultation go as follows:

“There is currently a review of Cabinet decision making taking place and a report will be considered by the Cabinet at its next meeting on 20 April. Part of its consideration relates to the future of the existing Cabinet Panels (Newquay Cornwall Airport Development Panel; Parking Policy Advisory Panel; Planning Policy Advisory Panel and Waste Development Advisory Panel).

It would be helpful to receive Member feedback on this issue in terms of the effectiveness of the existing arrangements or the potential to adopt alternative working practices such as informal working groups set up by and to support individual Cabinet Members and/or referring issues to the appropriate Overview and Scrutiny Committee prior to Cabinet consideration.

In view of the timescales involved please can you feedback any comments/views on this issue by Friday 15 April in order that the responses can be assimilated and circulated at the Cabinet meeting”.

So what is right, the email, or has no decision really been taken? Jude Roberson has covered this subject too, and from what I read is equally perplexed.

I will though ask for the details of the responses, as from what I have been copied into and told, there is great support for not only keeping the Parking Panel, but the three other panels as well. But, if there are many Members who say the panels should go, who am I to argue with that? Equally though, if there is support for them to be retained, then surely they should stay? That answer should be made on the 20th of April.

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