Weston Focus

News for Weston-super-Mare Central Ward from local councillors Mike Bell and Robert Payne : serving you on North Somerset Council and Weston-super-Mare Town Council Learn more

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Council needs to listen to residents more and open up

by mikebell on 9 May, 2018

Campaigning Central Ward Councillor Mike Bell has urged North Somerset Council to do more to listen to local people, make it easier for residents to have a say on decisions and open-up decision making.

Speaking at a North Somerset Council meeting this week, Mike challenged the Conservative Council Leader to make council debates and decisions more accessible and to engage residents more in the work of the authority.

Mike said: “North Somerset Council is way behind other authorities when it comes to consultation and engagement. The council does not broadcast meetings online so that more residents can watch debates and decisions. Most unitary authorities, including Bristol, Bath and Wiltshire, already do.

“The council restricts public speaking time at meetings and all too often does not even respond to questions asked by members of the public. Formal consultations in advance of big decisions are rare and poorly advertised and usually require residents to use online forms which are not accessible to all.

“Increasingly, the council makes decisions in confidential session, excluding the press and public. This is just not good enough. The council is here to represent the people and should be open about decisions so that we can be held to account.”

The council leader agreed to ask a scrutiny panel to look at the issues raised by Councillor Bell to see if improvements could be introduced.

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