Democracy 'undermined' at Cornwall Council says Helston and Porthleven councillor (From Falmouth Packet)
Democracy 'undermined' at Cornwall Council says Helston and Porthleven councillor
7:00am Monday 17th September 2012 in News
Councillor Andy Wallis (Helston South and Porthleven) was the man behind last week’s motion to pause privatisation plans being pushed through at New County Hall. Here he explains why the fall out from the debate has undermined democracy in Cornwall.
I am not sure people realize the scale of the ‘’privatization’ being planned by the cabinet at Cornwall Council . The council’s core services are being prepared to be run by a private company. These include council tax, benefits, libraries, call centre’s, One Stop Shops, payroll, procurement and IT.
Of course it is all being spun as a ‘partnership’ and ‘joint venture’, but in truth all these services will be run by a private company. There will be a board made up of five directors; three from the private company, one from the health sector and one from Cornwall Council. Worse, the council’s one position will not have an elected member, but will be filled by the CEO of Cornwall Council. So no democratic oversight.
Councillors were very concerned with the plan, and I submitted a motion to full council with support from Labour, Independents, Mebyon Kernow and the Lib Dems. A three hour debate took place, and the motion was supported by the majority.
Sadly, the cabinet released a statement the following morning that it was going to press on with the proposals and ignore the democratic will of the wider council. The arrogance of totally ignoring the majority of councilor’s feeling on the strategic partnership plans is staggering.
This is highlighted by the fact of the 29 who voted against the motion not to support the strategic partnership, only 18 of those were backbenchers, the rest, 11, were members of the cabinet. So in truth, the margin of support to the motion is far greater if you exclude the Cabinet members’ vote, which were already in favour of the proposals to privatise.
With so many services and more importantly, procurement money being handed over to a private company you would think the cabinet would respect the council’s view.
After all, the council had the same information as the Cabinet had despite the ‘claims’ of new information which was never released. I have asked for this information, but a week later nothing has been forthcoming.