Plans to cut council meetings “affront to democracy”

21 February 2017

Opposition councillors in Cardiff say plans to cut the length and number of council meetings are “outrageous” and an “affront to democracy”.

The plans include reducing the number of full council meetings every year from nine to eight, and introducing a 9pm limit on meetings.

Any matters which haven’t been finalised before the 9pm limit would be put to the vote without a debate.

The proposals follow an internal report which recommended ways to shorten full council meetings, after some went on until nearly midnight.

Elizabeth Clark, leader of the council’s Liberal Democrat group, says the plans will make it harder to hold the council to account: “These proposals are absolutely outrageous.

“They’re an affront to democracy in our city and will limit the ability of local politicians to represent the residents in their area.

“We do not want decisions being made behind closed doors where the ruling classes just get to rule without any kind of challenge or scrutiny.”

Other measures recommended in the report include plans to cut the number of questions councillors can ask cabinet members from three per political group to two. Independent members would get one question and the rest would be allocated proportionally.

The number of supplementary questions councillors can ask would also be limited, to just one per councillor.

A Cardiff Council spokesperson says: “These proposals were developed after a survey of all councillors on how council meetings are run and in consultation with the Council’s Constitution Committee, which is a politically proportionate committee with the opposition groups represented on it.

“While not all groups were in agreement on everything, the Constitution Committee did request the report. No changes will be made without the agreement of Full Council. The Constitution Committee will consider the report and make a recommendation to the new council after the elections.”

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