Obfuscation about realistic Children and Families Trust costings has merely put off the evil day about recognising that the Council is operationally bankrupt
Secret documents have included termination arrangements with officers and reports from external solicitors into scandalous failings in the service provided to children with special needs.
One option would be to impose a lower cap, or even a freeze, on council tax rises for councils who haven’t published at least draft accounts. After all, should they be asking for yet more cash from hard-pressed households when they won’t even say how they’re spending it?
At the very least, create separate processes for a swift, inquisitorial, ‘Black Box’ investigation to find facts and learn lessons, rather than assign blame or provide catharsis.
If a council is in trouble, then the more daylight on the matter the better – publishing accounts acts as that daylight. The first step to solving a problem is recognising it exists.
True transparency comes from making everything easily accessible and understandable. When I was elected, as a Romford councillor in May last year, I started publishing every payslip I receive.
If the response to information requests leaves you feeling like you are dealing with Professor Moriarty, you have a problem.
When enquiries and complaints are met with an obstructive response that is a sign that the administration is dysfunctional.
“Special measures” are ineffective unless the failing culture is challenged. Local accountability is lacking.
A lack of accountability allowed a black hole to be created in Transport for London’s budget. Planning decisions are made in secret.
Experienced paramedics are refusing deserved promotions because they don’t want to be part of existing management.
The relocation of a National Express bus depot for the Commonwealth Games athlete’s village will cost £15.5m – eight times more than budgeted.
There are glossy reports and poorly attended meetings. But obvious failings are ignored.
Greater transparency is crucial to restoring trust in politics, both locally and nationally.