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Council accused of going ‘part time’ after cabinet meetings slashed

18 Sep 2023 3 minute read
Caerphilly Council Office

Emily Price

A council has been accused of going ‘part time’ after the number of cabinet meetings were slashed by half.

A Plaid Cymru councillor for Caerphilly has slammed the decision by the Labour controlled council which will see the number of meeting reduce from fortnightly to monthly.

Cllr Lindsay Whittle says even under the previous number of meetings councillors were already “rushed off our feet”.

He said he was informed of the change via an email from council chief executive Christine Harrhy and that no mention of the cabinet meeting changes had been made despite a number of meetings with her.

Under fire

The local authority has recently come under fire for continuing to allow staff to work from home post pandemic – a policy the council says reduces its carbon footprint whilst allowing employees to have a better work-life balance.

Cllr Whittle said: “I am staggered as a former leader for nine years who led a great team that dedicated their lives to every single day of the week to cabinet duties.

“We met every fortnight and were rushed off our feet many a time – probing officers’ work, scrutinising decisions at all levels, meeting staff regularly and bringing forward so many reports.

“The current Labour administration tells us we are in a crisis and there is no money available while people are working from home with many complaints from constituents about not getting replies to correspondence.

“There have been cuts to services, higher council tax and yet the cabinet thinks it is fine to meet just 12 times a year for between £35,640 and almost £60,000 each a year in allowances. They are on a good number. Labour is now turning Caerphilly into a part-time local authority.

“The next round of local elections cannot come quickly enough for my party, other parties and the most important the general public. Is this value for money? I think not.”

Fellow Plaid Cymru councillor Greg Ead added: “So we now have a part-time, work from home council led by senior councillors who do not feel that it is necessary to meet more than 12 times a year to run the council.

“Whatever happened to civic responsibility and scrutiny of Senior Officers? Or has the Leader and his Cabinet chums given up any pretence of leading this authority?”

“Outdated”

Cllr Sean Morgan, Leader of Caerphilly Council said: “Cllr Whittle and his Plaid Cymru group are clearly stuck in the past, with their outdated and archaic views on local government.

“While they only seem to measure success by the number of meetings they attend, I measure success by improving services and providing value for money to our residents. We are modernising, transforming and improving our services and the way we do business.

“This is reflected in the way that the Cabinet, by doing a ‘deep dive’ into service areas, has already identified somewhere in the region of £14million of efficiencies.”

He went on to say: “I will not take time management criticism from someone who deemed it reasonable to be both a Councillor and a Senedd Member at the same time, probably not giving either role the attention that one would expect.”


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Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
6 months ago

So nice to hear that there is at east one person who loves to sit in long meetings. Could somebody tell us the rest of the story here? How is the business that would have been discussed fornightly going to be handled? I am sure there is a lot more going on than just stopping meetings.

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