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Wrexham’s Executive Board change method of answering some questions to avoid in-meeting inaccuracies

We thought we were in groundhog day at the Guildhall, until a clarification was made that an ongoing pattern to question responses was infact a new way of working.

During this morning’s meeting there were, as normal, a series of questions posed by councillors on the Executive Board reports, which resulted in a ‘the information will be provided after the meeting’ responses from Lead Members.

Normally in Executive Board meetings a report is presented by the relevant Lead Member and Officers, with councillors then having the opportunity to ask questions.

Often such answers create further question opportunities, or allow Lead Members to show off their knowledge of their portfolio, or give more detail and colour to the answers. On occasion there are responses promised after the meeting, either to all councillors or to whoever asked the question, but usually there is a mix of replies.

However today’s meeting saw a series of ‘we do not have the information to hand, we will send you the information after the meeting’ style answers – noticeable enough for us to note it.

Speaking after presenting his report on the Communities First Legacy Fund and after the string of responses, Council Leader Mark Pritchard said: “The reason why we’re answering this way now is because in the future… we’ve said things that might be correct or might be a digit out or there might be some wording wrong.

“If there is any information that none of us know here or not quite sure about, we will refer back to officers who can send them all the information after the meeting, so there’s no reason for anyone to think we’ve said something incorrect or untrue.”

No details on what caused the change in process between this meeting and January was provided and whether or not this will carry through to the various scrutiny and full council meetings, or if any responses to public questions will be made public via other means.

Looking back we did spot this exchange on PCSO’s at the last Executive Board over consultation survey responses regarding PCSO’s. A clip from that meeting was placed online by Cllr Carrie Harper, and viewed thousands of times, prompting a warning of enforcement if it was not removed, and under the new way of working such an exchange is less likely to take place in an arena where the public can view it.

 

Top pic: Executive Board in action earlier from the webcast. You can watch the Executive Board meeting on this link for a few months until it is removed from public view.

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