‘Secret meetings’ over ‘super councils’ set to be scrapped

The media had asked to report on the meetings, but requests were denied

The media asked to be allowed to report on the meetings, but was denied.

However, documents discussed at the meetings were leaked to the Local Democracy Reporting Service after each of the two meetings.

A complaint about the decision to hold the meetings in private has been made to the Local Government Ombudsman and a review is ongoing.

After two meetings, Labour withdrew its attendance, saying it was not constructive, and the meetings should have been held in public.

Now the Conservative-run Nottinghamshire County Council has said it intends to scrap the meetings altogether.

County_Hall_Nottingham
PICTURED: County Hall

The meetings were discussing plans to abolish seven district and borough councils, and the county council itself.

These would then be replaced with one or two ‘super councils’ to cover all of Nottinghamshire apart from the city.

Supporters, including the Conservative group at the county council, said it could save between £20 and £30 million a year and streamline and simplify council services.

They also said cuts could have to be made to front-line services if the plan does not go ahead due to the financial pressure the council is under.

But critics, including the Labour group and several of the district councils, said the plan would erode local decision making and any savings it did make would not materialise for several years.

The first phase of a public consultation has now come to an end, with 2,948 questionnaires completed.

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The council is due to vote on whether to scrap the meetings on Wednesday, November 14. It is expected to go through.

The council declined to comment on the issue ahead of next week’s Policy Committee meeting.

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