Thursday, April 16, 2009

Openness and Transparency - or lack of.

Edna's Mopbucket, a good friend of mine who does a bit of itinerant cleaning has been on the phone. She's been browsing through the minutes of the last meeting of the Management Board of Powys County Council. After reading the first page, she flew into a panic. Her first words were "They're going to come for me. Please make sure my kids are looked after." Told her to calm down and said I'd look into it. Must admit that it does sound a bit sinister though. "Members expressed concern that matters which had been discussed in confidential session at the last meeting had been reported on a political blog. The Chair advised that he had raised this with the Acting Chief Executive who was considering how to address it " I wonder what plans the Acting CEO is going to come up with to investigate and punish her. Whatever, it makes no difference because they'll never find her. She's off to the Bolivian jungle for a holiday of indeterminate length.

Edna was comparing herself with Damian Green, who was cleared of any wrongdoing by the Crown Prosecution service today. She kept going on about "Damian and I " being targeted for highlighting information that was already in circulation outside of 'the secret circle' of those who were supposed to be in the know, and which was in the public interest anyway. Told her not to worry. The only reason that a 'Police State' mentality ever takes hold is when people are taking notice of what you say.

While she was on Edna told me a really funny story (not funny for taxpayers though) about costs incurred by Powys Council when buying new refuse collection vehicles. It seems that a while back, the Council decided to by several second hand vehicles, because they were such low mileage that they looked a bargain. But turned out that they had been used in the middle of London, and while the mileage was low, the hydraulic mechanisms were completely done for and had to be replaced. Yes you've guessed it. The cost of the refurbished second hand vehicles was much higher than the brand new price. I just said that there was no way this could be true. No-one would be that daft. Told her I wasn't going to do anything for the media about this because I didn't know the full facts or whether the information was 'confidential'. Don't want the Crown Prosecution Service coming after me.

During our little chat, Edna told me that in some Councils, there is an entirely different approach to what is kept from the public. She does a bit of work for Maidenhead and Windsor Council, which is where our No 2 son, Patrick and Verity live. It seems that every payment over £500 is made available to the public. I was amazed by this, but its true. The Council was elected on a platform of total transparency, and the councillors have delivered. I'm a bit worried that after she slinks back from Che Guevara land, Edna might move to live in Maidenhead full-time. She's a deeply principled woman, and just loves honesty and transparency in her politicians.


Stonemason. said...

And don't we all.....

..... love honesty and transparency in politicians.

Anonymous said...

I would like to start a new group in Wales Glyn..what are you views on -

FoES = Friends of Edna Society

We owe a great deal to this good lady and her fellow cleaners who are able to let us - the british public know what the " great and the good" get up to!

Edna am byth!

DC fan of Ms. Edna M. said...

Is there any truth in the rumour that Enda M is hoping to replicate a Boston Tea Party on the River Severn near Newtown?

To highlight silly over-spends on reconditioning second hand refuse trucks which ended up costing the local tax payers more than the cost of buying the vehicles new.

Glyn Davies said...

Stonemason - Yes we do. Its not so easy to ensure honesty but we can demand transparency. The latter leads to more of the former.

Anon - Ednas of this world usually get fired!

DC fan - Edna would never break the law, however stupid it is. She has a strong moral base.

B Griffiths said...

This is off subject but Glyn what you think of Brown's 'sorry' (through gritted teeth) timing? Just when the Damien Green affair was to come public news once again, A Campbell and P Mendelson advised Gordon the Clown that it was the best time to say 'sorry', of cousre, desgined to divert attention for Jacqui Smith pathetic handling of the whole affair. Typical opportunist spin by NuLabour, it disgusts me.