Friday, 28 November 2008

Local Government Secrecy Part 4

Denied Again! My latest attempt has again been denied in my quest to discover exactly what was in the report by some highly expensive consultants retained by Hartlepool Council and presented to Cabinet on 14th November.

The Chief Solicitor does not accept my interpretation of the legal position and has set aside it being considered as “exempt” (paragraph 2 of Schedule 12A of the LGA, as amended) and also decided he is not convinced that paragraph 32 of Part 4 of the Council’s Constitution (Additional rights of access for Members) has any application to the present case.

The key point now appears to be that no business was "transacted" by cabinet since the decision on this item was in fact deferred until 8th December, 2008. In the opinion of the Chief Solicitor disclosure could have the potential for undermining a proper consideration and determination of particular sensitive information. The author of this report has issued it on a severely restricted circulation, effectively limited to Members of the Executive and to those officers fulfilling statutory responsibilities.

My own legal adviser has some different views and opinions but she is not available to go through it in detail until next week. The battle however is not yet over and she has already given me some points to work on which will keep this one moving along.

It's not over till the fat lady sings.

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