House of Cards 3 June, 2011Posted by Jeremy Rowe in News.
Tags: Conservatives, Cornwall Council, Finances, Openness and Transparency
Yesterday afternoon the Corporate Resource Overview and Scrutiny Committee (or ‘Oversight and Scrutiny’ as the BBC’s Graham Smith aptly Freudian-slipped it) met to discuss the recent credit/debit/corporate procurement/spending card row.
My colleague Alex Folkes had submitted a list of questions on the affair a few days ahead to give the Council time to find the answers and some of those were forthcoming at the meeting (others will take a little more time, but I think we all understood the work the Council’s Communications team have had to put in on this matter).
There were a couple of attempts from loyal administration members to deflect attention away from the Cabinet Members who are supposed to oversee these things and onto the Council’s staff (indeed, one has dusted off his blog today to engage in a Stalinist re-writing of recent history on the matter). The tactic was a simple one – feign outrage at non-existent personal attacks on staff, thereby implying that the Council’s leadership is somehow removed from responsibility for the whole affair.
Nevertheless, in spite of the Tory-led administration’s rage at what they see as inaccurate reporting by the press, confidence in the Council will now need rebuilding in this area. It is also worth pointing out that the Daily Telegraph did, after all, only use the information given to them by the Council.
People I have spoken to in ‘the real world’ have been understandably very angry about this affair and the Leader and the relevant Cabinet Member will have to do a great deal to impress upon them that, while there are sensible explanations for many of the items, the feeding of incorrect information to the media happened on their watch and is their responsibility. I ask again, who is supposed to be in control?