Opposition Councillors at Cotswold District Council (CDC) have responded with anger after an independent review by the Local Government Association (LGA) into the culture and workings of the authority was cancelled at the last minute by the authority’s Conservative leadership.
The LGA carries out hundreds of reviews into Councils across the UK acting as a critical friend and offering support and advice on how the councils can improve.
Cotswold District Council’s review was due to begin this week and the Council’s Liberal Democrats have accused the Conservatives of ‘running scared’ of scrutiny after the Council’s temporary leader Cllr Nick Parsons shelved the review just a few days before it was due to begin. The reason given was that a permanent leader should be in place before the review began.
Leader of the Lib Dem opposition on CDC, Cllr Joe Harris commented: “I’m appalled that the leader of the Council has shelved this important review, there are real problems at CDC at the moment particularly around staff morale, the way opposition Councillors are treated and the crisis in the planning department. This review was an opportunity to pro-actively seek advice on how we can tackle the issues.
“We all know that there is a perception that there is a culture of secrecy at the Council and unfortunately this decision only adds to that, when I sought advice from the LGA and colleagues from other Councils they laughed at the excuse given for cancelling it.”
“If they’ve got nothing to hide then why shelve this review just a few months from an election, it’s clear that the Conservatives are running scared, if the Lib Dems win the District Council elections next year I will request a review is held without delay.”