Whatever century East Cambs District Council is in, it certainly isn’t the 21st.
It’s now over nine months since the council gave up streaming its full council meetings – the last broadcast council meeting was in May last year, and the only video recently produced by the council was a promotional taxpayer-funded puff-piece.
Meanwhile, shortly after midnight last night I emailed the council to enquire why the papers for this afternoon’s committee meeting weren’t online. I didn’t receive a response, so logged on half an hour or so ago to find that they’d been uploaded to the council website since my email. Less than 12 hours’ notice of the business to be transacted isn’t very impressive.
On querying this, the response I received was that “As for legal notification, the agenda was published to the legal deadline with hard copies distributed to all Members of the Committee plus public copies were made available at that time. Unfortunately, as you have requested not to receive hard copies you did not get a copy.”
(I’m not a member of the committee, just a substitute, so I’m not sure that the council is helping itself with this line of argument. Shouldn’t all councillors be able to see what the council’s committees are doing?).
The council continues to encourage councillors and the public to dump the paper and go digital. I’m one of less than a handful of councillors at East Cambs who have tried to do my bit in this respect (I suspect you could count us on the thumb of one hand) – but it appears from the council’s response that it’s paper that counts, and online publication is just paper’s eighth cousin four times removed.
So I’ve advised the council that I’m ditching my request to go paperless, and it’s back to paper copies of everything for me. I need to warn the postman.