Not much time for blogging at the moment. Evenings are being spent visiting the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, and eating out with Mrs D afterwards. But I'd like to run a bit further with the local Powys Council theme that caused a bit of a stir earlier in the week.
I've been really surprised by some of the reaction to my posts. It seems that I should not have posted on the resignation of the Chief Executive - before the Council had itself announced it. This despite someone from County Hall surreptitiously communicating the information to the media before I posted on it. That was OK, I suppose. It seems that I should not have reported on the discussions that have been taking place about replacing the Chair of the Executive Board - despite my knowing it to be a fact. I thought it in the public interest to know that the Chair (Leader) can, in theory be 'elected' by no more than 20% of the Councillors (at present its around 40%). Electors don't know these things. So what's wrong with telling them. Its good for democracy.
I'm not at all sure that all councillors in Powys have grasped the new world where control of information has passed from the grasp of the Council's establishment. It started a few years back when someone leaked that several peripatetic teachers had not been CRB checked. Hell of a scandal. The Council had tried to keep the information secret. Thousands of pounds were spent on a outside consultant trying to find the 'whistle blower'. Because there was a suspicion that I might have been involved, I suddenly found Council staff telephoning me with inside stories. Since the fuss about my posts earlier this week, I have already received two calls asking me to 'leak' stories on this blog - which brings with it responsibility about I should publish.
One issue that I decided not to blog on was a call from Edna Mopbucket that she'd found evidence that approval of the Council's small business grants were to be moved from the 'shire' committees to the responsible Board Member. This would be seen as a 'centralising' move and would cause an unholy row if it were true. But I cannot make this story stand up, so I decided not to run with it. The other issue that has been leaked to me is a very important story concerning Council investments, which will eventually be very much in the public interest. But I do not believe that final decisions have yet been taken. So I have decided to keep it to myself - for now..
Final point I'll make is that there would be no leaks at all if there is an entirely open and transparent approach by the Council to all of its work. Information that becomes public via leaks always seems more significant and interesting than if it is volunteered. Anyway, my snout Edna Mopbucket has decided to spend a lot more time in Powys County Hall over the next few weeks. So keep the leaks coming is my message.