I am furious that the old ways live on in Shropshire Council – information is power and it lies in the grasp of the council leader

I am disappointed in Malcolm Pate, the new leader of Shropshire Council. When he replaced Keith Barrow, he promised greater openness and a more democratic council.

Today, he has reverted to 100% Barrow mode. He is striding on with the old fashioned and often dictatorial ways of working that defined Barrow’s regime.

At this very moment, a press conference is taking place in Shirehall. Malcolm Pate and his colleagues are briefing the press on next year’s budget. This is one of the most critical budgets since Shropshire Council was established as a unitary authority in 2009.

Some people in Shropshire Council know what is in this document right now. But they belong to a select list of officers, cabinet members and the favoured few. Shropshire’s elected councillors as a whole have been refused permission to see the papers until 2.45pm. That is exactly the same time as the media are allowed to see the papers.

I am furious that councillors are not allowed to see these papers before the press. It is the sort of disrespect that Keith Barrow showed to elected councillors day by day. All about manipulating the message not explaining the reality.

This is a bad start for Malcolm Pate. He should have circulated this paper to councillors on a confidential basis the moment it was competed. This secretive way of working has to end if we are going to work together as a council in very tough times.

11 thoughts on “I am furious that the old ways live on in Shropshire Council – information is power and it lies in the grasp of the council leader

  1. Dear Andy ,
    As far as I know all councillors were sent the strategy . I briefed all opposition leaders yesterday on the budget. You are trying to make political capital of what is a very serious financial problem for the county.
    Kind Regards
    Malcolm Pate

    1. Thanks Malcolm

      The email from the chief executive at 12:02 today said we could download the strategy at 14:45 the same time as the press briefing. At 14:45 when I pressed the publish button on this post, I still could not access the documents.

      Councillors were not sent the document by email which would have been democratic and courteous.

      I am not making political capital, other than saying this looks like business as usual. I had hoped for better. Councillors can’t help you if they don’t know what is going on.

      Best wishes
      Andy

  2. Mr Pate please provide evidence of your post on THIS page please.Right or wrong the electorate have lost both trust/faith in the council and hoped that a post Barrow council would be greatly improved.A NON POLITICAL POST.

  3. As a Shropshire resident I wish all councillors would stop bickering and act like grownups in this difficult time of budget cuts. Mr Pate you say you briefed “opposition” leaders, that is a political statement in itself. It shouldn’t be them and us, you all need to act as one on our behalf and the good of Shropshire, but then I am just a mere resident who has to live with your decisions .

  4. Usual Tory tactics, running things on the fly with a “god given ” mandate…with no transparency to threaten them in any way even though it affects us all in oh so many ways

  5. Mr Pate, having used this page to make a political point you seem to have gone too shy to reply to my question.Is this in accord with your press presentation on your appointment?Or do we have YET another Barrowboy?

  6. I am a little dismayed Andy that you expected any sort of change as a result of Keith Barrow resigning from the Leadership of the Council – the gang who are still massively in control voted again, again and again for the measures brought in by Barrow. Without wanting to be self-promoting, I wrote on this very subject in an article in the Ludlow Advertiser. I have sent a copy of this article to every county councillor; my experience of council meetings is that the members of the leading party sit in serried rows like a collection of nodding donkeys. No we shouldn’t have expected change with advent of Mr. Pate, particularly as he was the chairperson who ruled to confiscate mobile phones and cameras from a group of Ludlow protesters who attended the Council meeting to protest at the lack of democracy!

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