CBC *shhh* Cabinet

There are two CBC Cabinet meetings coming up in November. We’d love to blog about them and open up some more details as to what is on the agendas.

But we can’t.

They are both private meetings of a public body. Residents aren’t allowed to attend.

This is all above board.

Sort of.

A page buried away deep on the CBC website explains:

“Colchester Borough Council is required to give 28 clear days notice of its intention to hold a meeting of an executive decision making body in private. Notice is given that it intends to hold the following Cabinet meeting or part of that meeting in private: 26 and 27 November.”

Of course this is nothing unique to Colchester. Local authorities around the country carry out these meetings in private, citing ‘commercial sensitivities’ whenever they want to keep the public out.

If we are alarmed about the closed nature of these meetings that are at least acknowledged to be taking pace, then major alarm bells should start ringing about the *shhh* unofficial CBC Cabinet meetings that take place.

The Chronic never tires of telling the tale of how we once accidentally walked in on one of these ahead of the CBC Cabinet proper.

All the usual faces were sitting around a table in a small meeting room at the Town Hall. We can’t tell you what was being discussed as we were rather abruptly asked to leave.

The *real* decisions at CBC are made during these non-existent meetings. It all makes for the charade of Cabinet itself something of a show for any residents who can be arsed to turn up.

At least it gives the opposition some match practise in playing at being real politicians.

But it’s all part of the pantomime of a political system where a small number of careerist politicians get to make decisions with little genuine scrutiny.

For the record, the closed door Cabinet meeting on 26 November will discuss:

“Cabinet– item on Vineyard Gate – Approval of Development Agreement and Key Financial Terms.”

A day later and the same behind closed doors Cabinet will consider:

“Revolving Investment Fund Committee – items on: Business Case for Sheepen Road; Finalising Terms of Reference; Criteria for adding properties to the Revolving Investment Fund; Capital Receipts and Spend Programme.”

You’d probably be hard-pushed to find any residents who would actually want to attend these meetings. Vineyard Gate pricked up our ears; the Revolving Investment Fund had us reaching for the remote control.

But next time when you hear of the outcome of a political decision that has come out of the Town Hall, ask yourself:

Who made this decision, under what powers and was it in private?