We don't have much say in what goes on in Barnet, but by congregating on the grass (not on the flower beds, please) in front of Hendon Town Hall, as the councillors hotfoot it into the building for their meetings, we can show that we are watching, and care about the decisions they make.
Next Wednesday 11 August is the next meeting of the council's FUTURE SHAPE OVERVIEW & SCRUTINY PANEL. The meeting starts at 7pm, there will be a lobby from 6pm. The public can attend the meeting, but we are likely to be kicked out when the real meat and potatoes business is discussed. According to the relevant page on the council website, these are the items we mustn't be around to hear about:
X1 - Development and Public Health ServicesThe motion to exempt press and public will be on the grounds that these matters, in the case of X1, include
X2 - Adult Social Services
Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).and
Information relating to any consultations or negotiations, or contemplated consultations or negotiations, in connection with any labour relations matter arising between the authority or a Minster of the Crown and employees of, or office holders under, the authority.And in the case of X2 just
Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).These categories for exemption strike me as pretty broad! Never mind that one of Future Shape's three overarching aims is "A new relationship with citizens". The novelty clearly doesn't extend to letting us in on the secrets of what they have planned for our council services. After all, as Barnet's Tory administration reminds us pretty often, we aren't interested in such things as who delivers council services.
Even when we patently are.
The papers for the meeting - those that we are allowed to see - are available here. See you on the barricades, sorry, on the lawn in front of Hendon Town Hall.
As an aside, it will be interesting to see whether Kate Salinger is allowed to attend as one of the Tories' members of the panel - she was appointed by them to this post when it was set up.