Peace breaks out in legal row

Caistor Town Council

Caistor Town Council has unexpectedly offered a reassurance to the Citizen over future access to supporting documents at its meetings.

In a letter to the Citizen received yesterday (Friday, February 12, 2016), the town council said copies of supporting documents will be supplied on request before the meeting, if given 24 hours’ notice.

The letter offers clarity for future meetings, following a dispute about whether the press and public had a right to see a document being discussed by councillors at the January meeting.

“In the interests of openness and transparency, Caistor Town Council may wish to consider providing details of all reports and documents supplied to members, to all members of the public and press in attendance at meetings,” the letter added. “In any event, this information would be available from the clerk on request prior to the meeting, subject to reasonable notice, ie. 24 hours.”

Many town councils routinely hand out agenda and supporting documents to attendees.

Legislation cited by Caistor Town Council provides for agenda and documents to be given to news organisations – though there is no mention of a requirement for advance notice, only that they are supplied “on request”. A fee can be charged to cover the costs of transmission. At the January meeting, agenda was given to the press and public, but no supporting documents.

Also included with the letter were some details of financial information that the Citizen had recently requested. The figures show that in the next financial year, the council will receive a support grant of £5,113.35 from West Lindsey District Council.

Shona Wall

Editor of Caistor Citizen Shona Wall is an NCTJ trained journalist and has worked for many local and national newspapers

One thought on “Peace breaks out in legal row”

  1. Not before time. If the Town Council wish to be open and transparent then I can see no reason why papers cannot be posted on the Council’s Website along with the agenda and minutes of meetings. It should not be necessary to request a copy unless you do not have internet access; all that does is increase the workload for the Town Clerk.

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