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Cabinet To Take Its Message To The People

Coventry’s cabinet is to take to the streets to get to parts of the city that the council doesn’t normally reach.

It is to hold its meeting in public at a variety of locations to try and promote involvement in he decision-making process.

The inaugural cabinet meeting in May was held in St Mary’s Guildhall and attracted more than 100 people.

And the cabinet – the group of ten councillors who make all the decisions – have pledged to make an effort to carry on talking to and listening to the public.

Yesterday it was decided to hold two of the weekly cabinet meetings each year in public, at different locations around the city. As well as the usual business there will be a section where the public can question the councillors about issues that concern them.

Cllr Phil Townshend, cabinet member (Service Co-ordination), said:

“People may not agree with what we do and may even vote against us, but if we engage them in the democratic process then it’s important.

“If the people won’t come to us then we’ve got to go to the people.”

Officers warned that holding the council meetings outside the council house could cost up to £400 per meeting, once travel costs, catering and hire charges were taken into account.

But Cllr Townshend said he was not going to be held back, and believed the council should make an effort to show that it could something this simple without running up a huge bill.

He said:

“I don’t mind there being a few mileage claims or bus fares for officers, but I don’t think it should cost too much.”

He added that there would probably be no shortage of venues, and said that he knew the headteacher of President Kennedy school had already offered the use of facilities so pupils could see democracy in action.

Cllr Townshend called for suggestions about other suitable venues that met fire safety and disabled access requirements, and added:

“I would like us to go to other parts of the city that we don’t normally get to.”

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CWN / Politics / Coventry City Council / 6 Sep 00

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This page modified on 10 November 2008 09:49:15AM