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To ask the Scottish Government whether it considers that the establishment of a local authority committee that (a) met in private and excluded the public at all times, (b) took no minutes, (c) refused councillors who are not members of the committee access to its papers, (d) refused councillors who are not members of the committee to attend and (e) gave no indication of the means by which its recommendations would be published or issued for final decision by the local authority would be consistent with best practice in local authorities in the development of budgets and financial plans.

Answered by Marco Biagi (05/06/2015): The Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 provides the legal framework within which councils have to operate, and it makes provision for the arrangements for formal committees or sub-committees of a council. This includes arrangements for admission to meetings and access to agendas and connected reports, including minutes.

A council may establish other groups to take forward matters as it chooses, however where a working group, or similar, is set up, it cannot exercise the council’s statutory functions and decisions on those would have to be taken by the council itself, or by a committee to which the access arrangements of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973) apply. It is up to a council to ensure that its arrangements comply with relevant statutory requirements and meet the requirements of best value, which include the principles of accountability and transparency.

Current Status: Answered by Marco Biagi on 05/06/2015
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