Dr Richardson (letters 14th November) asked me to over-rule the decision of Horsham District Council’s Scrutiny and Overview Committee to have an element of the report from the Business Improvement Working Group considered privately.
I have no power as chairman to over-rule decisions made by a committee of the council.
In any event, it needs to be explained that there were two reports which came before the last scrutiny meeting on 11th November.
The first report was considered in full in public session. However the agenda also contained an exempt version of the report which the committee felt should be exempt because of references which directly or indirectly involve comments of members of staff.
Because these comments could have had a bearing on performance management issues relating to the individuals concerned, it would not have been appropriate to publish those details or debate them in public.
There was no conspiracy to deny the public the ability to hear first hand about the key issues in respect of planning but a perfectly proper decision made under the provisions of the Local Government Act.
Indeed, the decision of the committee allowed the issues to be discussed much more fully than would have otherwise been the case which far from being against the public interest is very much in the public interest.
(Con, Chanctonbury) chairman, Horsham District Council, North Street, Horsham