LETTER: Report available on council website

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An article in last week’s County Times, ‘Lack of publicity for councillor allowance review is criticised’, reports concerns that councillors voted for an increase in their allowance at a full council meeting (on Wednesday 9 September) before the motion was publicised.

I feel it would be helpful to readers to clarify the position.

The report of the Independent Remuneration Panel (IRP), with its recommendations, was published in full with the council agenda on 1 September and was therefore available on the council’s website from that date at www.horsham.gov.uk.

There is a current requirement to publish a Notice in a newspaper ‘as soon as practicable’ after receipt of the report and further publish a second Notice setting out the level of allowances.

As I said at the council meeting, the term ‘as soon as practicable’ has been considered in case law and is understood by lawyers to mean a time limit of flexibility for the party needing to fulfil that obligation.

As the report was published in full on the council website soon after the council itself received the report then the intention was to save money by publishing both Notices together after the council meeting.

We have to bear in mind this legislation is quite old and when passed didn’t envisage that information tends to be published on websites these days.

It is not therefore true that there was a lack of publicity. Nevertheless the required Notices are published together in this week’s edition.

PAUL CUMMINS

Head of Legal and Democratic Services, Horsham District Council, Chart Way, Horsham

Editor’s note: the Public Notice appears on page 79.

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