Calderdale Liberal Democrats have been arguing over this past week that the People’s Commission report be released to the public before the Council meeting on the 9th February. Our argument is that people should have a right to let their Councillors know what they think of the report before that meeting, so the Council debate can be informed by public opinion.
We have also argued that as the People’s Commission is a report to a public meeting it is covered by access to information rules contained within the 1985 local government act. This law stipulates that non-confidential reports must be made available to the public before the meeting. We think there was a strong legal argument in addition to the morale argument as to why it should be published.
Today we have been informed that a copy of the report has been leaked to the press. We are not aware who leaked the report to the press, and ours was a point of principle that it should have been made freely available. In light of the press obtaining a copy a decision has now finally been made that the report will be released to the public. It’s a shame this has only arisen due to the report having been leaked, the Council should have published the report it’self on principle.
Regardless this is a victory for openness and transparency over the wishes of Conservative and Labour members of the Commission who sought to try and keep this report confidential and hidden from the public until after Councillors had debated it. We are now re-publishing the report on our website so it is freely available for everyone.