School meal charges in South Gloucestershire were discussed today – in secret, with doors closed. Any new fees will apply for the school year 2017-2018.
Liberal Democrat Resources spokesman Cllr Mike Drew said: “We ought to be able to discuss the principles in public, our residents ought to be aware of this debate. I’m opposed to going into exempt session unless we need to.”
Cllr Claire Young (Westerleigh) added: “It’s going to be obvious what each school is going to be charging pupils. Parents are going to talk! Yet everything we discussed, and how any vote went is officially secret. This is absurd.
“It’s a basic principle of democracy that decisions should be taken in public, wherever possible. Officers warned us away from specific commercial information – but we could have had the discussion on principles, at least. This report title covered fees for school meals, school music lessons, and community meals. These directly affect our children, and our vulnerable residents. I can’t believe that every Tory, and every Labour member of the committee decided that the whole thing had to be hidden away, behind a closed door.”
The vote to go exempt was carried 7-2, with both Liberal Democrats voting against.
Report was Item 16 at https://council.southglos.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=414&MId=7753