Let’s be more open
11:24am Thursday 14th March 2013 in Letters
THERE have been many letters and articles in the Barry & District News recently relating to the proposals to close three schools.
Communities, schools, parents and children have been shocked and upset and understandably so: key individuals should consider their position.
But there is also a wider and more fundamental problem and that is about the need for secrecy in dealing with matters that will have a major impact in our community. I use the word secrecy in preference to the jargon ‘Part 2’ because it more accurately informs.
Confidentiality on some matters is necessary but I wonder on what grounds the decision to make this matter hush-hush was based?
Openness should be the default position, with officials having to fully explain any secrecy, and councillors challenging that reasoning.
The new Labour-led council should have realised the highly emotive issue to close schools needed to be managed intelligently and sensitively, and there are better ways of doing that apart from a behind closed doors approach. To expect so many people to have kept the secret was naïve, and the emphasis on blaming the source of the leak was perhaps bordering on paranoia.
Labour’s election manifesto promised to, ‘Give the public a bigger say on the things that really matter to them and listen to their views’ and the early cabinet agendas showed some signs of improved openness and transparency.
This may have been a better approach to keeping the issue away from the public glare. Finally, the concept of consulting the people after taking the decision lacks credibility.
Dennis Harkus FocusBARRY supporter