Don’t ask us – confusion as Havering Council meeting shelved
The future of Havering Council’s Ask The Cabinet sessions have been thrown into confusion after last week’s meeting was cancelled.
About 10 members of the public – including one who had come all the way from Hertfordshire – turned up at the session on Wednesday only to be told it was not taking place.
The Q&A allows the public to grill cabinet members.
A council officer told residents – and the Recorder – that the meeting had not been scheduled.
However, page three of the summer edition of the council’s Living magazine stated that the meeting would be on August 15 and feature council leader Cllr Michael White and cabinet member Cllr Robert Benham.
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It said: “There is no need to register beforehand – just turn up to the Town Hall on the night.”
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The monthly session was introduced by the council following the removal of area committees to give the public a chance to ask the administration questions.
Frances Turan had come to the meeting by public transport from Hertfordshire – a five-hour round trip – to raise an issue about a family member who lives in Havering.
She asked for a private meeting with Cllr White but was told he was unavailable.
She said: “I came all the way down here and they won’t talk to me, it’s disgusting. It was bad for me, but what about all those other people who have shown up?”
The future of the meetings was thrown into doubt later by Cllr Benham whose name was down to ‘answer any questions’.
He tweeted resident Lorraine Moss, who had turned up for the meeting, later that evening, saying: “Ask the cabinet wasn’t advertised this month! New format is needed to encourage more and different people to attend.”
Cllr Benham later said that the council had tweeted that the meeting was cancelled but human error was responsible for the confusion. He added: “We are very sorry to anyone who came to the Town Hall to attend the meeting. We are looking to make some changes to the format of these meetings. The new format will be advertised as soon as it is finalised.”