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Redbridge Council will hold private meetings away from the public

PUBLISHED: 07:00 18 July 2019

The constitution will be discussed.  Picture: Ken Mears

The constitution will be discussed. Picture: Ken Mears

Archant

Redbridge Council is set to review its constitution, but the meetings to do so will be held away from public scrutiny.

In a 90-second meeting last night, the authority established a working group made up of current cabinet members and only one member of the opposition which will discuss any changes that could be made.

Earlier this year, Redbridge Council changed its processes for planning committee meetings, limiting the length of the meetings and limiting the number of planning applications that could be brought before the committee for discussion.

Other, more minor planning applications are now decided by council officers behind closed doors and away from public scrutiny - something that brought vocal criticism from opposition councillors at the time.

Now the working group has been established, the opposition councillor on the panel has said he will go into the meetings "in good faith".

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Cllr Michael Duffell, of South Woodford ward and the Conservative group whip, said: "I was told by officers in no uncertain terms that there is no agenda, I'm happy to work with the administration to bring the constitution into the 21st century.

"I think it is really good that we're looking at this, it is a good exercise that we should be doing.

"I'll go into this with good faith and I am willing to work with the administration in any way, shape or form to bring the constitution up to date."

The councillor explained anything that the private working group decides will then have to go to a general purposes meeting, which will be held in public.

He added that in terms of things he would like to get added into the constitution, he would like to see recordings or webcasts of meetings made mandatory.

A spokesman for Redbridge Council said: "Constitutional reviews occur periodically to ensure the council processes are current and focused on outcomes that deliver for residents.

"Once the Constitutional Review Working Group is established, they will agree a work programme of the areas to review. From there, the work programme will be updated regularly."

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