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> Purdah
Andy Capp
post Apr 30 2015, 07:42 AM
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QUOTE (user23 @ Apr 30 2015, 07:55 AM) *
Sorry Simon, I can't be bothered to read all that political waffle.

My advice would be, if a member of the public has exposed a uturn on your policy, come clean about it.

Exposing political chicanery is not a u-turn; you're argument is false if not stupid.

Can I legitimately assume that as a professed 'member of the public', you maintain that your posts are free from political bias or that you have no stakeholding on the matter?
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MontyPython
post Apr 30 2015, 09:30 AM
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QUOTE (user23 @ Apr 30 2015, 07:55 AM) *
Sorry Simon, I can't be bothered to read all that political waffle.

My advice would be, if a member of the public has exposed a uturn on your policy, come clean about it.


Our councils web-master obviously has realised he has lost the argument and wishes to deflect as usual.

Lets hope the independents don't get in and get them to start serving the public rather than their own little club!
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user23
post Apr 30 2015, 04:38 PM
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QUOTE (Andy Capp @ Apr 30 2015, 08:42 AM) *
Exposing political chicanery is not a u-turn; you're argument is false if not stupid. Can I legitimately assume that as a professed 'member of the public', you maintain that your posts are free from political bias or that you have no stakeholding on the matter?
If you think highlighting a political u-turn is stupid then we best end this conversation.
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Cognosco
post Apr 30 2015, 04:44 PM
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QUOTE (user23 @ Apr 30 2015, 07:55 AM) *
Sorry Simon, I can't be bothered to read all that political waffle.

My advice would be, if a member of the public has exposed a uturn on your policy, come clean about it.


Yes lets not bother with the crux of the argument.

Just keeping plugging to deflect eh? Typical Council doctrine to the fore? rolleyes.gif


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Simon Kirby
post Apr 30 2015, 05:23 PM
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QUOTE (user23 @ Apr 30 2015, 05:38 PM) *
If you think highlighting a political u-turn is stupid then we best end this conversation.

This isn't about the sense of the grant, it's about the timing of the announcement. Purdah exists to prevent the incumbent party taking advantage of the apparatus of government to gain a political advantage. But you know that.


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user23
post Apr 30 2015, 06:28 PM
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QUOTE (Simon Kirby @ Apr 30 2015, 06:23 PM) *
This isn't about the sense of the grant, it's about the timing of the announcement. Purdah exists to prevent the incumbent party taking advantage of the apparatus of government to gain a political advantage. But you know that.
Do you think this shouldn't have been minuted at the meeting and the council should have avoided questions from the press?

"No change there then" some joker will say, but you can't be serious if you think this should have been covered up, especially after fighting to get another council to release a report.

I'm really not sure what you're getting upset about, this looks like it was released to the media in March.
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Simon Kirby
post Apr 30 2015, 06:55 PM
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QUOTE (user23 @ Apr 30 2015, 07:28 PM) *
Do you think this shouldn't have been minuted at the meeting and the council should have avoided questions from the press?

"No change there then" some joker will say, but you can't be serious if you think this should have been covered up, especially after fighting to get another council to release a report.

I'm really not sure what you're getting upset about, this looks like it was released to the media in March.

Rather then me quote it, why not visit this link to understand more about how purdah operates.

No, I don't expect anything to be covered up, but I do expect our local councils to respect purdah, and in the present case they could simply have delayed the agenda item until after the election.

A useful extract from the good practice code here:
QUOTE
Care during periods of heightened sensitivity
33. Local authorities should pay particular regard to the legislation governing publicity during the period of heightened sensitivity before elections and referendums – see paragraphs 7 to 9 of this code. It may be necessary to suspend the hosting of material produced by third parties, or to close public forums during this period to avoid breaching any legal restrictions.
34. During the period between the notice of an election and the election itself, local authorities should not publish any publicity on controversial issues or report views or proposals in such a way that identifies them with any individual members or groups of members. Publicity relating to individuals involved directly in the election should not be published by local authorities during this period unless expressly authorised by or under statute. It is permissible for local authorities to publish factual information which identifies the names, wards and parties of candidates at elections.
35. In general, local authorities should not issue any publicity which seeks to influence voters. However this general principle is subject to any statutory provision which authorises expenditure being incurred on the publication of material designed to influence the public as to whether to support or oppose a question put at a referendum. It is acceptable to publish material relating to the subject matter of a referendum, for example to correct any factual inaccuracies which have appeared in publicity produced by third parties, so long as this is even-handed and objective and does not support or oppose any of the options which are the subject of the vote.


Contrast that with NTC's press release and I think you'll see how JSH's partisan and stilted defence of his party's administration in the guise of a council press release is problematic:

QUOTE
Councillor Julian Swift Hook, Leader of Newbury Town Council, said, “The Council had sought to keep the documents confidential to avoid jeopardising its hardfought legal case, but we are of course doing what is now required of us, and we are doing it without delay.
“What is clear from the reports is that they support our claim that the substantial dewatering of the Parkway site, which started in September 2009, is the most likely explanation for the damage caused to Victoria Park during 2010.”
“It is not the fault of the Town Council or the town’s residents that the Park was so badly damaged, and we are fighting very hard to make sure that the town doesn’t have to pay out the hundreds of thousands of pounds that it will cost to put the Park right.
“The Town Council is absolutely committed to bringing the Park back to its former glory, and is absolutely committed to ensuring that those responsible for the damage are the ones who foot the bill.”


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user23
post Apr 30 2015, 06:59 PM
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QUOTE (Simon Kirby @ Apr 30 2015, 07:55 PM) *
Rather then me quote it, why not visit this link to understand more about how purdah operates.

No, I don't expect anything to be covered up, but I do expect our local councils to respect purdah, and in the present case they could simply have delayed the agenda item until after the election.
As I said, this was released in March so I don't know why you're getting so upset about it.

If the NWN want to report it again it at a later date, then that's up to them.
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Simon Kirby
post Apr 30 2015, 07:17 PM
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QUOTE (user23 @ Apr 30 2015, 07:59 PM) *
As I said, this was released in March so I don't know why you're getting so upset about it.

If the NWN want to report it again it at a later date, then that's up to them.

Interesting that. I wonder why the NWN would publish again a story that they have already covered.

On the JSH CrackGate press release the guidance would appear to be very clear.

QUOTE
you should not use councillors in press releases and events in pre-election periods. In such cases you should stop or defer them. An example might be a campaign on an issue which has been subject of local political debate and/or disagreement.


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user23
post Apr 30 2015, 07:28 PM
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QUOTE (Simon Kirby @ Apr 30 2015, 08:17 PM) *
Interesting that. I wonder why the NWN would publish again a story that they have already covered.
They do this from time to time, presumably when they're a bit short of news.
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Simon Kirby
post Apr 30 2015, 07:47 PM
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QUOTE (user23 @ Apr 30 2015, 08:28 PM) *
They do this from time to time, presumably when they're a bit short of news.

Fair enough.

What about the NTC missive - banged to rights?


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On the edge
post Apr 30 2015, 08:17 PM
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Frankly, I'd follow the example of some other Countries and have rather stricter rules about information. Arguably, all business should stop until after an election. The usual accounting statistics excepted. There should be no difficulty about this - particularly as this time the date was known five years ago. It's nothing new either, those of us with civil service knowledge know nothing moves until 'the vote' is approved.

In this case, as U23 points out, it isn't even news, simply confirming a project us in track - so yes, it's reasonable to ask why now? I also have to say I'm personally very uncomfortable that a new CEO at NTC has just been appointed. Similarly, that should have waited too. Arguably some new NTC candidates might even feel there is no real justification in replacing this role.


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user23
post Apr 30 2015, 08:26 PM
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QUOTE (On the edge @ Apr 30 2015, 09:17 PM) *
Frankly, I'd follow the example of some other Countries and have rather stricter rules about information. Arguably, all business should stop until after an election. The usual accounting statistics excepted. There should be no difficulty about this - particularly as this time the date was known five years ago. It's nothing new either, those of us with civil service knowledge know nothing moves until 'the vote' is approved.

In this case, as U23 points out, it isn't even news, simply confirming a project us in track - so yes, it's reasonable to ask why now? I also have to say I'm personally very uncomfortable that a new CEO at NTC has just been appointed. Similarly, that should have waited too. Arguably some new NTC candidates might even feel there is no real justification in replacing this role.
Are you saying all ongoing projects at a council should be suspended during a local election?
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On the edge
post Apr 30 2015, 09:02 PM
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QUOTE (user23 @ Apr 30 2015, 09:26 PM) *
Are you saying all ongoing projects at a council should be suspended during a local election?


Arguably they should be planned to be at a project break point so they can be stopped. Thus us nowhere near as difficult as might be imagined and is (or certainly was) usual practice in national government. It also happens in business, for instance in cases of mergers and acquisitions, in those cases, quite major projects will be stopped its little notice. At least in the public sector, the democratic timetable is known.


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NWNREADER
post Apr 30 2015, 09:02 PM
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Looking at the story identified in the OP I think it is totally within the rules of Purdah. No party political identification, no member quotes. The Councils do not cease to operate; things continue to happen and be dealt with. The securing of extra funding to reduce (significantly) a worthwhile project seems like something worth reporting. In fact, without all the party political waffle and posing the story is much more concise and informative.
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user23
post Apr 30 2015, 09:11 PM
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QUOTE (On the edge @ Apr 30 2015, 10:02 PM) *
Arguably they should be planned to be at a project break point so they can be stopped. Thus us nowhere near as difficult as might be imagined and is (or certainly was) usual practice in national government. It also happens in business, for instance in cases of mergers and acquisitions, in those cases, quite major projects will be stopped its little notice. At least in the public sector, the democratic timetable is known.
Shutting down projects at some councils for one month most years doesn't seem very efficient.

What would staff working on those project do for that month?
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Simon Kirby
post Apr 30 2015, 09:41 PM
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QUOTE (NWNREADER @ Apr 30 2015, 10:02 PM) *
Looking at the story identified in the OP I think it is totally within the rules of Purdah. No party political identification, no member quotes.

Yes, I believe that is correct.


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MontyPython
post Apr 30 2015, 09:50 PM
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QUOTE (user23 @ Apr 30 2015, 10:11 PM) *
Shutting down projects at some councils for one month most years doesn't seem very efficient.

What would staff working on those project do for that month?



Perhaps they should replace the staff at every election too! Then we might get some real improvement!
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Andy Capp
post Apr 30 2015, 09:51 PM
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QUOTE (user23 @ Apr 30 2015, 05:38 PM) *
If you think highlighting a political u-turn is stupid then we best end this conversation.

I said: "Exposing political chicanery is not a u-turn; your argument is false if not stupid."

I therefore said it was your argument that was false, so I think no such thing.
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On the edge
post May 1 2015, 06:04 AM
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QUOTE (user23 @ Apr 30 2015, 10:11 PM) *
Shutting down projects at some councils for one month most years doesn't seem very efficient.

What would staff working on those project do for that month?


Identifying break points, funding periods and managing risks in projects is actually standard practice in organisations with competent project managers. Of course as is widely acknowledged, public sector project delivery isn't good. Rather than explain in detail, how you do this, I'll simply direct you to the Council's excellent public library which has a good selection of books on project management.


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