📰 Concerns re Council merger

From  Phil Munday
(Chair of St Faiths & Emsworth Labour Party)
To Editor, The News
8 Feb 2021

Following my letter published in the News on 24th January, the issue of a damaging report on Governance at East Hampshire District Council (EHDC) came up for discussion at the Havant Borough Council meeting on 26th January.

I made a deputation on behalf of the Labour Party expressing concern about the implications of the report on closer working with EHDC.

The report details worrying behaviours including a lack of transparency and inappropriate conduct and behaviour between Council members and towards officers.

When challenged about this, Councillor Bowerman, who is the cabinet lead, responded “It is for them for sort out”.

However, the report states that “…the scale of the issues raised and … particularly the length of time they have been tolerated, could continue to have a negative impact on governance for some time”.

As a former Headteacher I find the report very worrying, particularly when you consider that Havant Council shares the same senior officers.

Surely, our Council need to have a more robust view on the report and the implications for Havant.

Best regards,

Phil Munday

From  Phil Munday
(Chair of St Faiths & Emsworth Labour Party)
To Editor, The News
22 Jan 2021

Next Wednesday (27th January), Havant Borough Council will vote on aligning their governance with similar committee structures and harmonising their respective constitutions with East Hampshire District Council (EHDC).

In September, employees of both Councils had their terms of employment changed so they work for both Councils.

These changes will take four years before any real savings will be made.

They are taking place with little chance for debate amongst Councillors and no chance for discussion with the public about whether this move is in the interests of Havant residents!

EHDC serves a very different catchment area to Havant, being mainly rural.

The issues facing the Councils, including disadvantaged families, transport and housing needs are not the same.

Furthermore, the recent report on governance at EHDC is highly critical of how EHDC has been run, particularly on the lack of transparency in decision making.

Should Havant really be aligning too closely when there are public questions about the workings of EHDC?

Yours sincerely,

Phil Munday

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