Cllr Jon Hubbard

Wiltshire Councillor for Melksham South

Serving the community across Melksham

Cllr Jon Hubbard

Wiltshire and Town Councillor for Melksham South

Working hard across the Melksham Community

Concern has been raised by Wiltshire's Liberal Democrats about key decisions being taken behind closed doors at County Hall. 

The decision taken on Tuesday to extend yet again the contract with DC Leisure (now Places for People. Leisure Management Ltd) to run 11 of the county's leisure centres was taken in private session following the council's cabinet meeting.  This is the third time this contract has been extended.

Leader of the Lib Dem Group,  Cllr Jon Hubbard, said "I am very concerned about the exported being used to make these decisions. At the meeting I expressed concern that we were extended a contract that has already been extended and that this flys in the face of good practice and open decision making.

"I don't understand why this had to be done in secret, and despite repeated requests to be given the reasons for it being done behind closed doors I have ahead no response. In fact, I'm still not clear how much I am allowed to comment on as the advice I received was that I could not talk about the item until a formal decision on what will be published in the minutes of the meeting is made.

"The next I heard was a press release being issued saying the contract had been extended (again) and a phone call from the cabinet member saying he was announcing it that afternoon.

"I recognise that savings have been found through the extension but there is no detail on what exercise has been undertaken to demonstrate that this is representing good value to the people of Wiltshire. Are these savings going to be found by another round of price hikes? What efforts have been made to explore the option of other service providers?

"The excuse given by the administration that they needed to extend the contract not because they don't know what they want is frankly pathetic. If they don't know what they want then they shouldn't be running the council. Where is their clear vision and plan?

"There is a reason why there is legislation in place to determine how public services are procured and I am not convinced that this secret decision is inline with them. I have asked for a meeting with the County Solicitor and appropriate Corporate Director at the council to discuss this.

"Getting best value for Wiltshire Residents should be at the centre of our decision making process, but so should transparency, honesty and openness."

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Wiltshire Council Election May 2017

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