Here for Hereford have drawn to the attention of their elected members, the decision by Herefordshire Council Leader, Mr Tony Johnson to fund the Marches LEP by £100,000 p.a. for the next 25 years. This decision is contrary to the Constitution of Herefordshire Council as this decision has not been agreed at any Council or Cabinet meeting and has not appeared on any meeting agenda of Herefordshire Council. This key decision was not mentioned in the Leaders report to full Council which Cllr Johnson gave just the day after he made this commitment in a meeting of the Marches LEP, of which he was the chairman. Here for Hereford feels that the manner in which this decision has been taken and reported shows a complete lack of democracy and transparency regarding the Marches LEP and its relations with Herefordshire Council.
This decision was published on Herefordshire Council ‘s website as a “key decision” which means that this funding commitment has a financial impact over £500,000; would impact on all “wards” and would be binding on Herefordshire Council, not just for this current administration, but for all subsequent administrations, regardless of their political persuasion.
Here for Hereford is not challenging the decision per se, but highlighting this key decision to all the elected members of Herefordshire Council. These elected councillors surely deserve to know about this decision either in advance, or subsequently, and the significant commitment to fund the Marches LEP. There is currently no evidence base or background paper publicly available on which this decision is based, which gives the impression that decisions are being made by officers and not elected councillors.
Here for Hereford, simply draws your attention to the fact that Cllr Johnson has failed to act in accordance with the Constitution of Herefordshire Council, and in so doing has not acted in an open and democratic way. Here for Hereford welcomes this matter being properly decided by the democratically elected members of Herefordshire Council. For this to happen all the evidence (financial impacts; consultations; risk assessments, alternative options, etc) on which this decision is based needs to be made publicly available. We believe that good decisions can only be made on the basis of good, factual evidence. Here for Hereford would support any request for this matter to be “called-in” so that it can be considered by other elected councillors with all the evidence to support such a major decision. “Call-in” is the only avenue open for elected members across Herefordshire to properly consider the impact this decision may have on the finances of Herefordshire Council for the next 25 years.
The notice of the Herefordshire Council key decision can be found here
The Marches LEP meeting agenda and reports, chaired by Cllr Johnson can be found here