14 August 2013
Its heartening to learn that M&B continues to be a useful resource for concerned taxpayers and voters. Recently M&B received an email from one such interested party who wanted to question their own council's disposal of public property at what they felt was less than fair market value.
Oddly enough, when they sought access to that council's accounts, their access was refused. In the time-honoured tradition of the Keenan/Canvin administration, this triggered-off FoI enquiries and an objection to the council's accounts.
However, when the objector was able to meet with the Auditor, their concern was recognised as being perfectly legitimate and the council in question issued a written apology regarding the obstructed access. The objector is now being given access to the council's records and is now in a position to establish whether or not the council acted in accordance with their own procedures and code.
This has taken about a month and is in stark contrast to the manner in which the Keenan/Canvin administration conducted themselves. This could be indicative of a sea-change in the attitude of councils towards individuals who make concerned enquiries but it might also reflect the usefulness of M&B's toolkit for change.