As explained in the previous post, in order to assess to accountability and transparency of Castlereagh Borough Council, back in September 2009 I’d asked for copies of council meeting and committee minutes from May 2009.
As I read back through the supplied documents I’ve found a few snippets relating to the Lock Keeper’s Cottage, whose visitors’ centre includes the now famous Lock Keeper’s Inn café. Nothing too earth-shattering perhaps … though there was a council investigation into the official opening before the official opening happened. And to be clear, no specific mentions of the café.
The date for the opening was noted in the minutes of the Central Services Committee.
Minutes of the proceedings of the meeting of the Central Services Committee held, in committee, in the Members’ Corridor, Civic & Administrative Offices, Bradford Court, Upper Galwally, Castlereagh, BT8 6RB, on Monday 11 May 2009 at 7.30 p.m.
CS/2009/137 : DATES FOR DIARIES
The Administration Manager advised Members of the forthcoming events in the civic calendar:
- Official opening of Lock Keeper’s Cottage – 21 May 2009 @ 4.30 pm
I wonder who all attended the site’s opening?
But later in the month, the opening of the Lock Keeper’s Cottage got another mention. This time an investigation into its opening. Without the full report of the investigation – not one of the documents requested or disclosed – it’s difficult to be sure, but I wonder if there was a previous, poorly communicated attempt to have an official opening before the 21 May date? Or was the opening scheduled without the knowledge of the council?
Minutes of the proceedings of the Finance & General Purposes Committee held, in committee, in the Council Chamber, Civic & Administrative Offices, Bradford Court, Upper Galwally, Castlereagh, BT8 6RB, on Wednesday 13 May 2009 at 7.00 p.m.
STAFF IN COMMITTEE
The Director of Administration & Community Services, the Director of Finance, the Economic Development Manager, the Human Resource Manager, the Procurement Officer and Assistant Members’ Services Officer left the meeting.
F&GP/2009/117 : INVESTIGATION INTO THE OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE LOCK KEEPERS COTTAGE (MINUTE F&GP/2009/57 REFERS)
The Acting Director of Leisure Services distributed copies of her report on her investigation into the Official Opening of the Lock Keepers Cottage. The Director took Members through the report, and discussion ensued regarding the circumstances surrounding the Official Opening.
During the discussion, Alderman Copeland queried whether information had been available to some Members before the investigation commenced. Councillor [Gareth] Robinson refuted such an allegation.
Following further discussion, it was
RESOLVED : That
(i) The Members of the Committee accepted the Director’s report and considered that no further actions should be taken in relation to this matter as Members considered that processes and procedures had been appropriately followed.
(ii) Officers are to ensure that in future, all official openings and civic events are to be channelled through the Central Services Committee, to ensure that all of the necessary communications and arrangements are in place
(iii) The above resolution is to be effectively communicated to all council departments by the Administration Department to ensure that all officers are aware of this requirement
The Director of Administration & Community Services, the Director of Finance, the Economic Development Manager, the Human Resource Manager, the Procurement Officer and Assistant Members’ Services Officer returned to the meeting.
Alderman Copeland and Councillor Mrs Beattie left the meeting at 8.00 p.m..
The subject of the investigation was returned to briefly at the end of the full council meeting at the end of the month. Neither Iris Robinson nor Gareth Robinson attended the meeting.
Minutes of the proceedings of the meeting of Castlereagh Borough Council held in the Council Chamber, Castlereagh Borough Council, Civic & Administrative Offices, Bradford Court, Upper Galwally, Castlereagh, BT8 6RB, on Thursday 28 May 2009 at 7.00 p.m.
STAFF IN COMMITTEE
2009/282 : OFFICIAL OPENING OF THE LOCK-KEEPER COTTAGE (Minute No F&GP/2009/117 refers)
Councillor Long asked for a summary of the Acting Director of Leisure’s report on the official opening of the Lock Keeper’s Cottage. The Acting HR Manager read from the conclusion of that report.
Following discussion it was
RESOLVED: that the Council agree that Minute No F&GP/2009/117 be ratified subject to the following amendment:
– At paragraph (i) after “Director’s report” add “and considered that no further actions should be taken in relation to this matter as Members considered that processes and procedures had been appropriately followed”
An insight into the bizarre stuff that councils get involved with; and no doubt one of many twists in the multi-year journey to restore and open the Lock Keeper’s Cottage and visitors’ centre.
In the ten sets of minutes provided for May 2009, there’s no record of Iris Robinson – or Alderman Robinson, to use her official title – attending any Castlereagh Borough Council meetings or committees.