The Lochgelly Community Council is holding it’s public meeting tonight at 7pm at the Royal Oak Community Club.
Tonight we will be making enquiries over the lack of transparency and consultation with the local community with regards to the Community Council minutes.
Currently, it is of our opinion, that the minutes of the meeting do not accurately reflect discussions and actions happening at the Community Council, either through lack of disclosure, or lack of information provided in the minutes.
This has been echoed by other Community Councillors, with Eileen McKenna expressing concern at the last Community Council meeting that her letter of complaint had not been attached to the minutes, as agreed upon by the Community Council.
At that time, chair person; Ernest McPherson claimed that the letter had been attached to the minutes which are distributed at the Lochgelly Library.
However, this appears to have been an oversight from the chair, as a couple of volunteers have been taking the time to check the library routinely for a copy of the minutes, and the minutes have not been distributed in the Lochgelly Library since December 2011.
The document ‘Model Scheme for the Establishment of Community Councils in Scotland‘ state;
Inform the community of the work and decisions of the community council by posting agendas and minutes of meetings in public places, such as libraries and notice boards and, subject to the provisions contained within the Data Protection Act 1998, provide contact details of community council members.
We have checked with the librarians, who have advised they have not received any of the minutes from Lochgelly Community Council, neither are the minutes, from the meetings held in 2012, available in the folder kept at the library specifically for the Community Council.
We have questioned Community Councilors in the past on how they keep the local community up-to-date about the work they do, and repeatedly, we receive the same answer, that the minutes are distributed in the library, yet this is not the case.
We have seen the attempt by a minority of Community Councillors, to keep the local area up-to-date of the work they are doing on the behalf of the community, by releasing press releases through the Fife Times. However with this method, not everything can be covered, and will only be in the press, if the space allows for it. So while it is a good attempt at keeping the community informed, it is very haphazard, since they have no control over the papers.
The minutes being distributed in the library, which is a requirement for the Community Council, at least allowed public access to the full minutes, yet the Community Council have failed in this basic obligation to the local community
The irony of all this, is that Loch of Shining Waters has received criticism from a minority of Community Councillors for publishing our perceptions on the meetings, yet in hindsight, we have been the only organisation that has attempted to keep the community informed of their work, and the meetings.