Two week ‘blackout’ at St Edmundsbury Borough Council since Eric Pickles demanded they publish attendance stats

Eric Pickles

Eric Pickles - Credit: Eastern Daily Press � 2011

A “blackout” over the issue of attendance statistics shows a “bunker mentality”, according to one member, with St Edmundsbury Borough council still not publishing the data.

Despite scathing criticism from top Tory minister Eric Pickles MP, the figures have not been released, now two weeks since the news emerged.

However, the council refuted the allegation, with councillor David Ray, Cabinet member for resources and performance, saying they were following democratic process and waiting for the relevant committee to address the issue.

Councillor David Nettleton who represents the Risbygate ward, said Conservative councillors are not raising the issue in public.

He said: “I have not heard a word from anyone about it, there is a blackout. Members are not talking about it to me. All they have to do is go to more meetings of course.”

Referring to a letter from SEBC leader John Griffiths, published in the EADT on November 1, Cllr Nettleton said: “The biggest mistake was writing a letter defending the decision.

“It would not have been front page news if they published them in the first place. They have created more problems.

“Two thirds of councillors attend 80% or more of the meetings. It could have been a good news story for them.”

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A council spokeswoman said: “On November 18 [the] Democratic Renewal Working Party will consider new arrangements for recording attendance on a new council website, with a caveat that these formal meetings only account for a part of a councillor’s workload.”