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Peer Review on York findings 'buried'

Labour councillors have accused the ruling Tory-Lib Dem Coalition administration of seeking to bury bad news as almost three months have passed without any sign of March’s Peer Review findings being made public.
The Peer Review involved senior council officers and politicians from other councils assessing how the council was performing in a number of key areas, including on future plans and relationships and behaviours.
But since the Peer team left York on 9th March, there has been a reluctance on the part of the council leadership to publish the findings, according to Labour’s Deputy Leader, Coun. Stuart Barnes.
He said:
“The purpose of the peer review process is to understand how the council and councillors function in order to improve performance, so that residents have a better performing council with stronger leadership.  Without publishing these findings, this improvement isn’t possible.
“Officers and councillors of all parties took part in the Peer Review in a constructive way and are entitled to see the findings of the review team just as much as the Executive.  The fact those findings have not been released, after the Chief Executive confirmed a findings report would be made public, suggests the Executive is trying to bury what we know includes some bad news.  This is an example of the lack of effective leadership highlighted in the review which threatens the ability of the council to function properly going forward.
“Probably the main recommendation of the review, to prepare and agree an action plan by the end of April, ready for adoption at annual council, has been missed and it now calls into question how seriously the Coalition is taking the whole process.
“If the administration is unwilling to publish the findings, regardless of what those findings say, it highlights an incredible level of secrecy and a lack of transparency that cannot go unchallenged.  A veil of secrecy being drawn over these findings is bad for the council and bad for residents.
“All councillors, officers and members of the public should see the findings and gain a fuller understanding of how well or poorly the council is functioning, as a priority”.
Coun. Barnes added:
“The Labour Group has been asking for the Peer Review report for several weeks and this is not first time communication with the council has been difficult.  Other partners of the council and stakeholders share similar experiences when requesting information which is equally as worrying”.

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