Gosport councillors’ attendance figures to go on show

MORE TRANSPARENCY? Gosport Borough Council offices
MORE TRANSPARENCY? Gosport Borough Council offices
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ATTENDANCE records will go online to show how often councillors go to meetings and civic events.

Gosport Borough Council voted to publish details of councillors’ attendance at meetings in an effort to improve transparency with the public.

The information will be made available on the council’s website in the coming months.

Council leader Cllr Mark Hook said: ‘It’s to give the public more information about what councillors do.

‘We have asked the officers to show the attendance at Gosport Borough Council’s scheduled meetings, the training that members have undertaken and the civic events they have attended.

‘With civic events, it is important we are there to represent people who cannot attend these meetings.

‘It’s all about gaining the trust of the public.

‘We have to try and engage with the public and show them we are doing the work.’

The council has already published on its website general information about councillors and their work, including which boards and committees they sit on and the allowances they receive.

The new measures will reveal attendance at meetings, declarations of interest and records of any gifts and hospitality they have received as councillors.

Financial interest forms and hospitality forms for each councillor will be scanned and uploaded to the council website.

And a table will be added for each councillor, recording which meetings, events and training sessions they have attended.

It is hoped the extra information will educate the public on the role of councillors.

Cllr Peter Chegwyn, leader of the Gosport Lib Dems, welcomed the move, adding: ‘It’s very welcome but it’s long overdue. The council should have done it long before now.’

The move brings the council in line with Hampshire County Council’s own policy of publishing the same information on its website.

Havant, Fareham and Portsmouth councils do not publish attendance records on their websites.

The government has recently set out recommendations about transparency among local authorities.

But there is no requirement for councils to publish this data.