Council owned companies: Wokingham’s Lib Dems call for clarity

Lib Dems continue to press Wokingham Borough Council for information about the three Council-owned companies: WEL, WHL and OPTALIS.

Issues surrounding these companies were thrown into the spotlight when the Conservative Executive decided to pay six councillors acting as Non Executive directors of these companies an additional £6095 each a year. The Lib Dems challenged this decision in August but the Conservatives are carrying on regardless despite residents’ opposition to these payments.

At last night’s council meeting, Lib Dem councillors asked questions of three of the Non Executive Director’s and got identikit answers. In an attempt to improve the clarity of information coming out of these companies the Lib Dems have suggested that the six Non Executive Directors get together and agree with councillors a process to ensure the right information about the companies is being communicated in a timely manner.

Cllr Prue Bray, Leader of the Lib Dems, said “Millions of pounds are tied up in these companies. Councillors have a duty on behalf of residents to make sure that tax payers’ money is being spent wisely. How can we do that if everything is locked away and kept secret?”

Notes:

1/ At the Council Meeting 20th September 2012, Lib Dem councillors asked the following questions:

a) Cllr Tom McCann to Cllr Alistair Auty:

Can you explain what you have done to keep council members informed of the activities of WEL since your appointment as a Non Executive Director in February 2011?

b) Cllr Beth Rowland to Cllr Simon Weeks:

Can you explain what you have done to keep council members informed of the activities of OPTALIS since your appointment as a Non Executive Director in April?

c) Cllr Prue Bray to Cllr Gary Cowan:

Can you explain what you have done to keep council members informed of the activities of WHL since your appointment as a Non Executive Director in July?

2/ An Extraordinary Meeting of the Overview & Scrutiny Management Committee was held on 23rd August 2012 to consider the call-in of the decision relating to the approved payment of £6095 per annum to members appointed as Non Executive Directors on Council Local Authority Trading Companies made by the Executive on 26th July 2012.

Published by Woodley & Whitegates Liberal Democrats, 26 Farriers Close Woodley, Reading RG5 3DD.

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