“Your Waverley” never lets us down … does it? It is just experiencing technical difficulties!

HEAR NO EVIL, SPEAK NO EVIL, VIDEO NO EVIL?

Your open, transparent, democratic Waverley Borough Council is at it again… are we surprised? No way !

When are the good residents of Waverley going to wake up to the antics of this arrogant, power drunk council?  Ah! it would seem they are! Read here: 16.07.29 – Complaints to council rise copy Complains up in the last quarter by 39%. Go on followers if you haven’t complained before – start complaining now!

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This is the message that  greets webcast watchers with monotonous regularity when they log onto the webcast to watch and listen to various council committee meetings. You can watch U Tube live webcasts of meetings all around the country and right around the world except in Syria, Zimbabwe, Russia; Brazil and of course North Korea.

Well, now much of the time we have something in common with these highly democratic countries, some of whom are now regular followers of the Waverley Web. No doubt they will laugh at this post! However, it makes us want to cry!

Now “Your Waverley” has upped the anti and is bringing in new rules to prevent Waverley residents from asking informal questions. Previously there was nothing to stop a resident turning up on the night to ask a question. In fact it provided  an element of surprise in the normal stage managed proceedings!

 Of course you were  often asked to give the content before you posed  your question,   if it was likely to be “controversial.” Perish the thought that anyone would want ask anything “controversial.” God forbid that anyone in Waverley would want to do “controversial”!

Well… now you cannot even do that, even though your informal question was never  webcast, just in case it happened to be “controversial” and it went viral.

Now “Your transparent, open government that is “Your  Waverley has decided you cannot ask an informal question at all, only a formal question giving them ample notice … guess why … so you can receive an answer. Well that’s a culture change if ever we heard one. Because most people’s questions are never answered, at least not to their satisfaction. As for complaints try making one of those and see how you get on – we dare you!

In fact most questioners are treated with an underlying grudging tolerance, and are then referred to as in the case of legitimate Farnham questioners as  “people with nothing better to do with their time.”  Well there’s a lot of us about!

However you can always ask them here because we have heard from several Waverley councillors and officers that the Waverley Web is their “guilty secret” and  essential reading. Though we are told they never use the council computer system is this site is blocked so they go home and do it!

As for you Councillor Jack Frost who, with just a stare  can  ice over the Wey, is surprised people want to come along and ask questions to which they do not receive a reply… don’t worry your little frizzy little grey head  Jack because nobody  expects you to give them a straight  answer you wouldn’t recognise a straight answer if it hit  you between the eyes! But perhaps you should take on board some of the comments your colleagues made about your council processes and image – read here:  http://waverleyweb.org/2016/04/29/times-they-are-a-changing-2

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6 thoughts on ““Your Waverley” never lets us down … does it? It is just experiencing technical difficulties!

  1. I’m afraid this may be partly my fault.

    But please also note that the changes to the WBC Constitution didn’t just remove the Informal Questions sessions, they also gave Officers greater powers to refuse Formal (written) Public Questions.

    As you rightly point out, ‘Our Waverley’ could not control Informal Questions, and it proved quite embarrassing when they wouldn’t answer even the simplest of questions, so the webcast recordings of Exec & Council meetings weren’t commenced until after the Informal Session had ended.

    Hence from early last year, Farnham stalwart David Wylde and I have been recording our Informal Questions using my old camcorder, by asking questions in pairs and videoing each other & the Leader’s evasive responses.
    We’ve a bagful of footage to upload to YouTube ‘one day’, and some is quite funny. It seems the Leadership are somewhat averse to us zooming in on them when at their most vulnerable. Such intrusion simply can’t be allowed.

    It should be borne in mind that most of the Public Questions we ask are the ones they can’t answer, because to do so (truthfully) would incite calls for resignations and P45s. So the real purpose of the ‘new improved system’ is to give the Council total control over what the public can ask.

    Many of our Informal Questions were ones that Officers had refused to allow me to ask as Formal Questions. (NB- Formal Public Questions are printed in the Agenda papers, and the responses are Minuted in Full Council papers).
    A few years ago they had reduced the time allowed for Questions from 4 minutes to 2 minutes, and also added a requirement that they be ‘substantially in the form of a question’.
    That wasn’t just because I was using Questions to inform backbenchers of what was really going on. I rarely used the 4 minutes, it’s too tedious – apparently it was really done to spare them from Betty Ames’ lengthy statements !

    Given Waverley’s penchant for evading and/or ‘accidentally misinterpreting’ questions, it’s rarely possible to compose one that makes sense and seeks a definite answer unless you start with a paragraph or two of background. Two minutes equates to roughly half a side of paper, and is usually enough for the background plus a relevant quotation and the ensuing question.
    However, that still allows us to tell backbenchers ‘too much’, so we’ve had numerous questions arbitrarily refused due the pre-amble, even when they’re well within the 2 minutes allowed.
    We learned to get past such censorship by occasionally composing them as one long sentence, using lots of punctuation and conjunctions (which got a bit silly, but made the point). Or if we didn’t need the answer in writing, we’d ask it Informally.
    But no more.

    The changes made to the Constitution give Officers even greater power to refuse questions. They now have total control over what questions can and cannot be asked by the public they supposedly serve.
    (Silly me – we all know that ultimately they serve the Party Line).

    Of course a good Council with honest Leadership (i.e with policies and projects which withstand scrutiny) would allow the public to ask whatever question we want – and moreover, they’d answer the question !

    The “good news” is that Waverley say they will now give proper answers. Great ! They can start by answering the vital questions about Crest’s falsification of the East Street Transport Assessment and EIA, and about the legal and practical constraints which protect our borough – including the recently unveiled joke which they call the ‘Infrastructure Delivery Plan’ .
    The ‘Third Local Plan’ now being consulted upon depends entirely upon those issues, and merely repeats the mistakes of the 2006 and 2013 failures.

    If we wait until the EiP Hearings for answers, it would almost certainly delay the implementation of a proper Local Plan (and the much-needed protection that would afford to the whole of the borough).

    The Leadership’s pretence that there are no constraints to development is not just disgraceful, it’s treachery.

    We need answers now.

    Jerry Hyman (Farnham Residents Candidate, Farnham By-Elections – SCC South Farnham Division and WBC Castle Ward)

  2. Thank you for your comments Mr Hyman and you have confirmed everything we have been saying since the Waverley Web was launched. Oh! what a tangled web they continue to weave, but the actions of this disgraceful, disreputable bunch are now out in the open – let the people of Waverley be the judge, speak now or the borough of Waverley is lost. WW

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