Councillors Express Concern Over Confidentiality Following Town Hall Restructure

town hall 8The majority of Scilly’s councillors have concerns over confidentiality with the new, open plan offices brought in by the Council management.

10 out of the 19 members wrote to officer Diana Mompoloki to say they weren’t happy with the relocation of the two Housing Department team members from a discrete office at Carn Thomas to the new Town Hall workspace in the former Chief Executive’s office, which is shared with 11 other staff.

Councillors are worried that islanders who want to talk privately about housing issues will feel uncomfortable about sharing personal or relationship problems when so many staff from Mrs Mompoloki’s Economic Development team are within earshot.

Although a majority of members put their names to the letter, the office sharing that forms part of the Council re-structuring will remain.

A vote was not allowed in the meeting, led by Council Chairman Amanda Martin, as it was an informal meeting.

In a statement to Radio Scilly, Senior Manager for Strategic Development Diana Mompoloki says the housing function has been strengthened and now forms part of a wider Strategic Development team.

Diana says that meetings can be arranged either in a confidential meeting room or at another convenient place. And she says that a client can phone to make an appointment or visit the One Stop Shop and arrange a meeting with the relevant officer.

The Town Hall reception remains open but public access has been reduced from 8.5 hours to 3 hours a day.

Diana says that confidentiality won’t be compromised and respect and courtesy to clients will be maintained as all times.

But not all elected members have been convinced, although they’ve again been advised not to talk to Radio Scilly about their concerns.

Two councillors, who don’t want to be named, feel this decision impacts on the community and, as the majority of members have concerns over privacy, they feel they should debate the issue publicly and then vote on it.

They say that it is the Council’s members who should have the final say, not Council management.

Recently some councillors have expressed concern at the use of these informal meetings to discuss Council business. That’s because they are held without any written agenda or minutes and there’s no voting rights because they can’t make decisions officially.

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