Altered Minutes Were ‘Administrative Error’ Says Council
Normally the legal record of Council proceedings are not changed once they’re agreed as a true and accurate record by councillors.
But last week, councillors approved a second set of minutes with different wording.
In February, the Council’s Transport Committee needed to stem the airport’s financial losses quickly and there was a push to agree increased landing fees by the start of the April financial year.
Council committee budget decisions usually go through a three-stage process.
The Transport Committee agrees increases in airport fees, then they need to be approved by Policy and Resources – the Council’s financial committee. Finally their recommendation goes to Full Council before changes can be applied.
But the Transport Committee was postponed, so there wasn’t time to follow those three steps.
Instead, a meeting of the P&R Committee on the 24th February agreed to cut out one of the three stages – they resolved that Transport didn’t have to come to them for approval.
Those minutes were approved in April, but they didn’t state how the suggested fee change would be agreed by the Full Council.
Nevertheless, the proposed fee increase was sent straight to Full Council for approval.
After that something unusual happened.
At last week’s Finance, Audit and Scrutiny Committee, which replaced P&R, the minutes that had already been agreed in April were submitted for approval for a second time.
But by this time, the wording had changed to say that P&R had agreed to send the proposed increases direct to the Full Council.
Yesterday, the Council confirmed to Radio Scilly that the Council had indeed voted to approve two sets of minutes from the same meeting and that each version had different wording.
But they say it was simply an administrative error and the wrong set of minutes was taken. And he says the original ones, approved in April, are the true record of the meeting.
It’s now unclear whether this means the 10% increase in landing fees levied by Full Council can actually be applied or whether it could be challenged, because the usual procedures have not been followed.