If you are not sure why this issue matters, then let me mention one word: Connaught. Yep: we need to improve the way Council decisions are scrutinised, alright…

Green Party city councillors are pushing for an “open and transparent council” ahead of the first full council meeting on Tuesday.

Greens said today that they will be using their increased influence following the elections earlier this month to press for a transformation in the way that the council is run. Prior to the recent local elections, Greens in Norwich published a manifesto which called for an “open council” and includes subjecting more decisions to the scrutiny process, doing work to allow service contracts to be brought back in house and publishing timetables of work (like housing repairs) online.

Following the September elections, the Green Party remains the main opposition to Labour on Norwich city Council and Green councillors have not lost their zeal to make the council more accountable.The Green Party increased the number of city councillors it has in Norwich at the local elections earlier this month, while the number of Liberal Democrat and Conservative councillors went down [1].

Claire Stephenson, the re-elected leader of the Green group on the city council said:

“The Green Party manifesto this year focused on making the council more open to scrutiny and more effective at meeting residents’ needs. With an increased number of councillors we will be pushing hard to try and bring about the Green changes that so many Norwich residents voted for.”

One idea Green councillors want to see put into practice is to create a disclosure log, published online, that would list the Freedom of Information requests received by the council and the responses given. Claire Stephenson said:

“Green councillors want to inspire a new culture of increased openness at city hall. Our local election manifesto included a whole range of ideas from improving the way decisions are scrutinised to publishing more information about the council and its activities. All of this should increase the accountability of council decisions as well as making the council more effective. We will be using our position as the second largest party in a council with no overall control to bring in as many of these changes as possible.”

Green councillors would also like to see the council introducing carbon budgeting, increasing the number of allotments to meet demand and lobbying central government against the cuts to local authority budgets.

[1] The Green Party increased their number of city councillors to form the largest ever group of Green Party councillors anywhere in the country. They strengthened their position as the main opposition, with no party in overall control.


  1. Have you considered recording and publishing videos of council meetings online? You can’t get much more “open” than exposing the actual discussions of the council on youtube…
    Cllr Kitcat has already pioneered this in BrightonP – sure, you’re hardly going to top the “most watched” video poll, but if the technology’s there and it’s easy and cheap to use, why not exploit it? Also, show some solidarity with him in the face of the ridiculous legal action being taken against him

    Also, it will be interesting come next election time when the various candidates try to claim credit for “tirelessly campaigning to push ideas through council” – then we’ll be able to prove who’s been telling porky pies!

  2. Thanks. Yes, we put a motion through the Council a few years ago calling for precisely this. Sadly, the money has never been found to implement it…
    That is one reason why we are now focussing on ways of opening up the Council to public scrutiny that are even cheaper.

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