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Matthew Hancock
Your Local MP

ONE Haverhill will still determine our future in private

Monday, 18th November 2013.

ONE Haverhill, which is currently working on a masterplan for Haverhill town centre, has voted against opening its board meetings to the public.

ONE Haverhill is an independent partnership that brings organisations and resources together to make them more effective and efficient in the town.

Debate has been ongoing since ONE Haverhill was formed in 2011 on whether its board meetings, held every other month, should be open to the public.

The organisation does not control a budget and makes no direct decisions on public money held by the local authorities.

Chairman of ONE Haverhill Sarah Howard said: “ONE Haverhill is a catalyst, an enabling organisation, where ideas are discussed with different public and private sectors organisations in the town represented. It is not a council meeting.

“I think people must remember that all public money still sits with organisations that are responsible for it and any decisions on what will be done with this money quite rightly still lies with those organisations and their elected representatives.

“In the case of local authorities, plans for public money are discussed and decided upon by elected representatives such as the town, borough and county councils and the public are entitled to attend those meetings.”

The ONE Haverhill board vote, carried out electronically, resulted in seven votes for making meetings public and ten against, and four abstained.

Sarah Howard added: “ONE Haverhill is important and a unique partnership for the town unlike anything else in the country.

"It works so well as we provide an early stage of informal discussions where representatives of organisations, both in the private, public and voluntary sector, can freely discuss ideas and collaboration before going back to approach their organisations formally. The majority vote is to keep it this way.

“We have had some very healthy debate about this. Understandably some council elected members have been pushing for public meetings, this is what they are used to but the majority view is that these are working meetings and as such would not benefit from change. We will revisit this annually.”

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