We are very pleased to announce that Surrey County Council has been forced to remove its block on emails from SLAM’s Chair, Mike Alsop.
Under considerable pressure from opposition Councillors, SLAM, Surrey County Council Trades Unions, the local press, Surrey residents and other groups the Council had to admit that it had broken its own constitution in gagging the legitimate protests of library users.
The following email was written to all Councillors this morning from a Senior Council Official (name withheld to avoid implications):
I am sure that you will remember that earlier in the week that we took the decision to place emails from Mr Alsop in our email filter to allow members and officers to choose to release and read them. The policy employed was an established one which we employ from time to time to better channel the correspondence from residents who use what is often described as a “broadcast” approach to a specific issue.
It has been brought to my attention that in this case the policy used does not comply with paragraph 42 of the Officer member protocol which states
42 Information and correspondence will be sent to Members by post either directly or through the pigeon holes at Members’ Reception, by email or by fax as appropriate and its delivery will not be delayed or interfered with by officers or Members.
With this in mind I have removed the filter applied to Mr Alsop’s emails and will be writing to him this morning to apologise for my actions. Could I also apologise for my error in applying the policy in a way that turned out to be inappropriate in this case.
We will continue to offer the facility of making available one of our Customer Relations Managers to Mr Alsop should he wish to have a single point of contact for more complex enquiries
Once again, please accept my apologies and I wish you a good weekend
We are very pleased that this latest attempt to avoid listening to the concerns of Surrey Residents over the controversial and money-wasting effort to diminish the library service has failed. In truth, this bungle is just the latest example of bad government from David Hodge’s Conservative administration.
We are very grateful for the support we have received on this issue from the many groups and residents that have stood up for us, and for democracy.
Buoyed, we will now re-double our efforts to protect Surrey libraries from being forced down the volunteer-run route.