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Barnet Borough Council's crisis: meetings CAN take place over next month
Barnet Borough Council committee meetings will be able to go ahead after a “flawed” allocation of councillors threatened to bring them to a halt.
The authority was left in “limbo” after it incorrectly calculated committee places following last month's local elections.
The error cast uncertainty over whether decisions made by the committees before the next full council meeting on July 15 would be legally valid.
But after taking legal advice, the council’s legal advisor James Gaudie QC said decisions taken before this time would still be legally valid.
The error was brought to light by director of Harrow and Barnet Council’s joint legal department, Hugh Peart.
Monday night’s assets and regeneration and growth committee was cancelled at the eleventh hour when Barnet Council chief executive Andrew Travers informed councillors of the mistake.
In a statement, Mr Travers said: “Mr Gaudie has confirmed Mr Peart’s view that the proportionality report agreed at council was flawed. Mr Gaudie further advises that the council should put this right at the first opportunity.
“He does, however, go on to say that it is open to the council to continue with scheduled committees in the meantime, and that decisions taken would be valid.”
This means that Monday night’s children, education, libraries and safeguarding committee, where parents of disabled children are due to plead with councillors to save their play schemes, can go ahead.
However, the pension committee meeting will not take place.
Lawyer Claer Lloyd-Jones, who provides advice to councils, has now been appointed to conduct an external investigation into how the "flawed" decision was made.
The committee numbers will still be be put right at the next full council meeting on July 15.
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