ONE Haverhill partnership has agreed to hold its next four board meetings in public in a bid to prevent a rift with the town council.
In October, Haverhill Town Council voted to withdraw from the partnership, which brings organisations together to get maximum value from public expenditure, unless it agreed to run a trial of public board meetings.
Sarah Howard, chairwoman of ONE Haverhill today announced new terms of reference which she said should satisfy the town council ‘without compromising the engagement of other partners’.
At a board meeting last Thursday, new terms of reference were agreed to hold as much as possible of the next year’s four meetings in public.
Mrs Howard said: “Just like the town council, there will be some discussions about staff or contracting that must be held in private, which ensures that we maintain any confidentiality when that is needed, but the rest of the meeting will be open to the public.”
She said there had been a much debate on whether the meetings should be in public.
“What we have come up with is a solution that appears to be agreeable to everyone, incorporating the proposals put to the ONE Haverhill Partnership by the town council, “ she said. “My own concern was that we hold our meetings in a way that is open but without us just being seen as a pseudo-council organisation or a further tier of local government, which we definitely are not.
“In the past we have had annual public meetings, but at the last one we had only marginally more members of the public there than members of the board.”
ONE Haverhill also asked the town council to double its representation to four councillors. Mrs Howard explained “The increased representation reflects their central role in managing and delivering some of the key projects to address cross-cutting themes identified by the Partnership.”