Asking Questions about Adur and Worthing Councils
They say a good politician always knows the answer to a question before they ask it! This means of course that questions can be used to expose and embarrass the opposition when you suspect they have something to hide and the Council performance is not good enough.
There are four main ways of getting information.
- Ask a council Question. Dates of Council meetings in Adur are here. For Worthing see here
- Public questions in person are invited. For the best results give at least a week’s notice of the question. You must turn up on the night: it is not intimidating and quite low key. Answers are recorded in the minutes. It is possible to ask a question which has not been notified in advance but councillors cannot usually give factual answers without a briefing from officers.
- A question to an Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Same as above but the question must be on a subject before the committee. Therefore need to scan the agenda in advance. Dates are: 21 January, 17 March.
For more general questions on a topical issue you can put a question to the Chairman (sic) There is an online form and he has to answer in 5 days.
- The Freedom of Information Act, a vital tool created by a Labour Government. Best done through https://www.whatdotheyknow.com A lot of questions have already been asked about Adur and it would pay to look at those answers first. You must get a reply in 20 working days.
Ask things that an officer in the Council should be able to access easily. Do not phrase questions in a way that is too specific – they might argue the data is difficult to collect.
If giving a time frame do not be too specific. Using a phrase like “ …in the last year or other recent available period” does not allow any excuses about data being difficult to collect.
We need of course to confine ourselves to issues that are the responsibility of Adur and not the County Council.