Shropshire Star

Ludlow councillor hits out over blog complaint

A councillor who criticised the "secrecy" surrounding Shropshire Council's company ip&e was told he shouldn't have spoken about it on his blog – which he said proved his point.


The council company, set up to run public services and sell services to other organisations, has been the subject of protests by those who say it amounts to privatisation.

Unlike other council departments, its workings and processes are kept hidden from the public eye.

Last week Ludlow South councillor Andy Boddington made what he said were some "satirical" comments about ip&e's new website and business plan on his blog – and was taken to task for having done so, which, he said further showed "how uncomfortable this council is becoming with open, democratic debate".

His original blog post showed a summary of ip&e's business plan with virtually all the text blacked out, with Councillor Boddington claiming that's all he could say about it.

He wrote: "The company does not hold annual general meetings. It publishes its accounts as required by law, though you can't find them on either Shropshire Council's website or that for ip&e. It does produce a business plan – but you are not allowed to see that.

"I've seen the business plan and I can tell you that it contains nothing other than you would read in the Financial Times about any company with shareholders. But Shropshire Council's cabinet has a compulsive desire for secrecy and it has declared that this report must be 'exempt' from public gaze."

Speaking today, he said: "My blog on the secret world of ip&e clearly upset a few people in the 'West Wing' of Shirehall.

"The council's monitoring officer told me that concern had been raised that my blog post in relation to ip&e 'may contain information which is less than accurate in the manner in which confidential information has been portrayed'."

But, he said, the complaint was dismissed as no confidential details had been released.

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