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Seaton Nick Seaton of the Campaign for Real Education says accountability should include identifying who councils rely on for advice.

Too many local authority personnel are allowed to provide supposedly honest, objective advice to elected councillors without putting their names to it. Councillors may know who they are but the taxpaying public should too.

Even responses to Freedom of Information requests are usually covered in black ink where the names of officials have been 'redacted'.  When such requests are about closing, federating or re-organising local schools, are the officials involved from central government (Department for Children, Schools and Families, Partnerships for Schools etc)? Are they local authority officials?  Or from an outside agency? There's usually no way of knowing.

Considering how misleading, biased or factually incorrect such background information often is, and considering how important it can be for making sensible decisions, surely each person  involved should
be individually accountable?

This, it seems to me, is a pre-requisite of good, honest government. If I were a councillor, every set of figures, every piece of paper, every report and every piece of advice would carry the name of any or all of the individuals concerned in its production.

Those who hide facts, produce long reports with bits of poison lost in a couple of lines, or allow their political bias to override their objectivity, could then be clearly identified and shown the door.

Why don't councillors (and politicians at national level) insist on it?

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