Belfast Telegraph

Monday 30 May 2016

Register of interests may be put on Belfast City Council website

By Rebecca Black

Published 02/03/2016

Proposal: Paula Bradshaw
Proposal: Paula Bradshaw

Belfast City Council is to consider publishing the register of members' interests on its website.

The council currently holds a copy of the register for its 60 councillors in City Hall, but the public can only view it by appointment.

At last night's monthly council meeting Alliance's Paula Bradshaw proposed that the details be placed on the website so they could be accessible at the click of a mouse.

The proposal was seconded by party colleague Emmet McDonagh Brown, but there was no debate and Lord Mayor Arder Carson referred the proposal to a committee for discussion.

The Assembly and Westminster currently display a register of members' interests on their websites. Belfast City Council's website currently includes profile pages for each of its councillors.

They include a copy of their CV, what committees and outside bodies they have been appointed to and any declarations of interest they have made. However, many of the links to CVs do not work and many of the declarations do not appear to be up to date.

The full register includes details of other employment, other incomes and property ownership.

Speaking outside the meeting, Ms Bradshaw claimed other parties had stymied previous attempts to have the register published online.

"Alliance has always led on openness and transparency, and we want it at the heart of local government, which is something other parties have consistently blocked," she said.

A spokeswoman for Belfast City Council said: "The council holds a copy of the register of members' interests for inspection by any member of the public by appointment.

"The motion is for the council to agree to publish the register online.

"We do publish the members' expenses online, as there was a previous committee decision to do so."

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