Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Giants Causeway - Save the Causeway Memorial School Museum 2

St Patricks Primary School, Portrush, visited the museum yesterday, 
the last school to visit before NEELB locks the barrier 
permanently at the end of this week.

Here's a fascinating quote from the 2009 annual NEELB report:

"Protecting and Enhancing our Historic Environment

The Causeway School is a Grade B1 listed building, which is defined by the Environment and Heritage Service as a building of local importance or good example of some period or style; it was used as a school from 1915 until 1962. The building transferred to the NEELB and was restored to its present condition. The school is now exactly as it was in 1962 and operates a "Living History" experience for primary school children in term time and as a museum, open to the public, at Easter, in July and August and on afternoons when there are no schools present. As well as all the original artefacts there are two sculptures and two drawings by the famous Ulster artist Rosamund Praegar.

NEELB continues to maintain and conserve the building and has been successful in securing Heritage Lottery funding which is being used for conservation of the artefacts including the Praegar drawings and urgent repairs to the windows. The grant is also funding additional activities, extended opening hours and the use of the building by the local community."

Wouldn't it make you weep?

This requirement from the Information Commissioner's Model Publication Scheme is also relevant:

We would expect information in this class to be available at least for the 
current and previous three years. 

• Standing orders 
Standing orders for the conduct of meetings of the Board and Committees of the Board. 

• Agendas, background papers and minutes of Board meetings and committee meetings 

We would expect Board minutes and the minutes of similar meetings where decisions are made about the provision of services, excluding material that is properly considered to be private, to be readily available to the public. Information presented to those meetings, excluding those elements properly considered to be private, should also be made available.

The museum was mentioned in the agenda - it's online - for the December meeting of the NEELB Education Committee but both the minutes and the the Ray Gilbert report - Appendix 8 - are currently absent. Such behaviour, in my opinion, is unacceptable. The public are entitled to know what is being done in their name - and with their money.

There was an NEELB Board meeting in the Antrim Board Centre yesterday afternoon so I decided to drop in and have a look around. I noted a lengthy tete-a-tete between a senior board officer and two board members in advance of the meeting; I've also noted the absence of an agenda or officer's reports from the website:

I have a copy of the agenda but it's virtually information free when it comes to revealing what is being done in our name.