Opposition leader's fury as request for special meeting is rejected

The SNP Group at North Lanarkshire Council has criticised provost Jim Robertson for ignoring Standing Orders by refusing to hold a special meeting.

Councillor David Stocks is furious a special meeting will not take place

The opposition group wanted the full council to meet before Scottish Autism’s One Stop Shop in Motherwell closes tomorrow (Friday).

The council rules state that special meetings may be called at any time by the provost or on a written requisition signed by at least one quarter of the 70 councillors.

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SNP leader David Stocks is furious that despite more than a quarter of elected members asking for the meeting to take place the request was rejected.

He said: “Provost Jim Robertson has no right anywhere in standing orders to refuse a special meeting.

“Labour claims future funding is for the new NLC-NHS Joint Integrated Board to decide, this is a flimsy excuse and they are hiding behind technicalities.

“This meeting should not be banned at the whim of the provost, the council has the right to express its opinion on the funding of the One Stop Shop and pass its views to the Joint Board.

“The next meeting of the Joint Board is not until July, the lease for the Motherwell-based facility ends before that so the council should use cash from its contingency fund to support the One Stop Shop until the Joint Board have an opportunity to decide its future.”

Council leader Jim Logue defended Provost Robertson’s decision not the hold the meeting.

He said: “This issue has been the subject of some disgraceful politics over the last few weeks, which culminated in a move to force a special meeting of the council by the opposition group of councillors.

“Rightly, the Provost has ruled that this is incompetent given that decisions about ongoing services for people with autism resides with the joint integration board for health and social care and not the council.”

Officers from Health and Social Care North Lanarkshire met with service users on Tuesday to identify gaps in service provision which will be left by the closure of the One Stop Shop.

This information will be presented to a strategic meeting, chaired by the council’s deputy leader Paul Kelly, which will be held tomorrow (Friday).

Officials from the council and Health and Social Care North Lanarkshire will be in attendance, with invitations also extended to representatives of the Scottish Government, Scottish Autism and Airdrie-based HOPE for Autism.