Kernow Branch Press Public Bodies on FCPNM Importance

NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE

In the months which have elapsed since the formal recognition of the Cornish people as a National Minority and their inclusion by the Westminster Government into the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, members of the Kernow Branch have been busy communicating with a wide range of public bodies regarding their impact assessments and policy changes following the announcement.

One such request made of Cornwall Council under the Freedom of Information Act by branch member Craig Weatherhill has resulted in the following response:

“Reference Number: 101002032365

Response provided under: Freedom of Information Act 2000

Request:

“Re Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCPNM)

1. What, if any, consideration, of the FCPNM was exercised by your Council during the writing and final consideration of the Cornwall Local Plan?

2. I request sight of your Council’s strategy regarding the implementation of the requirements of the FCPNM.”

Response:

The information requested is a matter of public record and is available on the Cornwall Council website. Below are links to the appropriate pages to find the information.

1. A Comprehensive Impact Assessment is carried out for all Council decisions. This is a process to ensure our decisions are transparent, free from discrimination and mitigate against risks. The guidance on this can be viewed by clicking on the following link:

https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/community-and-living/equality-and-diversity/comprehensive-impact-assessment-(cia)/

The Comprehensive Impact Assessment for the Council’s decision to submit the Local Plan for Examination was first considered by the Portfolio Holder Advisory Committee 19 September 2014. This can be viewed on the Councils web pages at:

https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/media/11210386/Cornwall-Local-Plan-CIA-24-7-14.pdf

2. The Council operates within our Equality & Diversity Framework. An overview of this can be viewed on the Council’s web pages at:

https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/community-and-living/equality-and-diversity/

This page provides a link to the actual framework, which can be viewed at:

https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/media/3623011/E-D-Framework-Internet-April-2012-WEB.pdf

The Council’s guidance on Cornish National Minority Status can be viewed on our web site at:

https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/community-and-living/equality-and-diversity/cornish-minority-status/

This page provides a link to our most recent advice to government to secure recognition as a National Minority. This can be viewed at:

https://www.cornwall.gov.uk/media/7326793/FINAL-Cornish-Minority-Report-2014-pr7.pdf

On 8 April 2015, The Council of Europe has published the fourth report submitted by the UK Government pursuant to article 25, paragraph 2 of the Framework Convention of the Protection of National Minorities. A copy of which is available here – https://www.refworld.org/publisher/COESFCPNM.html

Publication of the report will further the drafting of Cornwall Council’s policy [strategy] response to the Framework Convention which is currently in development ahead of consideration and ratification by Members. This information is being withheld under Section 22 of the Act – “Information that is intended for future publication”. In line with the terms of this exemption in the Freedom of Information Act, we have considered whether it would be in the public interest for us to provide you with the information ahead of publication, despite the exemption being applicable. In this case, we have concluded that the public interest favours withholding the information.

When assessing whether or not it was in the public interest to disclose the information to you, we took into account the following factors:

Until the Council’s policy [strategy] response has been developed in line with the requirements set out in the Framework Convention and ratified by our governance process we have reached the view that, on balance, the public interest is better served by withholding this information under Section 22 of the Act at this time.

Information provided by: Economy, Enterprise and Environment
Date of response: 10 April 2015”

In response, Mr Weatherhill said, “I have written back to say that I do not accept their last point, as the Minister has stressed that Cornish inclusion in the FCPNM took full effect on 24 April 2014, and that the policy should have been formulated in anticipation of the proposal, and finalised immediately after confirmation on 24/4/2015. Failure to do allowed the Local Plan to be written without its inclusion”.

kernow@celticleague.net

Prepared for CL News by Michael Chappell (AGS)

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information

Celtic League
19/04/15

(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)

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