Yesterday, Powys' Lib Dems succeeded in driving through a motion at Full Council to improve transparency and public engagement within the Council.
The motion called for the Council to explore options for introducing public participation in Council meetings and suggested a structured format at the start of meetings of the council and its committees for members of the public to address elected members.
The motion was carried with 31 votes in favour and 24 against with 5 abstentions, supported by Lib Dem, Labour and Conservative councillors with the majority of independent councillors (who run the Council) voting against it.
Commenting, Welsh Liberal Democrat Council Group Leader John Morris said:
"I am delighted that this motion passed. Powys has taken some very controversial decisions in recent months that have caused a great deal of upset in communities right across Powys, so it was extraordinary to hear independent councillors saying we do not need to improve public engagement with the council."
"Improving transparency and public engagement must be a priority so that Powys residents can better understand how the decisions that affect them are taken and how they can help prevent poor decisions being made.
"A number of Welsh local authorities already make provision for public participation at meetings, I hope that Powys will follow soon."
William Powell AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for Mid & West Wales and Powys County Councillor for Talgarth added:
"I think that it's absolutely right that the Council explores the options for introducing an element of public participation in council meetings. As elected councillors we have a duty to be answerable to the people of Powys and enabling the public to have a forum in which to express their views and question councillors on different local issues is really important.
"This motion is also very much in the spirit of a Statement of Opinion which I brought forward right at the beginning of my term as an Assembly Member which sought to enhance openness and transparency by calling on National Park Authorities to broadcast or webcast all principle meeting and to allow the public to record them."
Also commenting, Welsh Liberal Democrat Councillor for Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn North Gemma Bowker said:
"Having proposed the motion, I am really pleased that Powys County Council has taken this important step forward. Many Welsh councils already offer opportunities for public participation and I am delighted that it now looks as though Powys will be following suit.
"With difficult and controversial decisions being taken by Powys County Council, it is essential that communities right across the county are able to have their say and improving transparency and public engagement must be a priority for the council."