A COUNCIL is this week expected to agree to open previously-secret cabinet meetings to the Press and members of the public.

A full meeting of Sedgefield Borough Council is being recommended to open up the authority's meetings to public scrutiny.

It follows criticism which was heaped on the Labour-controlled authority of Darlington Borough Council when it introduced secret cabinet meetings earlier this year.

Darlington decided earlier this month to scrap the system.

Under the present system, the cabinet agendas are made available before the meetings, but neither the Press nor public are allowed to see what decisions are made until afterwards.

However, if the councillors approve the recommendation at the full council meeting on Friday, the meetings of Sedgefield Borough Council will be open, and the first one would take place on December 14.

It is proposed that meetings of the cabinet be held in public, at 10am, on a Thursday.

Sedgefield would be only the fourth authority in the region which has decided to scrap secret cabinets.

Newcastle and Durham city councils have already opened up their cabinet meetings to the public.