Independents call for change takes 'a giant leap forward'

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Cheshire East Council will be holding a special meeting in the new year to determine whether the way decisions are made should change by replacing the current cabinet system with a committee system.

Independent members of Cheshire East Council proposed three motions at a meeting of Full Council on Thursday, 13th December. The first motion called for a comparative analysis to be published for a special meeting of the Council (to be held early in the new year) to determine whether the current cabinet system should be replaced by a committee system. The second called on Cheshire East to allocate all Chairs of Overview & Scrutiny Committees to opposition members as soon as possible. Whilst the third requested that all remaining Committee Chairs are allocated across the political groups in line with the number of members they each have at Cheshire East Council.

All three motions will now be discussed at a meeting of the full council early next year.

Cllr Craig Browne, who proposed the second motion, said "The Mayor proposed that, given the important of the issues, a special meeting of Council be convened as early as possible in the New Year (but before election purdah) and that officers prepare a comparative report detailing the pros and cons of the various systems of governance, to be circulated in advance to all Councillors. The proposal was unanimously supported. It is expected that the meeting will be held after the scheduled Council meeting in February (which is the budget-setting meeting) but before 14th March."

He added "With respect to Motion 2 (the allocation of Scrutiny Chairs) I have proposed this because I believe that those responsible for making decisions should not also be in control of the process of scrutinising their own decisions. Although I would have liked this to be debated at the meeting last Thursday, I respect the Mayor's decision for all three motions to be heard together."

Cllr James Nicholas, Independent councillor for Bollington, who proposed the motion, said "I am delighted, that at the full council meeting, the Mayor of Cheshire East acknowledged in her speech that this is a very important issue for the whole council. By voting to support the special meeting it would appear that the cabinet have now changed their stance and have decided to support the Independent Group in wishing to debate the need to change to a committee system.

"This is a giant leap forward. I now hope the Conservative group will be given a free vote so that councillors can vote in favour of a system of governance which is more democratic and open, and is in the interests of all of our residents."

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Cheshire East Council
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Comments

Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Manuel Golding
Wednesday 19th December 2018 at 3:06 pm
It is ironic that parish and town councils are quite simply ignored by the CE leadership. They are very rarely consulted on any aspects of policy or strategy, even those concerns that may impact those parish or town councils' areas.
This is denigration of local views & concerns, such local councils certainly have their ears & eyes more attuned to local issues but CEC almost totally chooses to ignore such elected bodies on the basis that there are CEC ward councillors. But how often do these CE councillors attend/visit their local council's meetings. A prime example is Wilmslow Town Council. Even though it has a CE councillor as an elected town councillor (Cllr Garry Barton ,Wlm West) he very rarely attends, likewise the other Wilmslow Conservative CE councillors. Based on recent history, only one of Wilmslow's CE councillors has been to a TC meeting & is also assisting the town council with some pressing issues of great concern to the council. Thanks to Residents of Wilmslow's (RoW) CE councilor for Dean Row, Cllr Toni Fox, has sought to ensure the town council's views & opinions are heard within CE on the parking issues including CEs proposed increases on parking charges.
The only CE councillor standing up & for Wilmslow Town Council is Cllr Toni Fox, the only independent in Wilmslow. The other four Wilmslow CE councillors do not appear willing to support their fellow party members who control WTC.
Toni Fox's support for WTC clearly shows the great value of Independent councillors at CE.
RoW candidates will not be controlled by a party dictate from the leadership but will act always in the best interest of the electorate.
Hence the more RoW independents Wilmslow elects next May the stronger will be the town's voice.
At the present time, CEC us run by a cabal of eight Conservative councillors selected/appointed by the Leader, the independent group on CE is attempting to restore a greater degree of openness & democracy to the Council's decision making by lobbying tfor a return to specific committee government.
The only way to at least attempt to curtail the cabal dictatorship that is currently CEC is to lobby for change. Please give your support to the continuing petition at http://www.ChangeCheshireEast.co.uk by adding your names & those of friends etc.
Chris Easdown
Wednesday 19th December 2018 at 4:58 pm
Glad to see the 'oldboys' network being broken up
Much more transparent politics is required not just here in CE but countrywide
Audrey Youngman
Wednesday 19th December 2018 at 9:08 pm
About time too for a change.

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