Council set to move to committee system

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Cheshire East Council is set to move to committee system of decision making.

A notice of motion which proposes to move away from the current 'leader and cabinet' model won the support of councillors in a vote at the authority's annual meeting.

The notice of motion was brought by Councillor James Nicholas, deputy leader of the Independent group and was overwhelmingly backed by councillors.

Councillor James Nicholas said: "This council is committed to implementing a change in decision-making governance arrangements, comprising the cessation of current leader and cabinet model of governance and the implementation of a full committee model of governance. This is to be developed during 2019/20 with a view to the arrangements taking effect from the beginning of the 2020/21 municipal year, subject to a legally and constitutionally robust process, led by the council's constitution committee and agreed by council."

Under the new proposed arrangements, decisions would be taken by committees made up of elected members in proportion to their representation at council.

However, for practical and legal reasons, the earliest date such a change in governance could take effect is from May 2020. The cabinet system will therefore continue, on a transitional basis, until proposals and arrangements for a committee system can be put in place.

Councillor Sam Corcoran, leader of Cheshire East Council, said: "It may seem strange that my first act as leader is to give away power – but that is what I intend to do. We need a system of governance that gives more power to backbench councillors.

"We will not rush into any changes and the challenge for the constitution committee is to devise a new committee-based system that devolves power down and provides effective decision-making. The results of the constitution committee's work will then be presented to full council, hopefully within the next year."

Councillor Craig Browne, deputy leader of Cheshire East Council, said: "I warmly welcome this move. This is the right decision and great news – not only for the council but also for local residents across the whole borough.

"A move to a committee system of governance is long overdue and its implementation, following the necessary due process, will ensure greater transparency and accountability around council decisions. A committee system will also involve a wider cross-section of voices being heard and engaged in the whole decision-making process and be much more open to engagement and scrutiny by members of the public."

Councillor Janet Clowes, leader of the Conservative group said: "The process of implementing change in the decision-making arrangements of a unitary authority the size of Cheshire East is highly complex. However, after a decade since the council's inception, it is now timely to engage in a process of change and public consultation that is legally and constitutionally robust over the next 12 months."

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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.

Pete Taylor
Thursday 23rd May 2019 at 1:41 pm
Excellent first step; now please publish the Lyme Green report which WE paid for and let’s be “open and honest” about the Police investigations.
Well done.
Nick Jones
Thursday 23rd May 2019 at 3:10 pm
12 months to unravel the mess of the last duplicitous, selectively deaf , and arrogant incumbents seems reasonable. I detect a wind and willingness to implement change or the benefit of the CEC electorate !...
Mark Toombs
Thursday 23rd May 2019 at 9:21 pm
At Last, What a breath of fresh air. Out with the old duplicitous secretive committee and in With The New answer to the People who voted you in. Well done on an excellent 1st Move
Sally Hoare
Friday 24th May 2019 at 9:38 am
This can only be good news.
Maria Quin
Friday 24th May 2019 at 11:19 am
Hurrah!
Robert Farr
Wednesday 29th May 2019 at 8:42 pm
If we now get some actual action on the Wilmslow parking problem we will know change is on the overdue way at last with promises being realised.
Brendan Murphy
Thursday 30th May 2019 at 8:29 pm
I am afraid residents of Wilmslow are being hoodwinked. It's not about democracy, nor is it about transparency and honesty in governance. It is about political power and control. And it is certainly regrettable to see so-called Independents are now in coalition with the Labour Party purely for power.
You would expect a new regime's first announcement would be a clear statement of its priorities in the delivery of cost effective services for children, the elderly and a safe, healthy environment. Instead, the Residents of Wilmslow announced their first - and only - priority was to create more and more committees.
In my career, I have been involved at a very senior level in "reorganization" of public services in the NHS, Local Government and the Privatisation of Water. These massive changes all had one thing in common - their management structures became even more costly then ever before and service delivery continued to be chaotic in may areas.

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