THE possibility of scrapping West Lancs council’s ‘leader and cabinet’ system and returning to a ‘committee system’ of management was due to be discussed at a full council meeting last night.
A motion brought by Cllr Bob Pendleton on behalf of the Labour group, suggesting setting up a cross- party working group to look into the issue, was on the agenda for last night’s meeting.
Under the system in use in West Lancs the leader – currently Cllr Ian Grant – is selected by the largest party who then appoints a cabinet to make key decisions.
But the Labour group believes a move to a committee system would lead to a more transparent style of democracy and greater inclusion of democratically-accountable councillors.
Cllr Pendleton’s motion read that: “in accordance with the provisions available in the Localism Act 2011, to enable the council to change its governance arrangements, Executive Overview and Scrutiny Committee be requested to establish a cross-party working group to consider detailed proposals and timescales for reverting back to a committee structure in place of the current leader and cabinet executive.”
The purpose of the draft Localism Bill 2011 is to devolve greater powers to councils and neighbourhoods and give local communities more control over housing and planning decisions.
One of the key areas outlined in the bill is the opportunity for councils to choose to return to the committee system of governance, and allow for referendums for elected mayors in certain authorities.
Also on the agenda last night were recommendations from the corporate and environmental overview and scrutiny committee following a review conducted into the implications for the council of the Localism Bill in respect of parish and town councils.
The report recommends that the committee maintain a watching brief on the topic of the review, as well as encouraging parish clerks and councillors to attend training sessions offered by the borough council.