Council set to revert to cabinet system

April 04 2017

SOUTH Gloucestershire Council is set to move back next month to a cabinet system.

SOUTH Gloucestershire Council is set to move back next month to a cabinet system.

The ruling Conservative group says the change from the current committee system will be simpler and cheaper, but Labour says it is “a backwards step for democracy and transparency”.

Under the new arrangements, agreed by a majority decision at a full council meeting in March, decisions will be taken by a council leader and a cabinet of executive members. The main role of non-cabinet councillors will change to one of scrutiny, working to hold cabinet members to account and to suggest alternative policy proposals.

The change will happen after the council’s constitution is formally  updated at the annual meeting on Wednesday May 17, which is also when formal appointments to the various roles will be made.

Other functions, for example the two Development Control planning committees and licensing committees, will operate as before.

Council leader Matthew Riddle said the Conservatives had decided on the “bold” move to reduce “Punch and Judy” exchanges and unwiedly decision-making.

Labour group leader Pat Rooney said decisions would be made behind closed doors.

“This change is unnecessary because the committee system does not prevent the Tories from running the council as they have a majority on each committee,” she said. ”The big difference is that committees operate in public so all decisions are made in public. Abolishing our committee structure is a backwards step for democracy and transparency. South Gloucestershire used to enjoy an enviable reputation for openness, so this is sad day for South Gloucestershire.”