Draft Local Government (Organisation and Standards) Bill Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence - First Report


APPENDIX 34

Memorandum by Mid Suffolk District Council

  Mid Suffolk has debated the draft Bill on a number of occasions and has two main concerns.

  First there is the proposed restriction on the size of the Cabinet in the Cabinet/Leader model. It would restrict this Council to six Members on the Cabinet. As with many rural authorities, where there are several political groups involved, or perhaps more importantly there are only a relatively small number of elected Members, to use a strictly percentage based criteria, is considered to be too restrictive. The Minister's views are well known—that it is essential that the size of the Cabinet is small however some leeway for small authorities is requested.

  The second point concerns area committees. Representations have been made and responses received but the position remains completely unclear. At present a good number of authorities of all descriptions have area committees with varying arrangements, but it is common for them to have executive power. The Bill appears to suggest that whilst area committees can continue they should be consultative only and it is not possible for the authority to delegate to them. That concept seriously undermines the whole concept of area committees which are likely to become nothing more than talking shops and totally ineffective. It should be left to individual Councils to decide to what extent they wish to give any delegated authority to bodies that they create. Clarification of that particular ambiguity would be helpful at a very early stage given that this Council along with many others is in the process of putting its new political structures in place in advance of the legislation.

23 June 1999

 





 
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