Cabinet structure is bad for democracy

Cabinet structure is bad for democracy

Cabinet structure is bad for democracy

First published in Readers' Letters

TEST Valley borough councillors are controlled by a Cabinet governance model, which is the result of an imposition by an earlier Government.

This mode of operandi fails to promote democracy and indeed I have witnessed a ‘democratic deficit’ with a low level of transparency in decision making at the council.

Residents are being denied access to major decisions, whether it be through the three-minute ‘dictator-style’ ruling for conversing at the limited public meetings or a realisation that this Cabinet structure serves to implement central Government diktats, for example the National Planning Policy Framework.

Only UKIP, with its policy of not whipping its councillors, has a truly democratic structure for local councillors. UKIP also wishes to see referendums at local level.

I challenge Test Valley borough councillors to return to a committee governance. This change is happening elsewhere in the UK, including the county councils of Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Nottinghamshire.

I further challenge the current councillors of TVBC to really implement localism by addressing the concerns voiced by residents on large-scale housing in the area, infrastructure deficiencies, pressures on our primary care services and education, alongside a host of other policy areas.

SANDRA JAMES, UKIP PPC for Romsey and Southampton North.

Comments (3)

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7:11pm Tue 2 Sep 14

FoysCornerBoy says...

Cabinet style systems of governance can work well, especially where effective scrutiny systems are in place that hold the Council Executive to account. Very few Councils have reverted to the outdated Committee system - where often in practice key decisions were reached behind closed doors by the chair and a few unelected officials.

Of course the other model available is that of an elected Mayor but - apart from Bristol - this has been slow to get off the ground in the south. I can't see this working in places like Test Valley as people from Andover have completely different issues from those in Romsey. I think that the UKIP Hampshire County Councillors may have been onto something better by suggesting the abolition of the county's 12 district councils and their replacement with a unitary system of local government.
Cabinet style systems of governance can work well, especially where effective scrutiny systems are in place that hold the Council Executive to account. Very few Councils have reverted to the outdated Committee system - where often in practice key decisions were reached behind closed doors by the chair and a few unelected officials. Of course the other model available is that of an elected Mayor but - apart from Bristol - this has been slow to get off the ground in the south. I can't see this working in places like Test Valley as people from Andover have completely different issues from those in Romsey. I think that the UKIP Hampshire County Councillors may have been onto something better by suggesting the abolition of the county's 12 district councils and their replacement with a unitary system of local government. FoysCornerBoy
  • Score: 0

9:57am Wed 3 Sep 14

Linesman says...

FoysCornerBoy wrote:
Cabinet style systems of governance can work well, especially where effective scrutiny systems are in place that hold the Council Executive to account. Very few Councils have reverted to the outdated Committee system - where often in practice key decisions were reached behind closed doors by the chair and a few unelected officials.

Of course the other model available is that of an elected Mayor but - apart from Bristol - this has been slow to get off the ground in the south. I can't see this working in places like Test Valley as people from Andover have completely different issues from those in Romsey. I think that the UKIP Hampshire County Councillors may have been onto something better by suggesting the abolition of the county's 12 district councils and their replacement with a unitary system of local government.
It is as good or as bad as those that operate the system.

There were many claims that the system was abused by the LibDems when they were in control of Portsmouth City Council.
[quote][p][bold]FoysCornerBoy[/bold] wrote: Cabinet style systems of governance can work well, especially where effective scrutiny systems are in place that hold the Council Executive to account. Very few Councils have reverted to the outdated Committee system - where often in practice key decisions were reached behind closed doors by the chair and a few unelected officials. Of course the other model available is that of an elected Mayor but - apart from Bristol - this has been slow to get off the ground in the south. I can't see this working in places like Test Valley as people from Andover have completely different issues from those in Romsey. I think that the UKIP Hampshire County Councillors may have been onto something better by suggesting the abolition of the county's 12 district councils and their replacement with a unitary system of local government.[/p][/quote]It is as good or as bad as those that operate the system. There were many claims that the system was abused by the LibDems when they were in control of Portsmouth City Council. Linesman
  • Score: 1

9:01pm Sat 6 Sep 14

Alanthefox says...

" where often in practice key decisions were reached behind closed doors by the chair and a few unelected officials".

I would accept that this probably applies in the case of some councils run by Cabinet, I can assure you that it certainly did not in Southampton prior to the take over by Hampshire in the mid seventies, the advantage of that system recognised that all members could not possibly be aware of either local problems or policies, including the leaders of the ruling parties, of which I was one, In my area of influence the member leading for the opposition would not hesitate to challenge publicly or in private policies he believed to be mistaken, on the question! are their too many Councillors, based on the number of wards, yes probably. Do we need three members to each ward a definite yes, All members cannot be expected to know each nook and cranny, but together they hold an expertise that is today lacking, particularly in terms of continuity.
Incidentally I had until recently not realised that a council could revert to the old circumstances under certain conditions, perhaps they can be persuaded to return to a system that served communities well over a long and sustained period.
" where often in practice key decisions were reached behind closed doors by the chair and a few unelected officials". I would accept that this probably applies in the case of some councils run by Cabinet, I can assure you that it certainly did not in Southampton prior to the take over by Hampshire in the mid seventies, the advantage of that system recognised that all members could not possibly be aware of either local problems or policies, including the leaders of the ruling parties, of which I was one, In my area of influence the member leading for the opposition [in my case Councillor Bill Dibben ] would not hesitate to challenge publicly or in private policies he believed to be mistaken, on the question! are their too many Councillors, based on the number of wards, yes probably. Do we need three members to each ward a definite yes, All members cannot be expected to know each nook and cranny, but together they hold an expertise that is today lacking, particularly in terms of continuity. Incidentally I had until recently not realised that a council could revert to the old circumstances under certain conditions, perhaps they can be persuaded to return to a system that served communities well over a long and sustained period. Alanthefox
  • Score: 1

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