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We won't return to committee system, says council leader
THE leader of Worcester City Council says he won’t be taking his authority back to the old committee system - and claims it would be a “backward step”.
It comes amid an in-house project to review the way the city council operates, which is being led by Lib Dem group leader Councillor Liz Smith.
Coun Gregson said: “Liz is leading a project to review the council’s constitution and she is being asked to wrap it up.
“I can’t see widespread support among the council to revert back to that system, it’s been a long time since it was last used.
“I think it would be a hugely backward step.”
At the start of the century, councils were given the chance to model themselves on national Government by having a small, decision making cabinet instead.
They were also told an alternative could be having an elected Mayor, following a referendum.
Almost all local authorities agreed a cabinet model, with politicians not part of the decision-making team operating as backbenchers similar to the way MPs do at Westminster.
Under the Localism Act, councils now have chance to go back to the old system, where committees of backbench councillors are set up to make decisions in areas such as leisure, the environment and finance.
Coun Smith’s review includes ways in which all politicians can have greater involvement.
She said: “It’s really about examining the scrutiny role - I believe the constitution should be constantly reviewed to keep it up to date, so this work sits side-by-side with that.
“We want to make sure the councillors who sit on the scrutiny committees are as effective as possible.”
In recent months councils in Nottingham, Brighton and Kingston-upon-Thames have switched back to part-committee models, meaning they still use cabinets, but have introduced new decision making panels in areas like health.
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