Is it time for REAL change at EDDC?

9 Dec

Not many people know that ….

there are 2 types of governance in local authorities:  the cabinet system and the committee system.  The cabinet system is what we have in East Devon:  the power is centralised on a small number of councillors hand-picked by a Leader who basically decide everything.  True, decisions are supposed to be ratified at council but, at least here, this is a formality as those majority party councillors not in the Cabinet tend to toe the party line without question (and, of course, without a whip).  This concentrates power on a very, very small group of people (10 in our case) whose influence is paramount in every aspect of decision-making.  This renders other councillors (even those of the majority party) to minor roles.

However, councils are now recognising that this is perhaps not a sensible way to run things and are choosing to turn instead to the committee style of local government where each committee has real power to make real changes.  This means that many, many more councillors effectively get a say in how the area is dealt with.

See, for a good explanation of why some councils are making the change:

http://inlogov.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/committees-talent-councillors/

This is an old posting but contains food for thought.  But ignore that stuff about the cabinet system meaning that scrutiny is a strong reason for keeping it – it doesn’t actually operate here in East Devon where Overview and Scrutiny seems to mean almost the exact opposite.

If there are enough majority councillors worried about the way things are being run in East Devon who think that it is time for change, it can happen.  If they are happy being vote-fodder then nothing will happen.  But surely the debate should take place?

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