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Council to consider new governance model

Update: following a vote by members at this meeting, the council will now start to work towards establishing the proposed ‘hybrid’ Leader and Cabinet model of governance.
That will include amending the constitution to require key committees to be chaired by members of opposition parties and more opportunities for ‘back bench’ councillors to participate in decision-making processes, with the new arrangements to be reviewed by the Overview and Scrutiny Board after six months.
Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Board, Cllr Peter McDonald, who also chaired the task group that produced the proposals, said: “I welcome the council’s vote to approve the recommendations. This is a landmark occasion as it will create a more democratic system of governance at the council than any we’ve had in the last 20 years.”
The agenda for the meeting, the reports, and the video of the council’s discussion, are available on the link at the end of the original text, below .

Bromsgrove District councillors are set to consider whether to adopt a new model of governance at the authority that could increase political consensus.

Under new proposals, the council’s Audit, Standards and Governance Committee and Overview and Scrutiny Board chairmen would be required to be elected from members of the opposition.

New ‘Cabinet Advisory Panels’ would also be able to make recommendations to the council’s elected Leader and Cabinet and bring more councillors into the executive decision-making process.

The moves are recommendations from an Overview and Scrutiny task group report into the council’s governance options, which councillors voted to launch after no single party won a majority of seats in the May elections.

Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Board, Cllr Peter McDonald, said: “Our thanks to everyone who contributed to the work of the task group as it studied governance systems in detail this summer. The final report has recommended a hybrid Leader and Cabinet model for the council to consider, to provide for more input from members of opposition parties and in open and transparent ways.”

Councils must choose from a spectrum of governance models that each provide a greater or lesser degree of political consensus in decision-making. In general, ‘Mayoral’ systems provide the least consensus, ‘Committee’ systems the most, and ‘Leader and Cabinet’ systems, like in Bromsgrove District, fall in the middle of that spectrum.

In Bromsgrove District that means an elected Cabinet led by the Leader of the Council makes most of the council’s day-to-day decisions, while the full council retains the final vote on matters like budgets and overall policy. The new proposed ‘hybrid Leader and Cabinet’ model adds elements of the Committee system to that process while not requiring major changes to the council’s core governance model and constitution.

The recommendations will now be considered at tomorrow evening’s (Sep 20) Extraordinary Meeting of the full Council, after having passed through the Cabinet last week.

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