Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Leicestershire Lib Dems propose dismantling the cabinet system

I am pleased to see that the Liberal Democrat manifesto for this year's Leicestershire County Council elections floats the idea of abolishing the council's cabinet system. The group leader Simon Galton, a fellow councillor of mine on Harborough District Council many years ago, is quoted by the Leicester Mercury:
"The problem with cabinet is that it is a group of Conservatives sitting round a table and they don't listen. The decisions have already been made in pre-cabinet briefings in secret and they are just rubber stamped. 
"We would consider getting rid of the cabinet in the long-run, which would be a way of wringing out some savings, and in the short term allow the public to take part in meaningful discussion."
The cabinet system which the Blair government brought in, no doubt in the name of "modernisation", always seemed undesirable to me because it concentrated power in the hands of a few key councillors.

In fact, it was always the backbench councillors in the ruling party I felt most sorry for. In opposition you expect to be excluded from power and can use the press to have your say.

But the backbench councillors in the ruling party have to toe the line. Yes, there is always the scrutiny committee, but I remain to be convinced that making a nuisance of yourself there is the way to endear yourself to your party's leading councillors.

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