Norfolk County Council to ditch Cabinet model in favour or politically representative Committee method

Cllr Paul Smyth, chair of the committee governance steering group, said: “I strongly believe the proposals agreed will offer better governance for Norfolk. It will bring greater democracy, transparency and accountability to the council by giving councillors from all parties a much larger role in decision making.

“The proposals we have developed over time will provide us with a strong council, well defined delegations of authority and clear divisions of responsibility that should promote good governance in Norfolk. Each committee will contain a politically balanced mix of councillors, giving them a much stronger voice in future decision making, which can only be good for democracy. All parties will have a part to play in the decision-making cauldron.”

Cllr Smyth said the November review would act as a “safety net” in terms of how the new system was working. “If needs be, we can amend how things are working then, but I believe this new system will give the 84 elected councillors a bigger voice on issues which were previously only the preserve of the nine or ten members of Cabinet.”

Norfolk’s Leader George Nobbs said: “I would like to pay tribute to the ordinary members of the council who have worked tirelessly to come up with a new system of working for the council. I can’t praise the huge amount of work they have put in highly enough and I wish it well.”

 

http://www.localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=18279%3Acouncillors-at-norfolk-back-move-to-committee-system-of-governance&catid=59&Itemid=27

Newton Poppleford, King Alfred Way “free pass”: a view

The King Alfred’s Way application is back before the DMC and, as before, EDDC planners have given it a “free pass” dispensing with any need for an environmental impact assessment (EIA) despite it being in an AONB. A little known study of environmental sites of European Significance in South East Devon, which includes the Pebblebed Heaths and the Exe Valley, has confirmed the need to reduce the demands local population growth makes on these site for recreation.

 

Local authorities have a legal duty to ensure no adverse effects occur to these sites as a result of this growth. Surely the first step is an EIA for such a significant development right on the doorstep of the Pebblebed Heaths?

 

We can reasonably assume that John Varley, as Clinton Devon Estates Director, is delighted that he doesn’t have to spend money on carrying out an EIA. It is one less hurdle to jump.

 

More interesting would be to know what view John Varley takes of this, wearing one of his other hats, as a £21K pa Board Member of the Environment Agency (mission – working to protect our environment). Perhaps he could let us know?

Some councillors get away with blue murder, some don’t

This is the second time Councillor Wragg (Lib Dem) has been brought before EDDC’s Standards Board for comments that seem to be the sort of thing that councillors of another colour call “robust debate” when they make similar remarks and have no action taken against them

Click to access signed_decision_notice_240414_redacted_signature_pdf.pdf

and reported here

http://www.exeterexpressandecho.co.uk/Exmouth-councillor-guilty-breaching-code-conduct/story-21035171-detail/story.html

And recall that Eric Pickles himself has said that councillors should have broader shoulders than the general public.

One might see a pattern emerging here, in the year before EDDC elections are due.  One hopes not.

Being an MP: public service or a career?

A correspondent writes:

I was struck by this headline in the Independent yesterday. It takes for granted what many of us suspect: that many MP’s (and councillors) see their jobs in terms of careers with opportunities for self advancement rather than the privilege of representing their constituents in public service. To vote against the whip is to forfeit your “career” chances.
I wonder why, in the circumstances, so many voted against HS2?  Are they unusually brave and principled or just more frightened by the May 2015 ballot box? If this is a power game, we the voters on issues like this, outnumber the whips.
Click image for full article.
Indy MP Careers