Owl promises to stop using the phrase TiggerTories (the close working relationship between current and past Tories and The Independent Group led by Ben Ingham and which excludes the East Devon Alliance and Lib Dens) if this ever happens!!!
And note that officers are already suggesting “hybrid systems” – gosh, they MUST be scared that a committee system will weaken their powers!
“A review into the governance arrangements of East Devon District Council is set to take place.
The leader of the council, Cllr Ben Ingham, had promised to fully consider alternative arrangements to the current leader and cabinet system as a condition of the support from the East Devon Alliance when they seconded his nomination to become leader at the annual council meeting in May.
Wednesday night’s cabinet meeting saw them unanimously agree that the overview committee should carry out that review.
Cllr Paul Arnott, leader of the East Devon Alliance, told Wednesday’s meeting it was a very welcome development.
He said: “This idea didn’t come from me but came from Ben who in 2015 made it a principal of his manifesto when he was the East Devon Alliance leader to abolish the cabinet and bring in the committee system. The proposals are potentially excellent but the devil is in the detail.”
“When the governance arrangements changed it was with the quid pro quo that the scrutiny function worked. But the scrutiny function has been a eunuch function in East Devon as many suggestions and motions have been refused or ignored by officers. In my view, the cabinet system is not working because scrutiny is not working.”
He said there were two winkles of the recommendation that concerned him though, as one was that the report from overview would come back to the cabinet, so it would be like ‘turkeys voting for Christmas’. He was also worried about the ‘due course’ wording as any decision on governance changes can only be made at the annual council meeting.
Cllr Paul Millar, portfolio holder for transformation, said that it was important that the recommendations did come back in time for the next annual council in May 2020. He added: “This review needs to be done fairly and to establish the rationale for change and if the preferred solution will deliver a satisfactory outcome and, if so, at what cost would it do so.”
The report of Henry Gordon Lennox, Strategic Lead Governance & Licensing & Monitoring Officer, said that if the council did agree to change to either an elected Mayor and Cabinet system, or committee structure, then they would be forced to stick with the change for the next five years.
His report added that there are also hybrid options where elements of the cabinet and committee system could be combined that the council could adopt, but it is the view of officers that it is for Members to determine why the necessity for change and to establish what the objective of the governance arrangements should be.”