Working group aims to shake up Mid Devon’s governance

At last year’s elections the Conservatives lost 11 seats and overall control of Mid Devon. This left them with just 18 seats and short of a majority, although they remain the largest party. The LibDems now have 12, Independents 10 and Greens 2.

Mid Devon is obviously finding governance a problem. Owl’s solution is for the opposition parties to come together and agree on a shared vision and ambition for the future, as has recently happened in East Devon. 

The newly formed Democratic Alliance in EDDC is now the largest party. The tragedy in East Devon is that Ben Ingham persuaded a number of Independents to follow him as leader of the “Independent Group”, then jumped into bed with the Conservatives. Business as usual.

Ben Ingham is now LINO (Leader in name only), having lost his majority as one by one he is deserted by his followers.

Lewis Clarke

Following a council resolution to review the current governance arrangements in place at Mid Devon District Council, a working group of members has been created to undertake this work and recommend any changes or improvements that could be made back to council in due course.

A workshop was held on Friday, March 13, which was facilitated by the Local Government Association (LGA). This session agreed the terms of reference for the work, making it clear that this was about identifying ways in which debate and discussion could achieve balanced and effective decision making, not about whether any form of governance was inherently ‘better’ than another.

Acting chair of the working group, Cllr Andrew Moore, said: “Today’s discussion was very encouraging. I got the sense that there was a genuine willingness from all members attending to work collaboratively as we go through this process over the coming months. I know that many of us are looking forward to understanding what other options are available and visiting other councils to see how these work in practice, in order to learn how our own governance might be improved for the benefit of our residents.”

The working group is aiming to use a future meeting to explore how external partners and stakeholders can be given an opportunity to contribute to this review, with a view to concluding this work before Christmas.