Monday, 24 August 2009

Elected Mayor or strong Leader?

Redcar and Cleveland Council's Democracy Commission has begun to discuss how it will consult the public about implementing the Executive arrangements in the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2008.

The Act requires any Council in England to operate one of the following models:

Option 1 Mayor and Cabinet Executive

A Mayor directly elected by the people in a stand alone election separate to that of Council.

The mayor would ask a small number of councillors to join her or him to share in the leadership of the authority (cabinet).

Option 2: Council Leader and Cabinet

Leader chosen by fellow Councillors.

All councillors would be elected by the public and together would form the Council. The council leader would have the power to choose their cabinet.

The form the public consultation will take is currently under discussion by the Democracy Commission and will be looked at by the Scrutiny Board in Septemebr. A final decision has to be taken by 31st December 2010 and implemented three days after the May 2011 Council elections.

1 comment:

Matthew Huntbach said...

The way you put this echoes the way it has been put by New Labour promoting it, but why can't we Liberal Democrats say what it actually means?

We are given two options, both of which take away the voting rights of the councillors we elect. In one case, they are taken away completely, in the other the councillors at least have the residual right to vote out the leader who now otherwise has the power that used to be shared across the council.

Why is this regarded as such a minor thing that it has had no comment in the national media so far as I can see? Imagine if tacked onto some Act entitled "National Government and Public Involvement in Health Act" there was a clause saying the right of MPs to vote on policy was to be taken away, in what form would we like it to be taken away?

We talk about having a referendum on some minor aspect of the voting system for Parliament, so why is it considered that abolishing the right of elected representatives to vote and transferring power from being shared by an assembly to being held totally in the hands of one person is so unimportant that hardly anyone knows it is happening when it's at local level?