Response to Brian Pinner’s letter to Evening Star. 28/12/10

Former Conservative Ipswich Borough and Suffolk county councillor, Brian Pinner has written a letter to The Evening Star regarding how the Suffolk County council leadership conducts business and I must say, has a good point.

He says “In the “good old days” an officer or council member with a proposal would have the, matter discussed by one of the specialist committees.
That committee would have representatives of all political parties represented on the council.
If the committee agreed with the proposal, the chairman of the committee would take the matter to the Policy Committee and from there it would go to the full council.”

Brian Pinner continues “Now we have a “cabinet” of about 12 members with portfolios (ministers!) each of whom is totally responsible for a large budget -usually many millions of pounds -who make virtually all decisions about how this money is spent.”

He has a good point because A, this is not in the interest of local democracy and B, it is certainly not within the spirit of The Big Society.

Brian Pinner continues “Only the cabinet has the opportunity for real consideration of the proposal and it is not unknown, I am told, for the “prime minister” to sack any cabinet member who questions his judgement – rather like Tony Blair…….So, of the 55 Conservative members of the council, less than 15 have any say in what is happening. Opposition members have even less involvement.”

A cabinet like this can end up being distant from the electorate.

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2 Responses to Response to Brian Pinner’s letter to Evening Star. 28/12/10

  1. ipswichspy says:

    Brian Pinner’s point would have more validity if he had done a little research. There are 8 portfolio holders at SCC. The Cabinet/Leader model is very similar to the Executive/Leader model used by IBC. Or the Cabinet/Leader model used by SCDC, MSDC, and St Eds BC. Only Forest Heath and Babergh retain the old committee system, which had its own drawbacks.

    The Cabinet system, forced on Local Authorities by John Prescott, has numerous problems. This letter does highlight some of them. But they aren’t limited to SCC alone. And the Tories have offered no plans to change them. We are not aware that IBC are asking DCLG for permission to return to the committee system.

  2. A letter tday was
    “I READ with great interest the letter in the Evening Star from Mr Pinner. I remember him of old when we had a great council with councillors who were really part of the community and listened to what people said. I disagreed with Mr Pinner on many occasions but he was always fair and listened to what I had to say.
    Now we have a council led by Mr Pembroke and his cabinet who listen to no one and he acts like a prime minister more than an elected local councillor. Perhaps we will get a change in the next local elections if people remember.”

    Of course as the next local elections are not county council election there won’t be any differance.

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