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.