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Letter: Council Changes Are Welcome But Committee System is Better

Published on: 14 Oct, 2013
Updated on: 18 Oct, 2013

GBC LogoFrom Gordon Bridger

Hon Alderman

The management changes proposed by the council are most welcome, as are the assurances by Cllr Mansbridge.

However the blunders by the council and the demoralisation of staff were not all just the result of bad management. Underlying them is a system of Executive rule, forced upon us by a Labour Government, which puts far too much work pressure on a few councillors on the Executive which meant that they could not cope with all the reports from council officers. The result was that officers, many quite ignorant of Guildford problems, made decisions.

The Localism Bill allows councils to revert to the committee system, which while slower, has two benefits: it means that reports by Officers are filtered through a committee before going to the Executive and gives many more Councillors are proper role. I understand that several councils have reverted to this system which is slower but more democratic and in the end more efficient. I hope our council will do the same.

Another management reform which I would urge councillors to implement, and which the Localism Bill allows, is to review the ridiculous restrictions placed on planning committee councillors from commenting and discussing planning applications before coming to committee and before they know what officers are likely to recommend. This limits proper open debate and gags councillors, quite unnecessarily as well as, once again, gives officers more responsibility than is necessary.

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Responses to Letter: Council Changes Are Welcome But Committee System is Better

  1. J Sinclair Reply

    October 15, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    I have often found the Hon Alderman Gordon Bridger’s input rather interesting, to say the least, and he is right on this one. There has been a clear lack of democracy and too many poor decisions which have caused great harm to the borough.

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