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Letter: The Council Executive Should Represent the Whole Council

Published on: 6 Mar, 2017
Updated on: 6 Mar, 2017

From Colin Cross

Lib Dem borough councillor for Lovelace.

In response to Ben Paton’s letter: Political Parties Are An Inevitable Part of Government.

One way of creating a more democratic and transparent form of local government is to revisit the concept of the council’s political Executive.

This body is essentially an unelected cabal, selected by the council leader and comprising of his or her fellow party members, most of whom are given the lead roles in various areas of responsibility.

This creates a closed body who are then effectively responsible to no one or anything other than a degree of scrutiny which can often be side-stepped.

A better alternative would be for these 10 posts to be allocated on the same basis as the makeup of the whole council. So at Guildford Borough Council, for instance, as the Tories have 70% of the councillors they would have seven seats on the Executive, leaving three for members of the opposition.

This would at least offer some transparency to proceedings and bring some balance.

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Responses to Letter: The Council Executive Should Represent the Whole Council

  1. RWL Davies Reply

    March 6, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    A reform which could improve transparency, accountability and voter participation in local government elections.

    Generally, turnout in local government elections, at all levels, from parish to county,and all in between, is so laughably low as to utterly negate any “mandate” claimed by any “winner”.

    The present state of “local democracy” is characterised by voter apathy, as shown by the low turnouts.

    There are no easy answers to remedy this but if local democracy is to recover from it’s present dire straits then a remedy must be found.

    The solution might lie in engaging voters, perhaps by smart technology, to make local government interesting and accessible to those who live “locally” but leave for work early and return late; the majority of Guildford council tax payers would appear to fit this category.

    Give commuters the same opportunities to engage in “local politics” alongside those who work in the “locality” and have the time to carry out the necessary “networking”.

    Without decrying their work local government is now too pervasive to be dominated by stay at home local “worthies”, “activists”, “business persons” and, to all intents and purposes, “professional” councillors, some with “interesting” backgrounds, elected by a few hundred votes.

    If turnout in local elections continues to be so ludicrously low then central government, of whatever political hue, will increasingly dominate local affairs.

    Perhaps that’s what the voter/taxpayer wants?

    Given the calibre and efficiency of many local government organisations who could blame them?

  2. Alan Robertson Reply

    March 7, 2017 at 11:32 am

    Guildford Borough Council has always been run by a cabal. Councillors have no experience of any other means of running their affairs. This is why they make so many dubious decisions which are in their own interests rather than those of residents.

    It is time for honesty, transparency and working for the benefit of the whole community. However, it is unlikely that this will happen in Guildford in the foreseeable future.

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