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New Borough Council Executive Announced Following Lib Dem Election Win

Published on: 23 May, 2023
Updated on: 26 May, 2023

GBC Executive May 2023 Click on image to enlarge

By Martin Giles

The leader of the Guildford Borough Council (GBC), Julia McShane, has announced her new Executive team. This follows her own election as leader at the Selection Council last week.

See: New Borough Council Administration Kicks-off by Re-electing Lib Dem Leader

The Executive members and their portfolio responsibilities will be:

  • Cllr Julia McShane: leader, HousingHomelessness; Housing advice; Housing maintenance and repairs; Landlord services
  • Cllr Tom Hunt: deputy leader, RegenerationCorporate capital projects; Housing delivery; Transport; Regeneration, Economic Development, Transport
  • Cllr Angela Goodwin: Engagement and Customer ServicesCommunications and engagement; Complaints, Ombudsman; Customer services, case management; Digital services; FOI; ICT and business systems;
  • Cllr Catherine Houston: Commercial DevelopmentBuilding control; Events; Heritage; Leisure, Parking (off street)
  • Cllr Richard Lucas: Finance and PropertyFinance and accounting (General Fund/Housing Revenue Account); Internal Audit; Procurement; Revenues and Benefits; Property and land assets; Engineers; Facilities
  • Cllr Carla Morson: Community & Organisational DevelopmentCareline; Community grants; Community Safety, including Community Safety Partnership; Disabled facilities grants, adaptations; Family support; Health; Safeguarding; Supporting vulnerable people, migrants and refugees; Business transformation; HR, learning and development, payroll; Strategy, policy and performance; Programme assurance; Risk management, business continuity
  • Cllr George Potter: Planning, Environment and Climate ChangePlanning applications; Planning enforcement; Planning integration and improvement; Planning policy, design, conservation, Bereavement; Green spaces, parks, countryside, trees; Fleet operations; Street cleaning; Waste and recycling, Climate change
  • Cllr Merel Rehorst-Smith: Regulatory and Democratic ServicesAir quality, Corporate health and safety; Emergency planning; Environmental health/crime; Food safety; Licensing; Private sector housing, Democratic and committee services; Elections; Executive and civic support; GDPR; Information security, governance; Legal; Overview & Scrutiny support

The Executive consists of eight councillors all from the Liberal Democrat group. Up to ten councillors are allowed.

The leader in the “strong leader” model of local government, in place at GBC, can select any of the 48 elected councillors from whichever party but, in line with usual practice for a party that has an overall majority, McShane has selected only members from her own party which gained an overall majority, 25 of the 48 seats, at the local elections on May 4.

Cllr McShane said: “I am delighted to be working with the new Liberal Democrat Executive. We will be working to deliver on our pledge to ensure a greener, fairer, thriving future for all communities. We want Guildford and our villages to become even better places to live and work.”

A council spokesperson added: “All the lead councillors will take up their portfolio responsibilities straight away.”

Cllr Joss Bigmore

Cllr Joss Bigmore, leader of the Residents for Guildford & Villages group at GBC, commented: “I hope the other seven members of the Executive are donating part of their additional allowance to Cllr Potter who seems to have the work of four people.

“In all seriousness, it seems poor judgement to have such an unequal distribution of labour, not least because there are often conflicts between portfolios that require challenge and debate.

“Whilst we know Cllr Potter can start an argument with a mirror, it remains to be seen whether this will lead to the best decisions.”

Cllr James Walsh

Cllr James Walsh, Labour group leader, said: “We welcome the announcement of the new Executive. After the election, Cllr McShane magnanimously stated that her party does not have a monopoly of wisdom in the council –  we believe that an opportunity may have been missed in not adopting a more inclusive Executive from across the council.

“That said, we wish Cllr McShane and her team the best. The Labour Group will be watching how they do closely and hope to see rapid improvements in Guildford – particularly in Planning, Customer Service and [managing] the current forecast budget deficits.”

Philip Brooker leader of the Conservative Group added: “The Conservative Group clearly hopes that the new Lib Dem majority council will succeed, as failure would be to the detriment of all Guildford residents.

Cllr Philip Brooker

“The Lib Dems first took control of the council in 2019 and inherited a golden financial legacy from the previous Conservative administration, which is now, worryingly, unhealthy as a consequence of their period in office.

“There are significant problems to resolve particularly with Finance, Planning and Service Delivery, and the Lib Dems will have to demonstrate how they will achieve this. After four years of indifference, there is certainly scope for improvement.”

Councillor allowances

Members of the Executive and some other roles receive extra allowances, in addition to GBC’s basic councillor allowance of £7,405, to compensate for the extra time commitment their roles demand.

This is the table as published on the GBC website:

Councillor allowance table as published on GBC’s website. *The joint committee roles no longer exist.

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Responses to New Borough Council Executive Announced Following Lib Dem Election Win

  1. Wayne Smith Reply

    May 23, 2023 at 8:38 pm

    Is Robin Horsley pleased that Cllr Potter now has the Planning portfolio?

  2. George Potter Reply

    May 23, 2023 at 10:28 pm

    A new local mystery: The Guildford Dragon NEWS and the case of the disappearing R4GV comment.

    Several of my party colleagues noticed that this article was originally accompanied by a particularly spiteful and unpleasant personal comment from Joss Bigmore, as leader of R4GV, aimed at myself. Yet now it appears to have disappeared.

    I wonder why The Dragon has decided to scrub, without explanation, a comment it originally saw fit to publish?

    Cllr George Potter is a Lib Dem borough councillor for Burpham

    Editors response: An earlier version of the story appears to have been restored when a minor error on the graphic was fixed. Cllr Bigmore’s comment has now been put back in place. Apologies for the error.

    • Daniel Hill Reply

      May 25, 2023 at 8:06 pm

      George Potter need not be offended. I understand Joss Bigmore made his comment in a personal capacity.

  3. Jules Cranwell Reply

    May 26, 2023 at 7:17 am

    Well, given Mr Potter has been a constant apologist for the Tory Local Plan, there goes any hope for a meaningful review of the plan. They could not have placed the Planning portfolio in a worse pair of hands.

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