Fringe Box



Return to Committee System Proposal from Lib Dems to be Debated Tonight

Published on: 7 Oct, 2014
Updated on: 7 Oct, 2014

Localism Act 2011 with handsLiberal Democrat councillors will be calling upon Guildford Borough Council (GBC) to move to a modernised committee system at tonight’s full council meeting (Tuesday, October 11).

The move is prompted by the Liberal Democrat group’s growing concern over failings in GBC’s current Executive-led governance structure.

If agreed by the majority of councillors, the motion requires that council officers prepare a report on governance options available to the council for discussion on 11th February 2014 with the view to implementation of any new governance structure from January 2016.

Speaking about the motion Cllr David Goodwin (Lib Dem, Friary & St Nicolas) who is proposing the motion, said: “We believe the current system is no longer fit for purpose. There is a need for greater councillor involvement in and understanding of the council’s decision making process. It is also essential that there is far greater transparency in that process too.

“While some of us have not had experience of the committee system, we have a widely felt frustration at the lack of involvement for councillors, especially back bench councillors who have no place on the scrutiny committees. In some cases decisions relating directly to our wards can be made with no involvement from the relevant councillors.

“While the Executive make decisions for the whole of the borough and not just for their own wards, the input from the councillors who have the necessary knowledge of the ward must be imperative.”

Cllr Caroline Reeves (Friary & St Nicolas) the leader of the Lib Dem group, who is seconding the motion, added: “The preparation of the Local Plan is a prime example of a process which should have input from all councillors, who understand the planning and housing issues in their own area.

“The committee system would give every councillor the opportunity for wider and deeper involvement in decision making. Our aim would be to have a refined committee system supported by the improvements to the scrutiny committees that have been achieved over the last 18 months. Scrutiny is a vital part of making council decisions and should have greater support and be developed further.”

The council meeting at Millmead is scheduled to commence at 7pm.

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