Local Lib Dems are delighted that there is now an opportunity to open up Wokingham Borough Council’s decision making process so that all councillors might in future have more involvement in decisions.
Leader of the local Lib Dems, Prue Bray, proposed that the Council look at how it might change its decision-making process, and this was supported by the Conservatives. If the review agrees that a committee based system could replace the current 10-member Executive, then all 54 councillors would become more involved.
Cllr Prue Bray said “This is a great opportunity to make sure that residents’ views from across the Borough are better represented when the Council makes decisions. If this had been in place, then some past poor decisions such as the green waste scheme and closing public toilets might have been different. I am glad there was cross-party support for this Lib Dem suggestion. The Council has now committed to look at this, and I am looking forward to working with all political groups to deliver the best system possible for residents. Anything that improves local democracy and gets more people involved is a good thing for Wokingham Borough.”
1/ The Labour government forced councils to bring in an Executive and Scrutiny system to replace the previous committees. This was changed by the localism act and councils are now free to chose how they want to set up their decision making process.
2/ Councils which have already moved back to the committee system include Sutton, Notts County Council and South Gloucestershire.
3/ Some small district councils were exempt from the Executive system and have retained committees.
4/ At the council meeting on 19th July, Cllr Prue Bray proposed the motion: “Under the Localism Act 2011, local authorities gained the freedom to determine for themselves whether to operate an executive system, a committee system, or other agreed governance arrangements. This Council wishes to consider what the most appropriate governance system is for Wokingham, and therefore refers this matter for investigation to the Overview & Scrutiny Management Committee to determine who manages the investigation, with a report on options for changing Wokingham’s existing governance arrangements to be received and debated at a future meeting of the full Council.”