20th Oct, 2020

‘Council needs radical reform to stop poor decision-making’- Green councillor says

A RADICAL overhaul of the way Worcestershire County Council is run is needed, according to a Green county councillor.

Coun Matthew Jenkins, who represents St Stephen Ward in Worcester, is calling for the cabinet system of running the county council to be brought to an end, and a committee-style system introduced.

He claims the changes are needed because the current system is placing power in the hands of only a few councillors who make up the cabinet, leading to other members and residents becoming disenfranchised with the process.

Currently, the county council is run by the Conservative administration where most decisions are made by cabinet, and are then passed to full council for final approval.

But with a Conservative majority, their proposals are more than likely to be approved.

Coun Jenkins said: “Following the decision by Worcester City Council to return to a committee system, it is now time to consider the same system at County Hall. I am hopeful that we can reach a cross-party agreement to start this process.

“I will be proposing the motion, with Liberal Democrat Councillor Tom Wells seconding. This is a great opportunity to open up the workings of the council to allow real scrutiny of policy decisions.

“Currently, major decisions are taken by members of the cabinet and then rubber-stamped at full council, with very little meaningful scrutiny. This is not good enough and can lead to some poor decisions.”

In response, the Deputy Leader of Worcestershire County Council, Coun Anthony Blagg, said: “The County Council is a much larger and more complex organisation than Worcester City Council and because a system is being brought in there does not automatically make it suitable at County Hall.

“It is at present not widely used in counties and there are only three in the country who have adopted it, so I will listen to their arguments on it’s merits for running a strategic organisation with a budget of circa £380million.”

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