Lib Dems slam cabinet move

June 22, 2008 9:54 AM

Brentwood Liberal Democrat councillors have slammed Conservative plans to change to a cabinet system of local government on Brentwood Borough Council. They reacted angrily to the news when it was announced as an urgent item of business at Wednesday's Policy Panel meeting (18/6/08).

Up until now Brentwood Borough Council has always operated a Committee/Panel structure of meetings to conduct the council's business and this has enabled members from all the political parties to play an active role in the decision making process. However the move to a cabinet system of local government will mean that many major council decisions will now be made by an individual cabinet member leaving the majority of councillors excluded from the process.

The cabinet system operates already in nearby Chelmsford but it is known that members from all the political parties are unhappy with the way it operates. The Conservatives in Brentwood will be legally forced to undertake a public consultation exercise on their cabinet proposals but they will definitely face a tough fight from the Liberal Democrats who have said they will be urging residents to stay with the existing Committee/Panel system.

Liberal Democrat Leader Cllr David Kendall said

"We do not believe the move to a cabinet system in Brentwood will enhance the democratic process and have serious concerns that it will close down debate on many of the key issues facing the Borough. The current Committee/Panel system has served our community very well up until now and we see no reason to change it.

"We don't believe it is a sensible idea to put even more power into the hands of a small clique of councillors and we will be actively campaigning against the Conservatives cabinet proposal."