Residents to debate council system

September 15, 2008 4:59 PM
By Brentwood Weekly News reporter in Brentwood Weekly News

RESIDENTS are being given the chance to have their say on the way the council is run.

Brentwood Borough Council is considering making changes to how it makes decisions, by replacing the current committee structure with a cabinet-style executive system. A cabinet system would comprise either a leader and a cabinet or a directly-elected mayor and a cabinet.

Before the final decision is taken, the Council would like to hear the views of local residents, interested parties and other stakeholders. A consultation paper has already been sent out to all 70,000 residents and people have until September 24 to vote.

There is a legal requirement for local authorities with a population of more than 85,000 to adopt one of the executive models. But smaller authorities like Brentwood are not required to adopt the executive models and can instead operate alternative arrangements like the cross party committee system which is currently in place at Brentwood borough council.

Labour Leader, Mike Le Surf has welcomed the announcement. He said: "The Special Citizens' Panel is great news for residents as it will give people the chance to voice their concerns about the cabinet system. The Labour Group are opposing the system as the current open committee system works perfectly well for the residents of Brentwood."

David Kendall of the Liberal Democrats has expressed concerns about the meeting. He said: "I am pleased the Council have agreed to my request for a Special Citizens Panel meeting to be arranged so that residents have an opportunity to ask officers questions on the various options available. However, I still believe that the three party leaders should have been given an opportunity to give their view on the proposals and their party's preferred option.

"I am also concerned that there isn't going to be an evening meeting for those residents who can't attend during the day due to work commitments."

Residents are invited to attend a presentation next Thursday (September 18) at 3.30pm in the Council Chamber at the Town Hall. The presentation will cover the three decision-making models and will be followed by discussion time and a questions and answers session.

If you would like to attend the presentation please call 01277 312693 or email citizens@brentwood.gov.uk