Brentwood Accord takes control Tories now the opposition party

June 13, 2014 7:43 AM
Opposition leaders celebrate their wins on election night

Brentwood Accord Leaders

On Wedneday, at an historic annual council meeting the Conservative party lost control of the borough council after ten years to the Brentwood Accord: the former opposition made up of three parties and the independent councillor.

At the meeting:

  • Cllr Vicky Davies (Lib Dem) was elected Mayor of Brentwood
  • Cllr Roger Keeble (Independent) was elected Deputy Mayor of Brentwood
  • Cllr Barry Aspinell (Lib Dem) was elected Leader of the Council
  • Cllr William Lloyd (Brentwood First) was elected Deputy Leader of the Council

The Brentwood Accord is an agreement between the Liberal Democrats, Brentwood First, Labour and the Independent Councillor and its aims are to work in the best interests of Brentwood giving openness and transparency to residents, freedom of speech, proactive public engagement and empowering residents.

The Accord has vowed to:

  • undertake a comprehensive audit of the entire Council
  • undertake a complete review of the Constitution to ensure a return to absolute democracy
  • propose a revised budget within one hundred days of Annual Council
  • commence the process of changing to whole-council elections with effect from 2016
  • work towards restoring staff morale and mutual respect amongst all.

Cllr William Lloyd, Deputy Leader of Brentwood Council, said:

"An hour in to the Accord administration, we had already made a good start on our goals; we changed the constitution to stop the silly business the Tories introduced of making councillors book their questions 24 hours ahead of any meeting they wished to speak at, introduced a meaningful committee structure that residents can understand, reduced the cost of democracy by £3,242 with our councillors doubling up on a number of roles but only claiming one allowance, insisted that the staff call us by our first names and not our titles and new chairs had engaged with our lead officers regarding our goals for Brentwood for the following year. Not a bad start!"

Cllr Barry Aspinell, Leader of the Council, said:

"I look forward to leading an open and transparent council with ambitious goals for Brentwood - including making some of the difficult decisions the Tories had been putting off for years. This is a new dawn for Brentwood that will see honest politics that takes residents' views into consideration.

"We will represent the people to the council; not the council to the people."

Other key appointments made last night include:

Cllr Barry Aspinell (Lib Dem) - Finance and Resources Committee Chair

Barry will be taking control of the council's finances and delivering a new budget within 100 days as well as overseeing council contracts and procurement, revenues and benefits and IT.

Cllr Phil Baker (Brentwood First) - Planning Committee Chair

Phil will oversee the planning and development in the borough, approving or refusing planning applications.

Cllr Ross Carter (Lib Dem) - Housing Committee Chair

Ross is responsible for the housing in the borough, as well as building new council houses, homelessness, tenancies, landlords and benefits.

Cllr Karen Chilvers (Lib Dem) - Community Committee Chair

Karen will take the lead on community matters, community grants, parish council liaison and activities and events in our open spaces and parks.

Cllr Graeme Clark (Lib Dem) - Audit and Scrutiny Committee Chair

Graeme's committee provides the arrangements for the proper administration of the Council's financial affairs, including all relevant strategies and plans as well as the scrutiny work that was previously Overview & Scrutiny, including monitoring complaints and performance.

Cllr Liz Cohen (Lib Dem) - Licensing Committee Chair

Liz will be dealing with licensing issues such as taxi licensing, animal welfare, piercing and tattooing, sex establishments, pavement permits, charity collections and scrap metal dealers.

Cllr William Lloyd (Brentwood First) - Environment Committee Chair

William will be responsible for environmental issues including waste management and recycling, street services and maintenance, as well as unlawful incursions.

Cllr David Kendall (Lib Dem) - Business and Town Centres Committee Chair

David will be dealing with economic growth, enterprise, development, business excellence and oversee retail areas in Brentwood borough, as well as working with the Chambers of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses.

Cllr Philip Mynott (Lib Dem) - Lead Member for Working Groups

Philip will oversee all the working groups including the Constitutional Working Group, the Crossrail Working Group and the William Hunter Way Working Group.

Cllr Russell Quirk (Brentwood First) - Asset Committee Chair

Russell will manage halls, buildings and land belonging to the council including leases and licenses and ensuring an entrepreneurial approach to publicly owned assets that will achieve an income for the council.

Cllr Barry Aspinell said:

"William and I have assembled this team on the basis of skills and experience and are confident we have the team to deliver a better Brentwood.

"It is a shame the Tories have chosen to play silly by attacking us on allowances when they have been happily enjoying them for ten years, for very little value in delivery. Many councillors have to take unpaid time off work to fulfil their roles as councillors and if they have a brief to manage a considerable budget then I feel that it is only fair to pay them for the job they are doing. It is up to the individual councillor to decide if they take the allowance or not and that is a private matter for them. I am more than happy for the people of Brentwood to judge us on our value for money."

"There is a lot of work to do for The Accord and its members but I am confident we will deliver."

Notes on Allowances and SRAs

Members Basic Allowance (salary): £6,010

Leader = £13,217

Deputy Leader = £6,380

Opposition Leader = £5,318

Chairs = £3,546

Vice-Chairs = £967

Lead for Working Groups = £2,256

Mayor = £3,333

Deputy Mayor = £758

The bill for this year is £3,242 less than last year.

NOTE: Members can only take one allowance, even if they have multiple SRA roles. No expenses are claimed over and above the SRA.

Issued: Thursday 12th June 2014 by Cllr Karen Chilvers & Cllr Russell Quirk, Brentwood Accord members.