Continued from Council (Extraordinary) (Wirral Council) 30th April 2013 | Revisions to the Constitution | Cllr Foulkes “it was the committee system that actually put in the policies that led to the overcharging within the Klonowski report”
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Council (Extraordinary) (Wirral Council) 30th April 2013 | Revisions to the Constitution | Cllr John Hale “these proposals should be consigned to the dustbin where they belong”
Cllr Hale thanked Cllr Tom Harney for his kind remarks. He referred to the Chief Executive’s report to Cabinet of the 18th April, page 46 (page 8 on the file that’s linked to) and quoted from 5.3 “The views of the Democracy Working Party which has met on a number of occasions have helped inform these proposals.”
He considered it to be misleading as it could be read that there was general support for the proposals, in fact a majority of the Democracy Working Party were opposed to the proposals. The Democracy Working Party had only met on five or six occasions for one and a half hours at a time, although it did overrun by ten minutes at its last meeting. Cllr Hale said that this was to review a constitution of one hundred and ninety-nine pages. He said, “I don’t believe this to be anything else except a cynical exercise carried out in order to claim full cross-party consideration and consultation when nothing could be further from the truth.”
Cllr Hale said the result would be to give greater power to Cabinet and the Chief Officers. Fourteen months ago over 70% of councillors voted for a return to the committee system. He said even if they assumed that the new councillors were against a return to the committee system that there would still be a majority in favour of it. Cllr Hale said that this had been the result of a secret ballot.
He said democracy was best served when all parties in proportion to their numbers were represented in the decision making process at all levels of the Council. Cllr Hale referred to the freedom that overview and scrutiny committees have and that no new powers were given to them, just their names were changed.
Cllr Hale said the coordinating committee would have ample opportunity to interfere with and constrain the overview and scrutiny committees. He felt the changes to the Council meeting procedures would reduce the time for opposition councillors whilst increasing the time for the majority party councillors. Cllr Hale said “any third world dictator would be proud” and that “these proposals should be consigned to the dustbin where they belong”.