Mark Whitehead 30 May 2017

Council switches to committee rule to make authority more ‘democratic’

Councillors in Basildon have switched to a system based on committees rather than a leader and cabinet, in a move they say will make the authority more democratic and effective.

The committee system is one of three forms of governance a council can choose – the others are the leader and cabinet – which Basildon used to have - and an elected mayor and cabinet.

The decision taken last year was put into effect at the council’s annual general meeting which elected councillors to a range of committees.

The change cannot be reversed for five years unless it is approved in a referendum.

It means no-one can use the title of leader of the council, although the chairman of the policy and resources committee will assume the responsibilities of leader.

Policy and resources committee chairman Gavin Callaghan said: ‘We have taken a very important step to change the way that decisions are made because we believe it will make the council more democratic and more effective.

‘It is now down to us to prove it.

‘All of us need to commit ourselves to listening to what our constituents and our communities are saying and to making sound decisions based on good evidence and careful consideration. We will need to work together and listen to each other too.’

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