Brighton & Hove City Council will be compelled to change its current committee style decision-making process by the government by mid 2009 at the latest.
Recent decisions in the Lords’ committee on the Local Government Bill is supporting the government in forcing the council to abandon the current committee system and move to a Leader and Cabinet style of governance by May 2009.
The government can force a change of governance on councils and there is a suggestion that Brighton & Hove has been specifically targeted. The move has angered some members of the council which has operated a committee system since 2002 when it became the fall-back position after the defeat of a campaign for a directly elected mayor. It is one of very few local authorities in the UK to use the committee system.
Council leader Brian Oxley says: "We are appalled that central government has chosen to ignore local democracy. This council has cross-party support to retain the committee system which offers all political parties the opportunity to represent their constituents in public in a clear and transparent way”
“It’s important that all councillors have the opportunity to represent their communities and contribute to debates and decisions as they are taken. Our particular arrangements have worked well in Brighton & Hove and I am going to continue lobbying the government to retain them.”
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