Leader Cllr. Brian Oxley has decried the government’s enforced scrapping of the Council’s committee system as ‘an affront to local democracy’.
The government’s continuing insistence on forcing the council to abandon its decision-making process and adopt one of three new mechanisms based around a leader and a small cabinet, as outlined in the recent Local Government White Paper, has angered the leading Conservative Group.
Minister for Local Government John Healey has rejected an appeal from the council to be able to keep the current committee-based system, and remains insistent that the council moves to a ‘Leader and Cabinet’ style of governance by May 2009 at the latest.
Councillor Oxley said: ”The current structure has cross-party support in the city. It enables all political parties to represent their constituents in public in a clear and transparent way.
“The government’s insistence on forcing through change on this issue is an affront to local democracy. It flies in the face of common sense.
“We’ve successfully operated our committee system since 2002. There is no need to change it. We have tried everything we can to make central government reconsider this issue, but they are simply not listening.”
Brighton & Hove is the only unitary authority in the UK to have the committee system but if the council refuses to move to a new system, the government could impose a new leader and cabinet constitution on the city.
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