Power share proposal for Wokingham councilBy Jon Nurse
July 27, 2012
Decision making powers could be shared among more councillors after the borough council took steps towards shifting their governance system.
The Lib Dems claim the move could mean the outcome of contentious decisions in future, such as green waste and public toilets, could be different.
A motion to examine how Wokingham Borough Council might change its decision-making process was unanimously supported at a full council meeting last Thursday .
A move away from the current executive system, which is led by nine members of the controlling party, could open the door for all councillors to be involved in decisions.
Councils had been forced under the Labour government to bring in an executive and scrutiny system to replace the previous committees, but are now free to choose how they set up their decision-making process after the Localism Act last year.
The motion was forwarded by Leader of Wokingham’s Lib Dems Councillor Prue Bray, who said she was delighted with the response.
She added: “This is a great opportunity to make sure residents’ views from across the borough are better represented when the council makes decisions.
“If this had been in place then some past poor decisions such as the green waste scheme and closing public toilets might have been different.
“I am glad there was cross party support for this Lib Dem suggestion.
“I am looking forward to working with all political groups to deliver the best system possible for residents. Anything that improves local democracy and gets more people involved is a good thing for Wokingham borough.”
Cllr Anthony Pollock, executive member for finance, said: “I served under the old system before the new system was imposed on us by Tony Blair.
“A committee system will require more work from the backbenchers. We do need to find a way for backbenchers to be providing more so those of us with the torch at the moment can pass it on to those who will follow us.”
A report on options for changing Wokingham’s governance arrangements will be received and debated at a future full council meeting.