onlineFOCUS – News and Stuff For Rochford District since 2003

 

July 26th, 2014 |

A Slap In The Face

Next Tuesday’s Full Council has a lot going on. But the most important thing is a motion from the Conservative Group.

You see, Rochford has something called a cabinet system. Instead of decisions by a committee, most things are decided by the ‘cabinet’, an elite group of councillors. Sometimes they decide matters in cabinet meetings, but on many items they have delegated powers, so that the councillor dealing with, say , grass cutting, can decide something on grass cutting by himself.

The plus point with this that its meant to be quicker. The negative is that the experience and local knowledge of all the 30 ‘ordinary’ councillors is ignored. The cabinet are all Conservatives and ordinary councillors aren’t allowed to speak or ask questions at cabinet meetings. Though we are allowed to watch, and, so far at least, breathe.

There are two democratic safeguards in the council constitution allowing ordinary councillors to challenge these decisions. One is that the Review Committee, currently chaired by Michael Hoy from the Green Party, can ‘call in ‘ a decision for review, discuss it, and then send it back to the cabinet. The other way is that any 3 councillors can call in a decision to the next ordinary Full Council meeting. Please note that in the case of urgent decisions, there is no right to call something in.

The constitution says that the powers should only be used in exceptional circumstances. And in fact there don’t seem to have been any call ins between May 2013 and April this year. But we haven’t had an ‘ordinary’ meeting of council since April, and there have been 4 call-ins since then. They all come to the council next Tuesday.

These 4 call-ins seem to have upset the Tories immensely. They don’t like things being challenged.. So they have put forward a motion to abolish the right of councillors to call in things to full council. It is almost certainly going to be whipped through.

So we will then have a situation where ordinary councillors will have no way of challenging a decision by one of the cabinet. That’s appalling. It’s a slap in the face for local democracy. It’s a slap in the face for anyone who voted for Liberal Democrat Chris Black, Residents councillor John Mason, UKIP’s John Hayter, Labour’s Jerry Gibson, or indeed Conservative Jack Lawmon, who isn’t in the cabinet.

If the Tories want to speed things up, hold more frequent council meetings, or allow ordinary councillors to speak at cabinet meetings!

10 Responses to “A Slap In The Face”

  1. 1
    Christine Paine:

    So basically anyone in a ward without a Tory councillor is now effectively disenfranchised and Rochford is now run by a dictatorship. Surely this is abuse of power, I can’t believe the cabinet system was intended to work this way. Can’t it be reported to the Secretary of State or someone. I appreciate you may not be able to do this Chris, but can an ordinary voter complain that their democratic freedom has been effectively removed from the.

  2. 2
    Jim Cripps:

    The Junta form of decision making is already firmly in place – the answer to my question that I have been allowed to ask in the next Council meeting will no doubt
    be that the decision was taken in Cabinet
    However I am allowed a follow up response question and they don’t know what that is.

    THIS council meting needs a packed public gallery to make it clear we are not impressed with this whittling away of democracy.

  3. 3
    Gary:

    If they try to pass this through shouldn’t the non conservative cllrs request a public referendum / consultation ending with a public online vote. I found the following on the web and was shocked to read what the council can do. If this gets through as seems likely perhaps the community should set up an e-petition to capture public vote. https://www.lgbce.org.uk/about-us/about-reviews/about-community-governance-reviews. It is unlikely the Council will.

  4. 4
    A.Matthews:

    Junta thats the word I was struggling to find this morning ,lost for words .I can see you are not happy admin .Local government is in great danger through public apathy,relevance to their everyday life does not register with many .Seems a very strange way to squeeze out any opposition to this one party state .This does need greater exposure but the press in this part of the world seems to be in the same grip.I will try ton be there Tuesday ,work and providing cheap food for the masses allowing !

  5. 5
    Chris Black:

    Gary @3 . I’ve been taken advice from Lib Dems elsewhere in the UK and am now studying what’s happened at Fylde in Lancashire , where a public referendum has scrapped the cabinet system : http://www.fylde.biz/

    Alistir @4 . You could say I’m not happy , but that would be a charming understatement! I’ve been on the council for 30 years,always felt that the council chamber was fundamentally a friendly place where people could air their views and be listened to with respect. That looks set to change. I’ve also always felt that our residents have benefited from being part of a small council, rather than being lumped in with Southend or Basildon. I’m having my doubts now.

  6. 6
    Anon1:

    Hello Chris I think the most important part of this to think on is that when the Conservatives lose seats in the up and coming elections. If they lose seats then it will also make it harder for them when the opposition take control. And mark my words I believe in 2016 when all seats come up they will lose overall control you heard it here first. You will also notice that not all the Councillors on the Conservative side have put there name to it!!! Enjoy yourself on Tuesday!!

  7. 7
    Anon1:

    I would like to see a return to the old proper democratic way of about 13 yrs ago when you had a very good debate in chamber not having the Conservatives fix everything in private group meetings before full council or Executive meetings. Democracy is the best way forward. The chamber has always in the past been a very friendly place but the conservatives think they are better than everyone else. The Chairman’s reception showed how different things have become when you have a couple of table’s away from everyone else and you have all the people the conservative don’t feel they can talk to because they believe them to be under them. It’s time to except that all Cllrs are equal.

  8. 8
    Gary:

    Dear Anon 1. ALthough I and I would imaging the whole of the electorate have not seen the proposal being put forward by RDC regarding the Electoral boundaries, I have a sneaky suspicion that their proposal will address the possibility of them losing majority with the current structure by re-designing boundaries that will allow them to use their electoral canvassing data to identify wards that they have a large majority for and to cut this up and integrate into a ward that they lose by a narrow margin, thereby turning a non Conservative into a Conservative ward. We as a community need to be aware of such tactics and present to the review a proposal that most of us are in favour of. i.e, do the reverse of what I just described above. Hope you and everyone follows this.

  9. 9
    Gary:

    Well done Chris! That’s is definitely one of the benefits in having a large political organization behind you. Definitely worth thinking about and putting to the community.

  10. 10
    Christine Paine:

    Gary @ 8 – very sneaky. I never though of that one, bet they have though.

Leave a Reply


six − 3 =

You can add images to your comment by clicking here.

Choose the layout you want to see

October 2014
M T W T F S S
« Sep    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Who We Are

We are Liberal Democrat councillors and campaigners in Rochford District.
We want to improve local decision-making and we see onlineFOCUS as a good way of keep residents informed and involved.
Please click here to email us .

viewfrommount

Comments Policy

We welcome your comments, they are very important to us. However please note:
* We may not necessarily agree with the comments made by our readers
* We ask everyone to treat people with respect when making a comment. No personal abuse please.



Daily Reporting by Chris Black

With support from:
Ron Oatham Ron Oatham Bruce Smart Bruce Smart Chris Stanley Chris Stanley

Latest Comments

  • Linda Kendall: One of those with Nil Points was being really talked up at a function I attended this week. Suggest...
  • Linda Kendall: Oz. Are you aware that on top of the huge expenses this lot voted for themselves our wonderful...
  • John Mason: Will it be possible (likely?) for Landlords to pass on these additional costs to them in increased rental...
  • Sean: From the Echo article: In January, 70 per cent of Basildon’ s streetlights were switched off saving...
  • The Mighty Oz: Take a look at this people….I can think of one cut back straight away… http://www.e...
  • Linda Kendall: Jim @ 2 above. I think we in Rayleigh Action Group need a pat on the back for achieving what no one...
  • admin: Hi Bruce the link is below. – chapter 6 is the summary: http://www.roch ford.gov.uk/sit es/rochford....
  • JIM Cripps: Let us not forget that the Chief ( Cutmore )and Deputy Chief ( Hudson ) Councillors made a pledge ( in...
  • bruce smart: Admin Do you have the figures for the amount of pitches that should be provided by the local authority...
  • admin: Yes, you are right Jim, should have done it by now, sorry. The “view planning applications 221; pages...
  • Jim Cripps: ADMIN @ 15 – can we get the RTSSC objection on here please….. ?
  • Christine Paine: Unfortunately there is no legal obligation for riders to clear up horse poo as, unlike dog poo, it...
  • Linda Kendall: Oz. Ask Asda they will have a camera on the cash machines. It would be in their interest if this is...
  • A.Matthews: Once upon a time people would fight over horse poo for their gardens but now of course there are hardly...
  • Corey Vost: I do recall when we moved into our property I had a telephone conversation with a Planning Officer at RDC...
  • Christine Paine: Admin, thanks but I don’t think it would necessarily help. During the day satnav seems to...
  • The Mighty Oz: HORSE POO ! Not sure if this is the right place for this post but, if you own the horse that poops not...
  • Greenbelt: Admin, My recollection was that house numbers in Rawreth Lane coincided wuth the introduction of post...
  • admin: Good question, not sure of the answer. Though I vaguely recall that some years ago. – maybe 20- RDC were...
  • admin: Have emailed county highways twice since your lat comment re Priory Chase Corey, don,t seem to have had a...
  • Corey Vost: So is it the responsibility of the Council to ensure emergency services (or anyone for that matter) can...
  • bruce smart: The decisions are made but afterwards the unforeseen problems arise. We could say that these issues...
  • Jim Cripps: Presumably Labour sided with Tory because they are both frightened of UKIP – and that is a good...
  • Christine Paine: We have that problem in our road Linda. No numbers, just names. It was bad enough at night when we...

Recent Posts


Lib Dem logo
Legal Statement for the purposes of complying with electoral law: This website is published and promoted by by Bruce Smart at 12 Ferndale Road, Rayleigh, on behalf of Liberal Democrat Candidates all at 12 Ferndale Road, Rayleigh The technology and hosting used for this website is provided by 1&1 Internet Limited, The Nova Building, Herschel Street Slough SL1 1XS

Technical Help : Graham Osborn

Posts To Remember

Categories

Categories

Asda or Makro Council Budget Crime & Policing District Core Strategy District Wide Elections Essex & East Future Housing Green Belt Highways & Parking History and Culture Hockley Hullbridge Leisure and Sport Liberal Democrats Local Democracy Local Facilities National Politics No Category Planning Applications Rawreth Rayleigh Rochford Web Stuff YouTube and Video

500 HOUSES BETWEEN LONDON ROAD AND RAWRETH LANE

There's lots of information on the District Council website about the planning application "North of London Road ". To see it , just click here.

The Core Strategy

This is the official master document for planning policy in our district! To download it, click here click here. (2.5mb)

Planning Applications…

If you want information on a particular planning application, you can find it on the District Council website here.

If you want to know what new planning applications have been submitted this week, click here.

Reporting A Problem

If you want to report a problem, you can email Lib Dems councillors by clicking here.
There's also an independent website called FixMyStreet. It's very good for reporting minor street problems like holes in the road, grafitti or failed streetlights. You can find FixMyStreet here.

Essex Political Blogs

Geography, History , Science

Lib Dem Websites

Local Council Websites

Local History

Local Info

Non-Political Stuff

Other Lib Dem Blogs

Planning Issues

Join Your Local Team

If you read onlineFOCUS for a while you can see the kind of things we are trying to achieve locally. Maybe you would like to help us?


If you fancy helping us deliver leaflets, or actively campaigning for us at election time, or simply just helping behind the scenes with paperwork, please contact the onlineFOCUS team here.

“Rayleigh was the birthplace of Britain’s first surviving quintuplets, but that’s just one of its many claims to fame”

When the Olympic Torch came to Rayleigh, Chris Black wrote about the town in the Guardian - read it here

Join the National Team

If you would like email updates on what the Lib Dems are doing nationally, click here.
If you would like to join the Lib Dems click here.

Meta