I read and hear with dismay the grumbles about our local governance in Boston.
I say with dismay because the present public comments about lack of democratic process are undeniably true whilst we continue with our present single party Cabinet administration system.
Having seen, in 22 years on the Borough council, various forms of governance practised here I can honestly say that I believe the present ‘model’, practiced since the BBI landslide in 2007, is probably the worst form of local government to which I have been party.
In 1991 i was elected to a council where executive decisions were taken BY ALL COUNCILLORS at meetings of the full council.
Yes; a bit of a long process with council only meeting on an 8 week cycle, but every voter’s representative was involved.
1995 saw a Lab-Lib administration introduce a different style of decision-making format, but still one where all members could be executive decision makers.
This system used 3 decision-making Committees, dealing with the different areas of Council work, who’s members had to be politically balanced in line with the overall political balance of the whole council.
Obviously not all councillors were on every committee but any decision of such Committees, as an exception to the norm, could be sent for further discussion and ratification to a Full Council.
Again this was a system that overall required the involvement of all elected ward members as decision makers.
This system also, to a large degree, allowed members to specialise, according to their individual expertise and interests, by choosing which executive committee they would attend.
2000-2001 saw the introduction of the present system of Cabinet government. Until 2007 this system had a ‘rainbow’ Cabinet as the decision makers.
Since 2007 the Cabinet, the supreme decision making body, has become a single party entity-first the BBI and, since May ‘11, the Tories.
With so few representatives of the whole Council at the table (seven) when decisions are made it is not surprising the public are now saying, often through the media of the press, ‘what about our point of view’.
Of the above systems I know which one I would choose to feel comfortable that all ward members were able to represent their electorate in a truly democratic, meaningful fashion.
It is hoped that a report dealing with these matters, and giving members a choice to move back to a tried and tested more representative form of local Govenance in our Borough, will soon be brought before full Council.
Is there any chance that the present Conservative administration with their overall majority will allow any change?
Independents would certainly back it just to get every elected taxpayer’s representative at the decision making table.
Ask your local Councillor/s if they would do so.