Now that there is no overall majority at the Council it is perhaps inevitable that their model of governance is to be revisited. Residents are invited to participate by completing a simple questionnaire by 14th January at www.spelthorne.gov.uk/currentconsultations
What is a governance model?
A governance model determines how an authority is run. There are three models of local government:
Leader and Cabinet - Spelthorne currently uses this model. This is also the system used in national governance.
Directly elected Mayor and Cabinet - This is the model used in London where the directly elected Mayor forms their cabinet and makes decisions for the area.
Committee System - This is the proposed system for Spelthorne and is used in other local authorities, for instance Maidstone.
Why is it important?
A good governance model provides:
- Accountability- responsibilities and accountability about who does what should be clear, within the Council and to residents
- Credibility - governance should assist good decision making, which involves proper and early scrutiny of policies and proposals
- Transparency - the decision-making process should be open and transparent to councillors, officers and to the public
- Collaboration - decision making should be collaborative across parties and less combative
- Timeliness - decision making should be both quick and effective and, when necessary, allow for urgent decision-making
What is the Council's current model?
Spelthorne Borough Council operates what is known as the Cabinet model of governance. This means that apart from the decisions which legally have to be taken by the Council and are delegated to officers, all other executive decisions are taken by the Cabinet which is made up of between 7-9 councillors selected by the Leader.
What will moving to a Committee model mean?
Under this system councils are divided into politically balanced committees that make the decisions. As such, these councils are not required to have an overview and scrutiny committee, though some do have one or more.
When the consultation closes, the Council will collate all our responses and comments and will take these into account as they further consider, develop and refine the proposed changes. There will be an update at the Council Meeting in February and this will confirm whether an extraordinary Council Meeting should be held in March to finalise and agree the proposed changes.