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Cllr John Gilbey’s thinking

Cllr John Gilbey
Cllr John Gilbey


The Council on Thursday passed a resolution from Conservative councillors to ask for governance by committee, which would become effective after the 2015 election. The Political Management Member Panel will now deal with that resolution.

I have made my position quite clear and repeated it on Thursday evening that an Executive system was the most effective and efficient form of local government in today’s world and this is supported by a great majority of councils across the country retaining this system. It speeds up process, notoriously slow in local government, means that councils can operate with fewer officers and therefore costs less in terms of staffing and productivity of meetings and does not result in any democratic deficit.

Nevertheless I voted for the resolution because it is right that a democratic settlement is needed and thus I succeeded in my desire that the many and not the few are to be involved in the process but with the maximum information available. This was previously denied as an alternative (a Commission) by one opposition party, much to my regret.

One thing that is clear is that if you are not an effective, thoughtful and contributory opposition party under an Executive system you will be similarly handicapped under any committee system. My conclusion is that we should be careful what we ask for!

John Gilbey’s Facebook site

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  1. The key problem with Cllr Gilbey’s defence of the Executive system is that it is founded on "efficiency" and "speed of process". But local government is about more than just these features – desirable, I agree, but not the only thing we need. Any form of democratic decision making must also – and primarily – be about effective representation. The current focus of this government, and CCC too it seems, has placed cost saving ahead of that engagement with the communities they serve. There is a cost involved in transparency of decision making, and a reduction of "efficiency" in speed, but those are burdens which any civilised society should be prepared to accept as part of the cost of a functioning democracy.

  2. contactCDCD@gmail.com

    Mr Wilson:
    Nail. Head. Bang!
    Thank you.

  3. Nail. Head. Bang!
    Thank you.

  4. Louisa and Adam

    I find myself bored by the opinion pieces presented on this blog, this being the latest, none of which include any firm evidence to support their hypothesis. John perhaps rightly states that, "… an Executive system was the most effective and efficient form of local government in today’s world" but, as ever, gives no evidence to support his assertion. Dave perhaps sensibly suggests that transparency and engagement should be the key requirements for democratic decision making but is there evidence that shows a Committee system trumps an Executive system in these respects? Meanwhile John takes a gratuitous swipe at unnamed opposition parties, as if we care about his petty political games.

    Please could you put together some decent evidence based research that offers some insight into the real and measured outcomes of each system both positive and negative, preferably without political comment as to the relative values of those outcomes. I have no doubt our politicians can be relied on to share their comments on those relative values elsewhere and in due course.

  5. Louisa and Adam: I have to agree with all that. As Cllr. John Wratten wrote a couple of weeks ago, the process of change is vital and needs to take account of exactly the points you raise. I think it was Sian Pettman who suggested talking with the Centre for Public Scrutiny to work through that. If we were to take up Cllr. Wratten’s idea of a conference that would be one place where we could deal with the important issue you raised in a non-partisan atmosphere.