Council may scrap committees – but not yet and not for an elected mayor, says leader

Posted On 01 Aug 2017 at 5:59 pm

The prospect of an elected mayor of Brighton and Hove has been ruled out by Brighton and Hove City Council leader Warren Morgan.

Councillor Morgan said that the current committee set-up may be scrapped – but not before the next local elections in 2019.

If the council does scrap committees, it is likely to go back to the cabinet system which is widely used elsewhere.

Brighton and Hove was one of the last councils in the country to adopt the cabinet system but scrapped it because most councillors felt left out of the decision-making process.

Councillor Morgan said: “There will be no changes to the governance of the council before the elections in 2019 – and no proposals from us for an elected mayor.

“All other councils use the cabinet system and in a time when more and more is done in bodies like Greater Brighton and Transport for the South East with other authorities, we need to look at working in the same way.

“People expect clear leadership and a sense of direction – and a system where smaller parties like the Greens effectively have a veto over what gets done is one we need to consider changing in my view.”

The cabinet system was scrapped when the Greens ran the council with opposition councillors from the Labour and Conservative parties complaining about being sidelined and silenced.

The debate was opened up by a peer review report which described the council’s current committee system as not fit for purpose.

The report looked at the issue at the council’s request and recommended a “re-set”.

The only two alternatives to the committee system are a cabinet or an elected mayor – and the government has been pressing councils to go for the mayoral option.

Insiders believe that if an elected mayor was in prospect for Brighton and Hove, he or she would run a bigger area such as that covered by the new Greater Brighton Economic Board.

But all the other councils in the Greater Brighton area are Conservative, making it unattractive to the current political administration.

Unlike the new report, the previous peer review carried out for the council praised the way the committee system worked in Brighton and Hove.

  1. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    With a Cabinet system, Hove’s Carnegie Library would be closed down by Labour.

  2. Valerie Paynter Reply

    With a Cabinet system, the bullying of planning officers to recommend approval of inappropriate planning applications and major developments would be rammed past all barriers, policies, laws and arguments (more than now) so desperado political parties in power can declare achievement of “landmark architecture” that will “put the city on the map” “boost tourism” and provide “much needed housing” – and none of it will be true.

    The truth is: Politicians are like obsessively squabbling back-seat kids distracting whoever is driving the car. It is how carcrash decisions get made (like the King Alfred planning consent of 2007 five minutes before the local election that year).

    No way of organising politicians is going to stop this, but the Cabinet System puts heady lttle children behind the driving wheel and the concussed driver (Planning officer)out cold on the back seat.

  3. A. J. B Reply

    The worst thing ever to have happened to councils is the cabinet system.
    Hope you fight it tooth and nail.

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