Posted by: westlancashirerecord | October 19, 2018

How Much Time Does A Councillor Need To Reverse His Personal Policy?

You might enjoy reading the hot air that spews forth from some of our local politicians. For example on 15 August 2010 I asked Wally Westley “Why do we need 54 councillors? Surely we could get rid of about one third of them with a little judicious thought? That would lead to a smaller council, a smaller cabinet (less expenses) and a smaller administration, smaller salaries for the highly paid senior staff who would have less responsibility, smaller premises and the sale of some of the capital assets we own?”

On 16th August 2010 at 02.04 pm, Wally Westley replied to my query that “The number of Borough Councillors is set by the Government and the Boundary Commission. My personal view is that there are too many and that the number could be reduced by 50%”.

I replied “As for the number of councillors, why don’t you instigate a review of WLBC with the Boundary Commission? Perhaps the county might be trimmed down too?”

Back came Wally at 03.55pm, with his head in the sand  “I would not want to waste money on a Boundary Commission Review or the resultant election. There are far more important matters and it would only be an unnecessary distraction. Besides there are other related issues such as West Lancs having only one election every 4 years rather than the 3 current in place or sorting out the anomaly of wards having 1, 2 or 3 councillors. Halsall Ward has a single councillor and the electorate vote twice in a 4 year cycle i.e. once for LCC & once for WLBC. Aughton & Downholland Ward has three councillors and you vote every year i.e. the first 2 years have borough elections followed by a county election and then another borough election”.

It took Wally just one hour fifty-one minutes to do his about turn. That might be a record for dithering and vacillation for all I know.

On Wednesday at Full Council there was a Labour Group Motion including “That this council believes: That the potential for radical restructuring of Council governance exists within the SORP process, and should therefore be considered at this point in time; That it is appropriate that the role and number of elected members be considered equally alongside those of officers within the review process;

“That a concomitant review of governance and service delivery will provide the best opportunity for innovative changes across the council and the way in which its services are delivered at a local level; That the new Target Operating Model, to be presented to Council in July 2019, will provide clear guidance as to the potential for revising the political management structure”;

That this council resolves:

“To commence an electoral review process, to review the Council’s size, numbers of councillors and ward boundaries, following consideration of the SORP review and the agreement of the new Target Operating Model in July 2019; To authorise officers to make initial contact with the Local Government Boundary Commission for England to establish timescales and likely issues arising from an electoral review and assess the resource provision required”.

The Motion was passed, apparently, with no dissent. So it took over 8 years for the possibility of there being less councillors, just what other local authorities have already achieved. 

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