Council Shuffles The Deck Chairs

West Lancashire Borough Council Leader Cllr Ian Moran has undertaken a cabinet reshuffle ahead of the council’s annual general meeting next week.

“The new cabinet continues to reflect the borough’s residents but draws on recent experiences and lessons learned from the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

“Coming into the cabinet is a blend of youth and experience with Cllr Vickie Cummins (Skelmersdale South) taking over from Cllr Kevin Wright as Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing, while Cllr Gareth Dowling (Knowsley, Ormskirk) will be tasked with building on the tremendous work of local community groups, and strengthening links between them, the council and local residents in the role of Portfolio Holder for Communities and Community Safety.

“In order to ensure lessons are learned from the pandemic, experienced Cabinet Member Cllr Kevin Wright has accepted the new position of Portfolio Holder for Emergency Planning, Preparation and Implementation, working up until next May to ensure that West Lancashire is best placed to deal with any future emergencies of this kind.

“Leader Cllr Ian Moran said “The Cabinet undergoes changes at each AGM but this year it has had to be delayed due to the pandemic. Now that we are due to meet virtually next week, I have appointed a strong team of councillors drawing on their skills and experience, to ensure West Lancashire and the council can meet the challenges that now lie ahead.

“Even without the Covid-19 crisis, this last year has seen significant changes across the council. We have called in the Local Government Boundary Commission to look at reducing the overall size of the council, while the recent Sustainable Organisational Restructure has sought to improve our services at the same time as reducing costs and retaining staff, so now is the right time for the Portfolio Holders to build for the future with officers and teams now embedded in the new council structure.

“I’d like to welcome Cllr Vickie Cummins

and Cllr Gareth Dowling onto the Cabinet, both of whom have proven themselves to be diligent and effective ward councillors and committee Chairs, and who have matured into their roles over the last few years.

“In assessing our response to the pandemic, we are satisfied that we have acted swiftly and proactively to protect our residents as best we can, but Cllr Kevin Wright will now work closely with officers to consider our actions, how well prepared we were, and how we can improve so we are in a good position should any future emergency arise”.

Portfolio Holder for Communities and Community Safety Cllr Gareth Dowling added “I am delighted to be taking up this role to strengthen community involvement in council’s work and look at how the council can further support our community groups and organisations. Through my personal and council roles I know just how hard working local volunteers are, how important the groups are to our communities across West Lancashire, and the lasting impacts their projects and engagements have. I look forward to strengthening and growing these groups for the benefit of the whole of West Lancashire, and to meeting with all groups over the coming year.”

Cllr Ian Moran added “We continue to face many challenges across West Lancashire, from the immediate challenges of the Coronavirus to long established issues of reducing central government financial support, but I am clear that this council and all its councillors will continue to work as best we can to deliver for the people of West Lancashire”.

Full Cabinet. Leader and Portfolio Holder Economic Regeneration Councillor Ian Moran. Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder Leisure and Human Resources Councillor Yvonne Gagen. Portfolio Holder Health and Wellbeing Councillor Vickie Cummins. Portfolio Holder Housing and Landlord Services Councillor Jenny Wilkie. Portfolio Holder Street Scene Councillor Kevin Wilkie. Portfolio Holder Resources and Transformation Councillor Adam Yates. Portfolio Holder Planning Councillor David Evans. Portfolio Holder Emergency Planning, Preparation and Implementation Councillor Kevin Wright. Portfolio Holder Communities and Community Safety Councillor Gareth Dowling.

It’s very disappointing not to see  specific portfolio holders for guaranteeing no flooding caused by average rainfall on new developments; for the restoration of off-peak travel tokens applicable to Merseyrail to avoid the ongoing “left behind pensioners and disabled residents of West Lancashire”, and for the removal of Serco and the restoration of the Beacon Park Golf Course to its former glory.

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