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Thursday, 16 May 2013


For decades local government successfully operated using the tried and tested committee system.... one which bought everybody into the decision making process.

So what was point in Blair replacing a system that worked so well with the flawed Cabinet system: one which allows just the favoured few to take decisions? It is a great mystery of our times!
Increasingly councillors are questioning the efficacy of the Cabinet style approach to democracy. 
Nottinghamshire County Council is one of several to scrap the Cabinet system and revert to Committees.
As a result all major decisions are taken by councillors meeting ensemble and discussing the issues. 
How can one fault such a fair and common sense approach? 

For years K&C has been blighted by the Cabinet system. 
It allowed one man...year in, year maintain power exploiting a patronage system fuelled by hefty Special Responsibility Allowances. The end result? A virtual dictatorship.

We now need a big debate as to whether our council should continue to operate in this thoroughly unhealthy way.


  1. The Dame makes an excellent point. Is PB a fresh broom or a cobweb?

    1. It will take six months to find out. If he is a cobweb then maybe the younger Councillors who are flexing their muscles will decide after all to get rid of him. The time of Borwick and Mills will surely come

  2. The Cabinet System cannot work in a Council where there is a guaranteed majority (Conservative or Labour). K&C needs the old Committee system in order to avoid the process abuse that was so prevalent in the Cockell regime.

    Paget-Brown has the chance to make an early win and obtain the respect of Councillors and residents.

    1. The new Leader never did anything original in his life. He just loves to revel in fripperies like the "the Great Glory Of London". ie the money pit called Holland Park Opera

  3. The Cabinet system was introduced to address the problem of inefficient boroughs where one party had an overwhelming majority. The problem with all these boroughs, as exemplified in K&C, is that the political parties then have to trawl in the dregs of their membership to find enough councillors to fill all the available seats. This produced a majority band of councillors with insufficient talent to run a borough but with huge influence on policy making. So it was thought that having a Cabinet of the talents would reduce the malign or generally just silly influence of these incompetents. Sadly this new system did not work either and led, as the Dame says, to elected dictatorships and patronage through the SRA system.

  4. In other words: the political parties are at fault for putting up crap candidates who end up being elected and then (under the old Committee system) actually end up influencing policy.

    Why don't they just screen their candidates properly in the first place and perhaps try to attract real talent (as opposed to their drinking buddies)?

    There are currently elected Councillors in all three parties who shouldn't be left in charge of a potted plant, let alone have any direct influence on the lives of thousands of residents.

  5. The cabinet system in RBK&C has in many cases resulted in a de facto technocracy where officers make policy.

    It may not yield the worst possible result - some officers are perfectly competent and more than able to produce good policy - but it is not representative democracy.

  6. The majority party has no interest in having the best councillors in its cabinet. The main or even sole requirement is cabinet members who will tow the party line in all circumstances, aka safe pairs of hands.

    For example, when first elected, Cllr Hargreaves showed great promise in that he listened to residents' complaints and criticisms. Sadly he soon went silent. Everyone knew what it meant. As expected, he's now been rewarded with a cabinet post.

    1. The proposed gerrymandering sorry ward boundary change of Cremorne Ward might have something to do with that ...


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