Calls to scrap cabinet system at County Hall

West Sussex County Council's council chamber
West Sussex County Council's council chamber

County councillors in West Sussex are to be asked to vote on the idea of scrapping its current cabinet system of governance and replacing it with a committee-led system.

A notice of motion will be tabled by Dr James Walsh at a meeting of the full council on Friday July 19.

With the council having recently received hugely critical reports into its children’s service and fire and rescue services, Dr Walsh (Lib Dem, Littlehampton East) said there had been a ‘systemic failure of political leadership’.

The current system sees nine members of the majority party - in this case the Conservatives - making the majority of day-to-day decisions.

Dr Walsh would rather see a committee system, where all councillors play a part in decision-making. Such systems were scrapped when the Local Government Act 2000 came into force, with cabinets seen as more efficient.

The notice of motion will cite a ‘churn’ of cabinet members along with the ‘high turnover rate of most senior officers’ as reason change.
It will add: “The council therefore resolves to scrap the current cabinet system of governance, where most major decisions are taken either by individual cabinet members, or occasionally by the whole cabinet, and to replace it with a committee-based system, where all councillors play a part in decision making, and for this to be in place by May 2020.”

The meeting will be held at County Hall, Chichester, at 10.30am. Members of the public are welcome to attend and the meeting will be webcast via westsussex.public-i.tv .