The HDC Cabinet system excludes many elected councillors from early involvement in key decisions and that has been evident from concerns that have surfaced over the past year or two.
What matters of course is the quality and transparency (not the speed) of decision-making and indeed unwise Cabinet decisions can be called into question by ruling group members, itself resulting in delay.
Furthermore HDC’s deputy leader must be one of eight serving Cabinet members who has previously been selected by the leader, none of the other 20 ruling group members can be considered, regardless of their knowledge and experience.
The alternative committee system is not dissimilar to the select committee system in Westminster, where members often display more diverse knowledge than those in Cabinet, with their relatively high turnover.
Not only would that be more democratic and transparent, it would utilise the diversity and depth of councillors’ experience, whilst expanding the group memory and making it more difficult for some to rush through decisions that have not been properly evaluated or debated.
The message from residents should be that our democratic system is not for the convenience of a few councillors and it is time to pursue the committee option to, counter the general degradation in democracy and transparency that we have seen in recent times.
Hopefully many other readers will join me in reminding HDC’s leader that he and his colleagues have been elected to represent the people and it is not for him to deny others the greater transparency of the committee system. If he wants to earn respect, then he should show the courage needed to help bring back democracy.
Chairman, UKIP Horsham Branch, Crawley Road, Horsham