Tuesday, 10 January 2012

the smack of firm leadership

this from Conservative Home on events in Slough:

Cllr Rob Anderson, the Labour leader of Slough Borough Council has been deselected as his Party's candidate for Farnham Ward. He is looking for another ward to represent. The regional Party Director Malcolm Powers has been passed allegations of irregularities. Another selection contest, for Chalvey Ward, was rerun after Powers intervened. In that battle Cllr Natasha Pantelic, the Cabinet Member for Education, was chosen by one vote having been deselected from her own ward of Bayliss and Stoke.

Now Cllr Anderson has sacked one of the Cabinet colleagues, Cllr Fiza Matloob. This has been done under the Strong Leader Model which has been adopted in Slough to give the leader the power to hire and fire.
They all appear to be at each others throats. A third of the seats are up for election in May.

Strong Leader Model, hein?  First I'd heard of it.  Perhaps those closer to Labour management circles in the UK can enlighten me further.  Would be most interested.  There were times when strong leadership was just what was required.  I certainly recall the then South-East Regional Director, Mike "Mad Monk" Creighton, now Head of Compliance at Labour national HQ (you couldn't make this up) being threatened during the parliamentary selection process in Reading East - by people who were not from Reading East.  A bit of strong leadership would not have come amiss then, but was not to be found.  So this is Mr Powers' new idea.  Jolly good.


Anonymous said...

Such bollocks isn't it? And where is the consistency of approach?

Anonymous said...

All councils by law have to have either an elected mayor or a strong leader. Do keep up.

From the Minutes of Reading Borough Council on 19 October 2010: "Resolved:

That the Council notes the results of the public consultation exercise undertaken on the adoption of a new executive governance model, as set out in Appendix B;

That, having considered the response to the public consultation exercise, and the advice from the Minister for Housing and Local Government set out in 1.5 above, the Council resolves that, with effect from May 2011, it will adopt the indirectly elected (“strong”) Leader and Cabinet model of executive governance as set out in Section 67 of the Local Government Act 2000 (as amended by Section 44B of the Local Government & Public Involvement in Health Act 2007);

That the consequent changes to Article 7 of the Council’s constitution (The Executive), as set out in Appendix C, be agreed and adopted from the Council’s Annual Meeting in May 2011;

That the following consequential changes be made to other parts of the Council’s constitution (changes underlined in text):

Jonny said...

The big change though is the introduction of what is known as the "strong leader" model of local government. This change has come about through the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007. This piece of legislation scraps the right for smaller local authorities to retain their committee systems and also removes the option of a directly-elected mayor and council manager option, which was thoroughly discredited in the only council that adopted it - Stoke-on-Trent. This means that all councils will have to be run either by a directly-elected mayor or through a leader and cabinet.

Much has been written before about a the virtues or otherwise of directly-elected mayors. As the majority of places that have had a referendum on having a directly-elected mayor have rejected the idea it seems odd that Labour (and now the Conservatives too) are still pushing the idea. This means that most places, following a consultation, will end up going with the "strong leader" model. This option includes a number of key changes that will worry many Liberal Democrats:

Once elected by full council, the leader will continue in office for four years - until the year they are due for re-election.
The leader will be able to choose their own cabinet which must include at least two other councillors.
The budget can only be defeated if at least two-thirds vote it down.
The result of this is to hand huge powers to the leader, which could be especially problematic in councils where there is no overall majority or where a leader turns out to be a controversial figure. Whilst it can be argued that councils will be more able to "get on with it", it reduces the power of backbenchers even further and would mean that new councillors have no say in who the leader is for many years once they have already been appointed. It also means that whilst in opposition council groups can elect their leader annually and have a say in the cabinet, once in power they can only elect their leader once every four years and have no say in the cabinet.

From the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors.

Jane Griffiths said...

Thanks peeps that's helpful. Had missed that crucial minute, oddly enough.

Anonymous said...

The Reading consultation (under last year's coalition) attracted 8 replies. The majority favoured an elected mayor. Both the coalition and the oppostion rejected the consultation.

LAUWENX said...

rob is a idiot for sacking him, man up u little bitch and stop being a wuss before i smack that britwellian arse