At last night’s (Wednesday 6th October) Council meeting, councillors unanimously agreed to change the way Swale Borough Council makes decisions by moving to a committee system.
Councillors have agreed that the council’s current leader-and-cabinet led structure, where most decisions are taken by fewer people, will be replaced with a committee system, which will come into effect at the annual council meeting in May 2022.
The new system will mean decisions are made by politically balanced committees representing all councillors.
Cllr Roger Truelove, Leader of the Council, told SFM News: “This will be more democratic. It ensures that when people go to vote they will know that their elected members will no longer be excluded from major policy decisions. Swale is a diverse borough with diverse politics and the cabinet system does inevitably exclude both communities and members. Cabinets belong at Westminster but are not appropriate to local councils, with more intimate contacts with different communities. This will not prevent the Coalition delivering on its agenda. We will have a majority on the committees. But going forward, beyond the elections of 2023 the committee system will lead to a more consensual approach to local politics, which in my long experience, is what most local voters want.”
Cllr Mike Baldock, Deputy Leader with responsibility for constitutional change, told SFM News: "This is a huge decision for the us to have taken, and I am delighted we have taken the whole council with us on this journey. Good politics is about listening and working together to support our residents and our communities. The committee system will help ensure everyone's voice is heard better."
Cllr Alan Horton, Leader of the Opposition, told SFM News: “The Conservatives have worked constructively with the Coalition to bring about this important change as it gives all Councillors an opportunity to speak for their communities and be involved in decision making. This is a fundamental change in how ward councillors are able to represent their residents and how the council makes decisions. We believe it is important that all voices are heard and we are looking forward to being able to better serve our residents from May next year.”
For more information about the change in governance and what it will mean for Swale Borough Council please click here.