28/06/2013 - Permalink

Council to speed up decision-making process

Related topics: Democracy

Red tape is being cut at Shropshire Council to allow decisions to be made quickly. 

The council is changing the procedure for decision-making, so senior councillors who make up the Cabinet can move things forward rather than having to wait for a formal Cabinet meeting. 

Other councils around the country already have a similar system, and council leader Keith Barrow said the time was right for Shropshire to follow suit. 

He said:

“Giving Cabinet members more delegated powers just means we can get on with things, rather than the traditional council approach of having to wait for a cycle of meetings to tick along before we can do anything. 

“The council’s work will be open to public scrutiny in the same way, and wide-ranging issues will still go to Cabinet meetings, but it’s common sense to cut bureaucracy where we can to speed things up.  I’m sure a lot of people get frustrated at how long it can take councils to do anything, and this will make us much more responsive and businesslike.” 

From 1 July 2013, Cabinet members will be able to hold ‘decision-making sessions’ which, whilst not public meetings, will be open to other councillors to ask questions and make comments.  Members of the public will also be encouraged to contact Cabinet members directly to make their views known or to ask for information. 

The aim is to make the decision-making process more flexible, and will allow people to talk to councillors without the need to attend a formal Cabinet meeting which restricts people rather than being able to have a two-way conversation. 

All decisions will be based on reports in the same way as Cabinet decisions currently are, and reports will be published on the council website prior to the decision-making sessions taking place. 

As well as these published reports, the subject of any key decisions which are due to be made in this way will be published on the council’s forward plan at least 28 days in advance of decisions being made.  

A key decision is defined as being one which is likely to result in income, expenditure or savings of £500,000 or greater; or to have a significant effect on two or more electoral divisions.

More details about the new process can be seen on the council’s website by clicking here.