Cheshire East Council has voted to move to a committee system form of governance, replacing the current leader and cabinet model.
The new arrangements will take effect from May 2021 and will be legally binding for a period of five years.
At a special meeting of council on 19 November, members passed a formal resolution, which contained recommendations around the design principles and structure of the committees, the roles of both the leader and deputy leader and processes for decision reviews, including urgent decision-making.
The original notice of motion to move to a committee system form of governance was approved at a meeting of full council in May 2019. It called for the new arrangements to be developed during the 2019/20 municipal year with an implementation date of May 2020.
To ensure that a robust process could be fully in place prior to the new arrangements taking effect, group leaders took the decision in January this year to delay the implementation date to May 2021.
Councillor Sam Corcoran, leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “A change of decision-making arrangements by any local authority is a profound step and is a decision which is binding for five years.
“This is an important and significant change for Cheshire East, and to ensure we can adequately plan and drive forward preparations, the new system will now take effect from May 2021.”
Councillor Craig Browne, deputy leader of Cheshire East Council, said: “I would like to thank the constitution committee, and its working group, for the continued hard work done since May 2019 and also thank all councillors who continued to be engaged in the process and the officers who have supported and continue to support this process.”
Councillor James Nicholas, chair of the constitution committee, said: “I welcome this resolution to change our form of governance at Cheshire East.
“A committee system form of governance enables more elected members to be involved in decision-making – helping to ensure the process is fairer, with collective accountability across politically balanced committees.”
The period between now and May 2021 will provide time for the outstanding detail of the committee system to be agreed, and for extensive training and awareness for both officers and councillors.
The papers from the special council meeting can be viewed on the website at www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/council_and_democracy by selecting ‘Council meetings’.
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