Proposed Changes to Governance Arrangements
The Council has operated a Committee system since 11 May 2016, the reasons given at the time included enabling the ability for a robust system of decision-making in addition to increasing the involvement of all councillors in the decision-making process. However, over a number of years the remits of the committees have changed and on occasion there is duplication, with a single report being submitted to numerous committees.
The Council’s business interests, arms-length company and shared services have resulted in different service delivery models that could now be better assisted by a different system of governance. It is now considered that a Leader and Cabinet system would allow for swifter and more streamlined decision-making, with clear lines of communication, responsibility and accountability.
In July 2021, the government set out its plan for a further round of devolution to local areas, as part of the its ‘levelling up’ agenda. Devolution gives local councils and partners more powers over areas such as transport, economic development, planning and housing, skills, the environment, health, culture and public safety. Ambitions for devolved government powers for Nottinghamshire could move a step closer. Returning to a Leader and Cabinet model of decision making strengthens the case for devolved powers from central government. Under government terms for devolution deals, councils can only be considered for devolved powers if they operate a ‘strong and accountable’ Leader and Cabinet system.
Nottinghamshire Councils, including the City and district councils, are already part of an Economic Prosperity Committee (EPC) which, under devolved powers, could be used to drive improvements in areas such as waste and energy, housing, transport, use of the public estate, climate change, community safety and cohesion.
Broxtowe Borough Council, Nottinghamshire County Council and Newark and Sherwood District Council are currently the only authorities in the county to still be operating a committee-style leadership system.
Nottinghamshire County Council and Newark and Sherwood District Council have decided to move to a Cabinet system by May 2022.
To enable greater transparency and cross-party involvement in the decision-making process, the current Broxtowe Borough Council Leader has stated an intention to move to a more politically balanced Cabinet than currently operating at other districts throughout the County.
Further work on the proposals is underway before a final decision is taken in Spring. If approved at a future Council meeting, the changes are due to be implemented at the Annual Council meeting in May 2022.