Councillor Steve Wakefield who represents Toothill & Westlea on Swindon Council writes that the council is looking at changing the way it is run to have a more permanent elected leader in charge. The second stage of consultation comes to an end on 16 December. The vast majority of Swindon residents won’t have a clue what’s going on because public notices only appeared in a limited number of places, but Councillor Wakefield wants people to be aware of what’s going on and is asking them to comment.
At present the council is run by a cabinet of about ten senior councillors with a portfolio of responisibility, led by a councillor elected by the majority party on the council. There is a proposal to change the current method to what is called the Strong Leader Model, which means, having the same leader elected by councillors to run the council for a 4 year period.
A Public Notice was placed in the Swindon Advertiser on 27th August 2010 seeking the views from the public on the Council’s Governance arrangements by 5th October 2010. Hard copy consultation leaflets were placed in the Central Library and the Civic Offices. It was also on the council’s website. Only 69 replies were received to the consultation.
The Council’s Corporate Governance Review Working Group concluded that this demonstrated that there was no strong evidence to indicate popular enthusiasm for either available option. Therefore, with one councillor dissenting, the Working Group recommended the adoption of the “strong leader-cabinet option”.
On 29th November the Swindon Advertiser carried a notice from the council informing people that the proposal is available for public inspection until Thursday 16th December 2010. That night at 7pm there will be a meeting of the full council to decide on the report and whether to carry on as present or to adopt the strong leader model.
I urge readers to contact their local councillor to give their views or opinions on the proposal. If anyone wishes to give me their views please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to me at the Council Offices, Euclid St, Swindon SN1 2JH by 16th December 2010.
Alternatively contact email@example.com at the council or call Ian directly on 01793 463601
• See swindonlink’s campaign for an elected mayor in 2008