Extended powers of the Chief Executive

The borough council tonight will be invited to agree the following changes to procedures.  They are deemed necessary because of the corona virus:

“In the event of a national emergency declared by the Crown or HM Government where it is considered it will be impractical to call meetings for an extended period of time, the Chief Executive will have authority to exercise all the powers, duties and functions exercised by the Council, the Executive or any of the committees, including the authority and power to delegate such powers, duties and functions.

“This authority is time limited to a six-week period, following which any extension must be authorised by the Leader, or in his/her absence, the Deputy Leader.

“Where the Chief Executive is unable to act for the purposes of the above, the  Corporate Management Team, both individually and collectively, is authorised to perform this function.”

No doubt this description of the new powers takes into account the fact that the chief executive is still – as far as we know – on extended leave.

Those interested in planning matters might like to note the following:

“Executive Head of Regulatory be authorised to determine all planning applications which would ordinarily have been determined by the Planning Applications Committee, after consultation with the Chairman of the Planning Applications Committee and ward councillors, until the lifting of restrictions on public gatherings;”

There is probably no alternative to this arrangement.  Presumably there will still be an opportunity for residents to make their views known as at present.  Also, if enough people object, or support, an application, one or more of them must have the opportunity to address the Executive Head of Regulatory as if they were addressing a meeting of the planning committee.

(Tonight’s meeting will also consider an ‘HR matter’.  More than that we are not told.)

4 thoughts on “Extended powers of the Chief Executive

  1. In the current climate it is prudent to have these fall back options in place. However, one would hope that most meetings could continue online, if necessary with a reduced quorum (it is a shame that reduced quorum measures were not approved as a first resort). As a member of the Mytchett, Frimley Green & Deepcut Society we manage to exchange views on all planning applications. The main problem is the council’s dreadful planning website not our capacity to agree a view on each application.

    • The council seems to be completely unable to provide a half-decent planning website. It must be getting on for a year since the new site went live in an unfinished mode.

  2. There are a million alternative ways to keep things democratic and transparent. It’s the modern world. It is a little scary how quickly and easily they degenerate everything into a police state.

    I do not see any opportunity to vote on giving these powers to one person. I know planning issues can be important. It would be interesting to learn if there are any ongoing applications with objections.

    The police themselves are starting to make people here nervous. They seem to be here on our public park everyday. Although there has never been even the slightest reason for concern here. Everyone locally has been great for weeks. There must be other places with actual problems. The police do not seem to like people exercising with skate boards, even if there is only one person on the whole park with a skate board?! I feel them coming up far too close to me, and other people, they come around in pairs with no gap between them, and having a very dictatorial and needlessly unkind attitude when they do. I do not know if they collect as closely at the police station, but they seem like being the ones with the biggest risk of spreading the bugs themselves. It also seems the police have been sitting in unmarked cars and then silently following cars who drive past supermarkets -As it just happened to my friend. It must be really horrible when you have no idea why a strange car is obviously following you -to see where you go. What do you do? Do you lead this bumper-riding car (that is unmarked so you know absolutely nothing about) to the place where you live? What if you are a lone female? There are a million good reasons to drive past a supermarket if you are looking after vulnerable people. Why do this to people? It is not right.

    Find other solutions. I personally begin to worry that some are finding their new powers convenient, and even entertaining.

    • I’m sorry, I’ve only just seen your well-argued comment. Of course, it’s quite difficult to judge circumstances at the time. Hindsight is wonderful. And the popular press are great at misrepresenting the situation; the social media even worse. But, with those qualifications, I agree with you. I’ve no desire to live in a ‘police state’, and I’m aware that it’s easy for ‘the authorities’ to move in that direction, and much harder for them to go in reverse.

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