SHBC committees – who’ll chair them?

A point that’s being made at present at the national level is that Government ministers, who were chosen for their ability to manage Brexit and its consequences, are having to handle the impact of ‘the virus’ instead.  Some ministers are ill-suited for this very different role.

A rather similar situation arises in local government.  Borough councillors are elected – in principle, at least – for their ability to represent the electorate.  But they find themselves on committees, and sometimes leading committees, although they may not always have the necessary skills.

Anyway, that’s how the system works, so we have to live with it.

The council meeting tonight has only a few agenda items.  One of these is to choose the next mayor – a decision almost certainly already made.  But, less-settled, at least in public, is the exercise of deciding the chair, vice-chair and membership of: the Planning Applications Committee, the Licensing Committee, the External Partnerships Select Committee, the Performance & Finance Scrutiny Committee, the Audit & Standards Committee and the Employment Committee.  These appointments will last for the next year.

A key question is whether the leadership of these bodies will be dominated by the Conservatives (still the largest party in the council) as the result of ‘political’ manoeuvring, or whether chairs will be chosen on the basis of suitable skills and experience.  We hope that it will be the latter.

(Yes, our photo is an old one of a full council meeting.  Council meetings are being held on-line at the moment, so it’s more than a bit difficult to photograph them!)

7 thoughts on “SHBC committees – who’ll chair them?

  1. Well if the last decade is anything to go by the Conservatives have been lacking in many of the skills needed.
    Town centre management and development.
    Marketing and communications
    Financial management
    Personnel development and training.

    Alot of the rot seemed to be coincide with the appointment of a previous mayor with previous. Everyone deserves a second chance but really,weren’t there more impressive candidates? This was then followed by the well publicised of executive greed and sharp practice and a host of other negative distractions and all this happened when there was one party domination and no democracy on display. So if there is to be any change in the performance and trust in SHBC then there needs to be a big change in attitudes, embrace skills available rather than party affiliations and ditch the cronyism which has been rampant at Knoll Rd.

    And all the Tory saps who sat quietly throughout the CEO debacle should be distanced from the newly elected positions…

    • I rather agree with Archie’s response. The mayor doesn’t have a lot of inflence – their role is generally ceremonial. It’s only when there’s a ‘tie’ in full council meetings – when the mayor has the casting vote – that the mayor can make a big difference to events. But otherwise, you’re absolutely right. A big change in attitudes is essential.

  2. I agree the need to best match councillors skill sets to the specific roles ( just as it happens in “real life”) but to infer that the “rot” had something to do with a mayor( or even mayors ) suggests they have overall powers when in fact they are elected into the role and I understand have no more power than any other councillor.
    They give a large percentage of their time for 1 year to represent Surrey Heath and making a seemingly personal comment on a previous mayor is not relevant or helpful unless there are ulterior motives.
    The performance of the overall council is rightly criticised but goes back many years and not in the past 2 or 3 years.

    • No ulterior motive, just aware that residents have been getting poor value from SHBC for many years now and my observations went up a notch when Surrey Heath selected a candidate who they had summoned to court for non payment of council tax…a bit daft in the eyes of some. Still we will see if there is any much needed leadership credentials showing after this next round of musical chairs.. ding dong.

  3. Ability is crucial to allocating positions on committees, unfortunately it is only gained by doing the job. Do you continue with those who already hold the position or bring in a new person. Personally it should be a mixture of the two with a condition that you can only be on the committee for two consecutive years and then a gap of a year. This will stop the decisions from being biased or personally based.

    • Well, yes and no. Committees that involve finance need a membership that understands finance. Learning on the job isn’t good enough. Of course, the officers are there to provide guidance, but, as we’ve seen, officers can hi-jack processes as well as conform to them.

      • We supposidly do have financially qualified in finance and solicitors in legal and look where that has got us! The Whelan fiasco! Karen Limmer jumping ship!
        And yes I fully agree about officers hi-jacking decisions, they have done it to me.
        We need a new system that puts residents first, they after all are supposed to be public servants!

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