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DEMOCRATIC RENEWAL - CABINETS' DECISIONS CURBED

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Cabinets will not contribute to transparent decision-making, a New Local Government Network report concludes. ...
Cabinets will not contribute to transparent decision-making, a New Local Government Network report concludes.
Cabinets will have less opportunity to meet in private once regulations on key decisions - decisions which have to be taken in public - go through Parliament, says the report Political Leadership in local government: The cabinet and leader model.
But guidance on cabinets recognises the need for private group meetings to 'think the unthinkable'. The report says: 'It should be acknowledged that informal private majority party group meetings, prior to a public cabinet have always done more than this. They have gone through the agenda item by item, deciding what decision they will make.
'The lack of transparency in decision-making in committees in majority-controlled authorities . . . will not change appreciably in the wake of a move to cabinet government, if an authority chooses to hold its cabinet meetings in public.'
The report goes on to say cabinet and leader models can either add or detract from the democratic process, depending on how they are implemented.
It looks at a series of councils, which remain anonymous, to illustrate different ways in which the cabinet and leader model can succeed or fail.
For example council A took the model seriously. It formed a powerful all-party cabinet which made genuinely streamlined decisions. But council B was reluctant to ditch the committee system and retained three policy committees whose recommendations dictated cabinet decisions.
-Political Leadership in local government: the cabinet and leader model available from www.nlgn.org.uk.
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