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Leader retires as committee system re-appears

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Sutton LBC leader Sean Brennan is to stand down after 10 years in office ahead of the council’s move to the committee system.

Cllr Brennan (Lib Dem) became leader in 2002 and has served as a councillor since 1986. He will remain a councillor and a successor is due to be elected next month.

Sutton is one of a handful of councils that had decided to immediately use its new power under the Localism Act to return to committees.

Under this model, the cabinet will be scrapped and replaced by decision-making committees for: strategy and resources; environment and neighbourhood; children, family and education; housing, economy and business; adult social services and health.

It will retain the six area committees, but the four scrutiny committees will be replaced by a single one largely concerned with health, crime and disorder and risk management.

Cllr Brennan said: “Since I became leader, the role of local authorities has grown whilst our government funding has been cut back significantly.

“It has been a period of significant change. All councils will be taking on new responsibilities in areas such as public health. With a new committee system coming into force in May, I strongly believe that this is the right time for a new leadership team to bring new ideas and new impetus to a changing and challenging environment.”

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Roger

    Well done LBC and all the others who have decide to go back to the 'old fashioned' way. Non cabinet elected members are marginalised by the cabinet system that might suit central government, but has reduced the democratic process at the local level.

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  • The Committee-system remains, at best, 'Community-care for the politically interested."
    However, it is also true that, in many councils, Overview and Scrutiny has been marginalised to become a poorly-supported, inward-looking, retrospective scrutiny function, rather than a properly resourced, outward-engaging, forward-looking, policy and practice review function.
    It's no good blamimg over-powerful political and executive leaders. Elected members have allowed this to happen and, if they choose, have the power to change it.
    The best leaders - political and managerial - positively welcome and involve an active and innovative Overview and Scrutiny process. It's the poor and weak ones who want to marginalise it.

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