People in a meeting

Cheshire East Council moves to committee style of governance

Cheshire East Council has changed to operate a committee system for decision-making having operated under a cabinet system since the authority was formed in 2009.

Decisions previously made by the council’s ten cabinet members will now be made by ‘service committees’, with each responsible for a different area of the authority’s services.

Each new service committee has 13 members and will collectively make decisions, with the political make-up of each committee reflecting the political composition of the council.

Members debate and vote on decisions, so decisions are made collectively by the cross-party membership.

The following design principles were considered when developing the committee system:

  • Decision-making will be easy to access and held in public.
  • Members of the public and councillors will be given the opportunity to ask questions in committees.
  • Decisions will be made quickly, to meet the needs of the council and local community.
  • The new arrangements will be cost neutral, with technology being used to help achieve this.
  • Decisions will be legally compliant.
  • The new arrangements will be modern, open and transparent, with the committees having work programmes which are available to the public.

The system was implemented following a legally binding decision in November 2020 and cannot be changed for five years.

Commenting, Cheshire East Council’s political group leaders said: “It is a councillor’s role to bring local issues that are of importance to residents to the table.

“The new service committees bring more councillors into the decision-making process and we hope that this new arrangement will help the council to be modern, open and transparent.

“We would like to thank the council officers who have worked tirelessly to support the move from a cabinet to a committee system.

“The new committees cover all areas of the council’s business and support our aim for decision-making to be easy to access for our residents, as well as allowing greater scrutiny of those decisions at the point of discussion.

“We hope that the committee system will lead to a more consensual way of working, dealing with the matters that concern our local residents the most, with a broad range of opinions represented on each committee and giving more councillors a seat at the decision-making table.”

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