Memorandum by the Independent Group on
the East Riding of Yorkshire Council (LAG 26)
In examining the above the Independent Group
on the East Riding of Yorkshire Council wish to make the following
1. Transparency has not been helped at the
East Riding by the changes. Attendance at an Executive meeting
makes it apparent that the decisions have mainly been made beforehand
in briefing meetings and group meetings which are attended only
by the three political groups. There is little or no debate on
important subjects and decisions are taken without the public
present, the reason being given that people could be identified.
The removal of the consultation initials would have been sufficient
to prevent that. Whether it is more efficient, we do not yet know.
It is certainly less accountable.
2. Councillors who are not part of the caucus
feel ignored and have difficulty in raising issues. The requirement
on the East Riding to have five members from the relevant scrutiny
committee sign any call in papers and that there has to be two
different parties makes it very difficult to call anything in,
particularly for minority parties. The new rules will help if
this unitary Authority agrees to adhere to them.
3. The local electorate finds it difficult
to understand the new arrangements. Without area committees who
meet in their areas it is very distant. Area committees allow
the public to see their local government working more openly.
4. Scrutiny has not really yet developed
sufficiently to become effective. It is still partly officer led
and the way in which majority parties work makes it difficult
to raise any issue for discussion. Minority parties constantly
have to check that the few powers they retain are not eroded.
5. The East Riding are not opting for the
directly elected mayor model.
6. The East Riding have three chairmen and
two vice-chairmen allocated to every Review and Scrutiny Committee
and three chairmen to all other committees. As Members of the
East Riding we are very concerned about the way this is organised.
This seems an inappropriate use of Members time and of the Council's
budget. The minority Group of Independents does not have the opportunity
to chair any Committee.
Enclosed is a local ruling to the Police Authority.
7. In conclusion, as Members of a small
group who are independent minded we have major concerns that the
East Riding does not adhere to the recommendations of Hilary Armstrong
MP when she said "all Members should have an input".
We feel that by working collectively we are best serving the residents
of the East Riding.
Councillor Barbara Jefferson JP
Leader of the Independent Group on behalf of
Councillor C Allerston
Councillor R Allerston
Councillor J Cox
Councillor H Saynor
Councillor A Suggit
The East Riding of Yorkshire Council is disappointed
that the High Court has rejected part of its case challenging
the manner in which Elected Members have been appointed to the
Humberside Police Authority. The Council took the serious step
of seeking Judicial Review because important principles of national
significance were at stake.
Elected Member nominations to the Police Authority
are made by a special joint committee made up of councillors from
all four Humber area unitary councils. This committee must decide
how many representatives each council should have, who they are
and also ensure that those chosen reflect "the balance of
the parties across the members of the Councils as a whole".
There are nine Elected Member representatives on the Humberside
Police Authorityother members are drawn from the magistrates
and lay community.
The East Riding has been engaged since June
in a two part dispute about the manner in which the Joint Committee
made nominations to the Police Authority.
The first and most important issue involved
a challenge to the committee's original decision to allocate the
East Riding just two places, which meant the area had only half
the number of representatives on the Police Authority as the two
South Bank councils. Those councils, North and North East Lincolnshire
together have a smaller population than the East Riding, but were,
nevertheless, allocated four places. Hull was allocated three
Hull City Council fought to uphold the decision
but eventually conceded agreeing to pay East Riding legal costs.
In September the Joint Committee allocated East Riding three seats.
A further dispute than arose as to how the places were allocated
according to political parties. East Riding went back to court
arguing in line with advice given to the Joint Committee by leading
Counsel and the Home Office, that it was wrong only to take members
from the three main political parties into account and that Independent
Councillors should also be counted.
The present Judicial Review has focused on strict
legal interpretation of whether or not this contravenes the Police
In a joint statement the East Riding Leaders,
Councillors Parnaby, Willie and Male said:
"Effectively the judgement means police
Authorities are politicised. Matters are unlikely to rest here
not least because a number of Police Authorities across the Country
have Independent Councillors nominated to them. This judgement
means their nomination is unlawful. Even the barrister for the
Joint Committee said the argument he was advancing to exclude
Independents may be undesirable but that parliament is the place
to put that right. We expect the affected Councils will now lobby
for change and we will refer this to the Local Government Association".
In giving her judgement the Judge said:
"It is in many ways difficult to see why,
if a notional 70 of 100 seats were won by Independents, they should
not find a voice on the joint committee. It may be, this court
knows not, that parliament, given an apparent increase in independent
elected representatives nationwide may wish to address and clarify
Although the judgement can be appealed to the
Court of Appeal, the East Riding has decided not to take this
step so as to ensure the budget setting process for the Humberside
Police Authority, which is to begin early in the New Year, is