Draft Local Government (Organisation and Standards) Bill Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence - First Report


Memorandum by Pendle Borough Council

  The Council wishes to submit the following evidence on issue 4—allocation of duties between executives and Councils.

  1.  The Council has for nearly four years now operated a committee system, which has five area committees with extensive delegation. Broadly speaking the powers delegated cover planning, highways and traffic, leisure, housing, land and miscellaneous issues.

  2.  The powers delegated all relate to local issues. In the main they are of concern within the town or village in question but not beyond. Experience has shown that there is little or no need for Councillor outside the particular area to become involved.

  3.  Local people have the right to speak at and ask questions at their area committees. 1,860 people attended these meetings during the last municipal year. It has proved a very successful experiment in local democracy.

  4.  All Councillors are now fully involved in the issues within their own areas. It has undoubtedly given them a powerful role.

  5.  A further benefit is that the area system has greatly streamlined the whole of the Council's decision making process. The full Council and three central committees are left free to concentrate on policy and strategic direction.

  6.  As can be seen the above appears to reflect the Government's intentions for modern structures, and the Council's experience is that it works very well.

  7.  The Council is very concerned about the effect of clause 3 of the Bill, which provides for the division of functions between the executive and the remainder of the Council. There is recognition that development control and licensing would not be executive functions but that, subject to regulations made by the Secretary of State, everything else would be for the executive. In my Council's view that would have the effect of emasculating its area committees and also of overloading the executive with routine, local issues.

  8.  My Council would therefore urge the joint committee to include in its report comments reflecting the above points and concerns.

28 June 1999


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