Just a few weeks into the new council year and the ruling Labour group is wasting no time showing its true colours.
Labour is exercising its majority position to assume 100% control in chairing all the committees that regulate and scrutinise council activity. Previously, these had been shared out with the other parties (Tory and Lib Dems), something that the independent improvement board had recommended.
In total there are eleven committees. Some deal with practical issues such as licensing and planning. Otheres scrutinise council policy and performance.
Labour’s rational? The opposition parties have been so rubbish at scrutiny they don’t deserve any position of responsibility.
A quick read through the comments in the relevant WirralGlobe article will give you some idea of what members of the public think about that explanation. In short, not very much. Then again, Labour’s leadership don’t seem overly bothered about what people on Merseyside might think based on Ed Milliband’s recent clanger.
A confident executive would be more than happy to open itself up to scrutiny. As things now stand, the Labour-run council is scrutinising itself and can ignore any opposition criticism irrespective of how pertinent and sensible it may be.
Of course there might be another reason why the Labour party would want to chair all council committees. Typically, committee chairs receive an allowance £4,584. Across all eleven committees, allowances amount to £45,391 annually.