WORCESTER’S Labour and Conservative group will share the leadership of the city council after major changes to how decisions are made in the city are revealed.
Councillors agreed in November to move from the current cabinet system – where the council’s leader appoints a small group of other councillors to make major decisions – to a committee system, giving members of all parties a bigger say in the council’s priorities.
The changes will be debated at a council meeting next Tuesday (February 21) with any new system due to be introduced in May.
A council leader would continue to be appointed at the annual council meeting alongside a deputy leader.
However, while no party holds full control at the Guildhall, the deputy leader would be elected from a different party to that of the leader.
The new committees will include members of all three parties. The chairs of each committee will also come from each of the parties.
Under the proposals, drawn up with input from all parties represented on the council, there would be three main “policy” committees, which would make the major decisions about priorities and spending:
Policy and Resources Committee
The Policy and Resources Committee would be responsible for agreeing policies and the council’s annual budget.
It would also supervise the collection of Council Tax and oversee the City Plan, the cross-party vision for Worcester over the next five years.
Around 12 councillors would sit on the committee, including the leaders of each party and the chairs of the Environment and Communities Committees.
For the first year it is proposed that the leader of the smallest party on the council, the Greens, chairs this committee with Labour and Conservative members filling two vice-chair posts.
Three sub-committees would be feed into the Policy and Resources committee and would examine areas such as economic development, tourism, income generation for the council, fees and charges and use of the council’s property and other assets.
Housing and homelessness, sport and leisure, museums, heritage and culture, community safety; health and well-being and CCTV would all be examined by the Communities Committee.
Councillors on the Environment Committee would oversee issues including parks and open spaces; play areas; cemeteries and the crematorium; allotments; waste and recycling collections; street cleansing and parking.
It’s hoped the chairs of these committees would come from either the Labour or Conservative party with the vice-chair from the other group.
If approved, membership and the chairs of each committee and sub-committee would be agreed at the Annual Council meeting on May 16.
There are no proposed changes to the council’s four regulatory committees – Licensing and Environmental Health; Planning; Audit; and Governance and Standards.