Formally separate the local government executive and non executive

National and devolved governments have separate support arrangements for their executive and non executive politicians.  In local government, however, the support streams for cabinet members and backbench councillors, including scrutiny, are crossed.  Officers work for the whole council and provide the same advice regardless of which councillors they are advising.  But why can't local government have the same separation between executive and non executive support arrangements?

Mirroring the National Assembly for Wales Commission, local councils could have each have a Council Commission charged with delivering support to back bench councillors, to scrutiny and to council and committee meetings.



Is it now time to debate a full legal separation between executive and non-executive functions?    Here are 6 reasons why this could be a good idea:

  1. The independence of scrutiny from the executive would be more visible if scrutiny had independent support
  2. The Council Commission would be mirrored by a strengthened Cabinet Office providing direct administrative and policy support to the executive 
  3. Backbench councillors would be able to directly decide the best use of their own support resources
  4. A separated scrutiny function would have more credibility with other public service providers who would be less likely to see it as an arm of the local authority
  5. A separated scrutiny function would be a necessary prerequisite for local public administration committees (see the Centre for Public Scrutiny proposal)
  6. The introduction of council commissions and cabinet offices would bring professional alignment for local government support officers with those working national government and the devolved administrations  

Full post here: 

Edward Jones Apr 11, 2015

Now we've entered the refining phase, (how) do you think this idea could be refined to a more concise proposition?

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