Saturday 24 April 2021

Increased powers for Brent Cabinet and Officers

The Brent Council AGM was moved from May 19th to April 29th without any explanation. This moved the largely ceremonial meeting into the pre-election period (purdah) when contentious policy decisions or initiatives that could be of advantage to a political party are banned.   Councillors will be reminded of this requirement before the meeting

However, today's Labour Group AGM, might want to discuss an item that is on the Council AGM Agenda. This is one that involves increased delegated powers for Cabinet members and the CEO following advice from Luke Hall MP, Minister of State for Regional Growth and Local Government that once the Covid regulations expire that they use existing power to delegate decision making to reduce the number of meetings required.  

Brent Council Leader Muhammed Butt has agreed to such action.  This raises the issue for me that a mainly one party council with power already concentrated by the Cabinet model, will have even less scrutiny from backbench councillors and the public.

The extent of these delegated powers can be seen in the document below (click bottom right for full page view):





Pete Firmin said...

So Mo Butt wants to take his lead on - lack of - transparency and accountability - from Johnson's government. That says a lot.

Philip Grant said...

If the new delegated powers are approved, a Cabinet Member could agree to extend Quintain's advertising lease on the Bobby Moore Bridge beyond August 2024, without there being any chance for myself or others to have a say over whether it is right for the heritage tile murals in its subway to remain covered up with light boxes used for displaying adverts.

These proposals give too much power to too few people, with little or no chance for scrutiny. If they are approved (as they almost certainly will be, at the "ceremonial" annual meeting of Brent Council), I suspect there will be even more "dodgy deals" in future.