Council begins reform process which will ‘create better North Somerset for all’

Weston-super-Mare Town Hall. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Weston-super-Mare Town Hall. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

Work has begun to reform North Somerset Council’s decision-making processes, and leaders are confident the changes will ‘create a better North Somerset for all’.

North Somerset councillor Paul Gardner. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

North Somerset councillor Paul Gardner. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

The authority's leader Don Davies passed a motion at the full council meeting at Weston Town Hall on Tuesday, creating a working group which will investigate alternative governing models.

The council hopes to scrap the executive system used to make key decisions and reform its constitution, which Cllr Davies last month described as a 'sham' in regards to transparency.

Cllr Davies, Independent representative for Pill and head of the authority's rainbow coalition which won power from the Conservatives in May's elections, told councillors the governance review will search for the 'most effective way of creating an inclusive and open decision making structure'.

The leader outlined hopes for 'greater devolution of responsibilities' to parish councils and increased collaboration with the voluntary sector.

Cllr Don Davies.

Cllr Don Davies. - Credit: Archant

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He also pledged there will be more opportunities for voters to influence decisions once the new model is adopted.

Cllr Davies said: "One of the common themes of the partnership which is running this council is openness and transparency.

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"We need to look at how we can run this council in the best way for all, not just councillors and officers - but the residents of North Somerset."

It is hoped a new governing structure will be in place by the end of April, with Cllr Paul Gardner leading the working group.

Cllr Davies believes a new governing structure will 'enable the authority to provide the best possible services, promote fairness and reduce inequalities, creating a better North Somerset for all.

He added: "The motion is to set up a working group to look at a number of alternatives nationwide. The Local Government Association will assist us in that, and Cllr Gardner has kindly offered to lead the cross-party working group.

"The outcome of initial works is to be brought to the council in September, and the idea is we can implement the changes by the end of this municipal year.

"I think the guiding light will be transparency against decision making - we must have a process which can make decisions."

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